Gloucester MP hits back at timekeeping "disgrace"
Conservative MP Richard Graham should buy a new watch to prevent him being late, according to an opposition party councillor.
But Mr Graham rejected criticism from a Labour city councillor who said missing opportunities to ask questions in the House of Commons was a "disgrace to the city".
Mark Hobbs pounced on the incidents, at Thursday's full city council meeting.
"Does he agree that the city MP should receive further reprimand for lateness, which was a disgrace to the city?" Mr Hobbs (Moreland) asked city council leader Paul James.
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Mr James (Conservative, Longlevens) disagreed. "I think it's fairly well known that punctuality is not one of Richard's better attributes but he makes valuable contributions when he is there," he replied.
Mr Hobbs suggested Mr James buys Mr Graham a watch.
Mr Graham told The Citizen he missed asking a tabled question to the Business Secretary on December 20 because his 99-year-old landlady had fallen down the stairs.
He subsequently explained the reason to the Speaker. "On the 20th December my landlady, who will be 100 this August, fell down her stairs in front of me just as I was leaving. I made a simple decision to help her up, into her wheel chair, get a cup of tea and make sure no doctor was needed - at the cost of missing my question in the House of Commons," he said.
Before that explanation, Speaker John Bercow said Mr Graham "has got to get himself sorted" because it was the second time in a few days he had not arrived to ask a tabled question.
The week before, he arrived too late in the chamber to put a scheduled question to the Chancellor. Mr Graham missed his first backbench debate in 2010 because of a problem with his printer. Mr Graham also pointed out he's spoken 48 times - on time - in the last year.
"That's significantly more than the average MP, and far more than my predecessor - 29 in his last year," he said. He added that he chairs five All Party Parliamentary Groups, is secretary of a sixth, is Parlimentary Private Secretary to a Foreign Minister and is the PM's Trade Envoy to Indonesia, all of which he said are unpaid roles.