There was a strange exchange in the House of Commons yesterday. A change to the format has allowed MPs to ask for a topical debate. This takes the form of a general debate about a current issue without a vote at the end. Yesterday’s debate was on immigration.

Damian Green, Shadow Minister for Immigration, was rightly highlighting the latest scandal to hit the Home Office when Lyn Brown, Labour MP for West Ham said,

“Could the hon. Gentleman let me know whether he is going to debate immigration today? If he is, I am happy to stay and listen; if he is not, I have letters to sign.”

Two things struck me. Firstly does she ever write any letters or merely sign off other people’s work. Secondly have her constituents put her in Parliament to sign letters or to represent their views on the important matters of the day.

This was the news that up to 5000 people working in high-profile security positions may be illegal immigrants and the fact that Jacqui Smith, Secretary of State promptly ordered her civil servants to cover up the story.