SARAH WOLLASTON MP VISITS BRIXHAM LIBRARY
Sarah Wollaston showed her support for the Friends of Brixham Library (FoBL) by offering a talk about life in Westminster and a quiz on the Suffragettes. Sue Anderson got the highest score and was presented with a pack of House of Commons chocolate bars.
Sarah Wollaston also told the 30 members of the FoBL present that there was no training at the House of Commons; you had to work out for yourself the best way to get questions answered in the Chamber. The audience were surprised to hear that the Speaker tots up the questions MP’s ask and allows those who have asked the least to have precedence if they are unsuccessful in the ballot. Likewise for speaking in debates, if an MP does not attend for long periods but then asks to catch the Speaker’s eye, they are more likely to be called than an MP who attends and speaks regularly. She also explained that much of the work of the House gets done in Select Committees and Bill Committees and offered to show a group from FoBL around if they would like to come to London.
At the end of the afternoon, Sarah took questions from the audience; topics included the Chilcot Enquiry, Marine Conservation Zones, Solar Panels and her view on the Needs Assessment for the Library Service currently undertaken by Torbay Council.
Dr Wollaston expressed her support for the Library Service and particularly emphasised the need for a fully functioning library in Brixham that offers a range of services to the whole community. She had seen libraries run by volunteers, such as at South Brent, where people brought their own books along as stock, but this was only viable in such small communities. She said that in a place like Brixham running the library with volunteers wouldn’t work, professional staff are essential.
Jenny Harriman, Chair of the FoBL, said that the FoBL would like to expand services, not reduce them. The event raised £180 towards a laptop for speakers to use at future talks