I suppose I should express fulsome thanks to the former MP for Montgomeryshire, Lembit Opik. Firstly, his high profile defeat on May 6th ensured that I began my Parliamentary career in a conflagration of publicity. So much so that fellow newcomer to the House of Commons, Simon Hart MP was heard to observe that the people of Montgomeryshire had pulled off the incredible achievement of electing as its new MP an even bigger 'media tart' that the previous one. I think it was a comment meant to amuse.
Anyway, I'm hoping to make my maiden speech on Tuesday (if I can catch Mr Speaker's eye that is) and will need to follow the convention of paying tribute to my predecessor - and wish him well in whatever career he chooses to follow. Never has a maiden speaker had so much material. Not only has Lembit already launched a career as a 'stand-up comic' but has also become a ventriloquist, using a talking shoe as his prop. And he's started writing a column for my local weekly newspaper, advising his successor (me) how to do the job.
Not all new MPs pay tribute to their predecessors of course. Here's an extract from John McDonnell's maiden speech (courtesy of the Government Gazette) "...Despite my respect for the conventions of the House, I shall not perjure myself by praising my immediate predecessor. Many saw him as a Tory buffoon....He was a stain on the character of this House, the Conservative Party which harboured him and the good name of my constituency. He brought shame on the political process of this country....He demeaned the House by his presence.....Thankfully, my constituents can now say good riddance to this malignant creature."