Being an MP is an honour. There's so much good you can achieve in that position which will have an impact on local people. You shouldn't become one in the hope that you'll become a celebrity. Indeed, if you're an MP and you're regularly appearing in celebrity gossip magazines rather than the good old Daily Post or the Western Mail, or even Farmers Weekly, then you should be asking yourself some serious questions. You should not be revelling in it.
A few weeks ago, during a Welsh Grand Committee meeting, Lembit Opik was spotted reading intently. And his magazine of choice? OK or Hello magazine. Seriously. During a debate about Wales, that was his main concern. Its not good enough, and if I was one of his constituents and I ever saw him in a newsagents, I'd grab a copy of either magazine and hit him over the head with it.
He also has a terrible habit of popping in to debates at parliament rather than staying for their full duration. As a result, he often makes the most ridiculous comments which have no relevance to the subject under discussion. Yet, every time he does this, its noted that he's spoken. He can then say to his constituents that he's spoken so many times on different issues. What they don't realise is that there's no substance to those contributions and, therefore, he's not ensuring that the opinions of his constituents are adequately and properly relayed to Parliament. This following quote from a debate last Wednesday is a classic:
"Lembit Öpik: I am grateful to the Minister for giving way to me, and I shall be brief. He mentioned the public's right to be heard, but many people are worried about how areas subject to flooding and standing water are handled. Is he confident that the new planning process will give local residents the opportunity to have their opinions heard before the Environment Agency turns an area into a standing water flood plain?
John Healey: I rather regret giving way to the hon. Gentleman now, as he has a habit of coming in halfway through a debate and going off half-cocked. The Bill does not cover those matters, nor does it touch that part of the planning system."
If you have any relatives in Montgomeryshire, please point these things out to them. They deserve better. And no, Sian Lloyd hasn't paid me to say this in case you were wondering!