Eastleigh MP Mike Thornton has been successful in his attempt to ask the government to establish maximum waiting times and standards for access to evidence-based psychological therapies for adults and children nationally.
Mike Thornton, retained the closely fought Eastleigh parliamentary seat for the Liberal Democrats – albeit on a vastly reduced majority – following the by-election caused by resignation of Chris Huhhe –
Earlier this year Huhne, who was the serving MP for Eastleigh, admitted he was guilty of perverting the course justice over a speeding offence shortly before the case was due to be heard at Southwark Crown court after which he immediately resigned his seat.
Unlike his predecessor, Thornton has so far had a rather low profile and and an uneventful time as the town’s MP, concerning himself with visiting assisted living developments and local constituency matters, whilst still tending to his duties as one of the Borough’s local councillors.
Yet during a quiet sitting of the House of Commons last week, Mike burst into the national media glare when he used Standing Order No. 23, to promote his bill to establish timed access to services for mental health patients, who can currently wait indefinitely to gain access to health services within the NHS.
Standing Order No. 23, better known as the Ten Minute Bill Rule, is generally a backbenchers ticket to ‘ten minutes of fame’ and used by members of the House of Commons, for the introduction of a private members bill.
Whilst Mr. Thornton’s bill was accepted by the house unopposed and has gained cross party support of fellow local MP’s, Steve Brine, Conservative MP for Winchester, and Alan Whitehead, Labour MP for Southampton Test, it has very little chance of gaining Royal Assent and finding its way onto the statue book as Bills introduced under the Ten Minute Rule rarely progress much further, since the Government usually opposes Private Member’s Bills in the later stages and, given their low priority in the schedule, there is often insufficient time for the debate to be completed. Most Ten Minute Rule introductions are instead used to stimulate publicity for a cause. – a task that Thornton, has managed extremely well, given his low profile and inexperience of parliamentary speeches – he was forced to overcome initial heckling from the opposite benches to ‘Speak Up.’
See Mike’s Ten Minute Bill speech here http://www.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/house-of-commons-24034173