I have just returned from the Berwick Lib Dems annual dinner (yes I know, I lead an exciting life). A good night, apart from not winning a prize in the raffle despite substantial financial investment. In particular I was able to have a quick chat with the other Sir Alan, Sir Alan Beith, veteran MP for Berwick.
Alan is chair of the important justice Committee in the House of Commons. As a CAB manager outside of politics, I really appreciated his firm grasp of Legal Aid funding. On Monday, Ken Clarke unveiled a big change to Legal Aid funding, proposing in his green paper to remove much of Housing, Debt and Benefits advice from the scope of Legal Aid. Sir Alan was the first up in terms of questions and his points were all about the problems this may cause to small charities providing this advice. When I had a chat with him, it was obvious that his understanding was deep and that he will be working to help provide something for the millions of people who need assistance in these areas.