As we prepare for our new event; Patients IN Parliament, on July 6th in support of our Patron Paul Flynn and to celebrate the birthday of the late Liz Brice, in honour of whom Paul named his Legalisation of Cannabis (Medicinal Purposes) Bill (#ElizabethBriceBill) we thought it would be a good idea to give you an update on everything:
Unfortunately Paul has not been well recently and is spending most of his time recuperating at home, even so, he is still doing everything is his power to help us organise our #patientsINparliament event whilst giving his bill as much of a push as possible.
From a personal and career perspective it would still be a great thing if he could get his bill passed and become the only MP in history to get 2 Private Members Bills moved all the way through Parliamentary procedure and have his name against the Legalisation of Cannabis for Medical Purposes for the rest of History.
Only a small proportion of private members' bills are enacted. This is generally because of lack of time - a controversial private member's bill can be "talked out". The second reading of Private Members Bills take place on a sitting Friday. The sitting times for debate are 9.30am until 2.30pm, the debates for each bill must be concluded before 2.30pm in order to progress to the next stage of the bill passage. If the debate has not concluded before the time has run out, it will be moved to the bottom of the list of bills to be read and rescheduled for another time. For any sitting Friday there can as many as up to 50 bills scheduled for debate on the order paper, however due to the short amount of time allotted to Friday sittings, Parliament has never progressed further than the 4th bill listed on the order of business for the day.
Paul’s Bill is currently 18th on the list, so unless some sort of miracle happens, such as the Government purposefully shooting it up the schedule at the last minute in a show of support (not impossible), but highly unlikely then it will not get read:
In his absence he has passed responsibility over to our other patron and colleague, Tonia Antoniazzi MP who will be “moving” the bill on the day if it is to be read - In which case, she may have to nip out of our event to do this.
Paul Flynn, 82, has been an MP for his Newport West constituency in since 1987 and has “stood up” for cannabis over 120 times. He called for "civil disobedience from patients last year which we responded to by organising the Patients at Parliament T-Party where patients consumed cannabis medicated tea and cakes, showing that, in his now infamous words:
“The law is an ass”
With all the progress that has now been made since that event, the plight of Billy Caldwell and Alfie Dingley who we are delighted have legal access the their effective cannabis medicine, the new APPG for Medical Cannabis, co-chaired by 2 former government ministers and current Conservative MPs, and the Home Office announcing a formal review of the scheduling of cannabis to be completed in the Autumn this year, civil disobedience or protest in respect of legal access to cannabis as a medicine is no longer required. The door is open and the powers that be are listening, which is why Paul and UPA have changed our event to Patients IN Parliament, where over 100 patients will attend an event INSIDE parliamentary buildings where many will tell their stories and ask questions directly of MPs and Peers. No need to shout anymore, it is time to sit down and talk.
UPA are looking forward to this unique event on Friday and hope that as many patients as wish to and can will be inside. Dont worry if not, however, as we will be filming the whole thing and doing our best to live stream from our Facebook and Instagram accounts.
We will also be launching our new 2018 Patient Survey which has been created in consultation with Dr Gary Potter at Lancaster University, in direct support of Dr Dan Poulter, Sir Mike Penning and their new APPG for Medical Cannabis on Prescription where we hope to make an impact by making sure that the Voice of the Patient is heard loud and clear. We certainly made an impact during the last APPG Inquiry into Cannabis as Medicine with the submission of our first Patients Survey in 2016.
Look out too for our new focus after our Founder Clark French's call during his great interview on Sky News for #nopatientleftbehind
More about all of this on July 6th! We hope to see you there!
Jon Liebling - Political Director