AS an officer cadet I danced at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 1979. We were billeted at Redford Barracks, and we were in uniform all day. By tradition, we wore nothing under our kilts, and so we received instruction, including a demonstration, on how to sit down without giving offence.

Up-skirting is a measure of our current moral turpitude, but I find it hard to believe that there is not an existing common law provision under which it could be prosecuted.

As for Sir Christopher Chope, about whose actions on Friday I have received large correspondence, he takes the principled view that no measure should pass without being first debated.

When I was a government whip, that was also the government view, and when on duty on a Friday, it fell to me to object -whatever the merits of any particular bill- to all the bills on the list which had not been debated that day.

If I am wrong about common law, then the government can amend one of its own bills, or give its own time to debate the up-skirting bill.

I remain of the view that I expressed in this column on 1st March however, that private member's bills are not an effective way of legislating.

I wonder how the announcement of the relaxation on the skilled worker visa cap was greeted in those households where young people with very impressive A-level results, nevertheless had their ambitions to be doctors dashed when they were unable to get a place in medical school.

For years and years we have been turning qualified and enthusiastic young people from medicine and nursing degrees.

The doctors from overseas are drawn disproportionately from developing countries where the number of clinicians per head of population is much lower, and their services are correspondingly in greater demand.

People sometimes complain to me that doctors trained here, who subsequently emigrate, ought to repay some of the costs of their training. My word, that would take some nerve as we denude poor countries of their trained doctors! (We do, of course, need to ask ourselves why so many of our own doctors leave the NHS within just a few years of having completed their training, and address the issues that cause them to do so).

We have belatedly started to address our shortage of training places with the reforms to nurse training about which I wrote in this column on 17th May, and with the announcement earlier this year that 5 new medical schools are to be opened, increasing the number of places by 25%.

The recourse to doctors from abroad however, is a return to a bad old habit.

Exactly the same is true of the needs for skilled personnel in every other enterprise. For years we neglected the shortcomings in our education system whist employers relied on inviting both skilled and unskilled workers from overseas.

It is a nonsense to imagine that we can just continue to import the next generation of skilled workers.

The passage of Lords amendments to the Government’s EU Withdrawal Bill have fundamentally weakened our negotiating position to secure reasonable conditions upon which to leave the EU on 29 March next year.

As I have said before in this column: the strength of a negotiating hand is based on the ability to walk away without making a deal. If your counterparty knows that you really won’t be able to walk away, then he can increase his price accordingly.

The estimate that I made of the parliamentary proceedings over the last week was that, given the make-up of the Commons, there is very little likelihood of the House accepting our leaving the EU without EU agreement on the terms.

Unfortunately, the EU Commission will have been watching too and may have drawn the same conclusion.