SIR PETER BOTTOMLEY: Here, there and everywhere?

Sir Peter with Hannah Shore at Worthing'�s Gala Bingo Hall
Sir Peter with Hannah Shore at Worthing'�s Gala Bingo Hall

There is the occasional day that seems to cover a week’s activities. Tuesday was one.

In addition to keeping in touch with constituents’ lives, there has been a variety of activities at Westminster.

Monday had been quite busy. I met the Secretary of State for Transport and the rail minister; I asked for more attention to the need to plan to deal with the delays at the level crossings along our coastal line.

Later I went to 10 Downing Street to join the reception hosted by Theresa May for the Parkinson’s Society, 200 years after the condition was first described.

I introduced the leading neurology researcher Dr Richard Mead to the Prime Minister.

Later I had a discussion with the Financial Secretary about the need to consider changing the taxation arrangements for non-resident corporate owners of property.

My university economics supervisor’s Nobel Prize was linked to the optimal levels of taxation, which should be fair, easy to administer and generally accepted.

Remember that the only Prime Minister to have been assassinated was Spencer Percival, killed by a deranged tax-payer.

On Tuesday, after some early desk work, I attended an event on refuge for women and children against domestic violence at Google’s quirky office.

In my early years in Parliament, I served on the Select Committee investigating violence in the family.

Is the situation much better now, 40 years on?

I left early because BBC News asked me to join a discussion with Victoria Derbyshire and a number of people affected by the uncontrolled use of FOBTs, the fixed odds betting terminals that have proliferated in high street betting shops.

Brave losers explained the impact of massive losses on their lives.

One, Terry, made the point about dropping the permitted stake from £100 to £2 a go.

I spoke warmly of the fun that people could experience at Gala Bingo and at the Connaught Leisure amusement centre, established by Pat O’Neill in 1984.

Pat and I overlapped years ago at Battersea Fun Fair; I worked there in my holidays.

There is much more employment and enjoyment at low stake entertainments.

Later, in parliament I asserted that dropping the maximum FOBT stake to £2 would command a majority in the Commons on a free vote and that would be the result if the vote were whipped.

In between, I spoke at the Estate Agents’ Negotiators Conference under the title: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

The session was chaired by the news journalist Justin Webb.

Good agents are very good. I hope we can deal with the minority who let people down.

At the Commons I met the health minister on the plight of patients afflicted by the contaminated blood scandal before speaking to a group of lecturers and students from the United States.

Because I had been to school in Washington DC, I was able to interpret and to explain the differences in our approaches to politics and government.

The day ended after supper with an agent friend.

Like me, she is a church warden.

Politics is not everything.