I often write this blog on the train on my way home to Manchester on a Thursday evening, and that's what I'm doing now.
Originally, I thought I would write a short piece, just about the terrible attack that took place on Wednesday, and leave aside all the other things that happened this week. But MPs decided that the best way to defeat terrorism and fear is to carry on living our lives as normal, and so parliament has been doing exactly that, with the usual questions, meetings, and debates. And so this blog also covers my weekly round of activities, as usual.
But first I must express my huge sadness at the awful events that took place on Wednesday, my deep sympathy for the victims, their families and friends, and my thanks to the emergency services and parliamentary staff who acted so bravely, calmly and impressively. Politicians are especially distressed at the news of PC Keith Palmer's death. You may have read the tributes to the police in parliament, how friendly, courteous and caring they are. They're our friends, we chat with them, we go to them for help, and every good thing you read about them is true. To lose someone who's such a special part of our own Westminster family is felt very deeply by us all.
On Thursday morning, parliament heard a statement by the prime minister about the events on Wednesday. Thursday is often a quiet day in the chamber, as many MPs are away on external visits, or back home in the constituency. But this time, the place was packed. We all wanted to show our solidarity, defiance, and to send a united message to those who practise terror that they can't divide our country and our communities, or drive us away in fear.
So after the statement, I attended a committee session about new tax regulations, a debate about compensation for former Equitable Life insurance policy holders who've lost a huge proportion of their savings and decades later are still waiting for justice, and dropped in to another debate to hear my next door neighbour Lucy Powell MP give the opening speech about educational opportunity. Just what the terrorists don't want: business as usual.
And it's been the usual round of meetings and committees and debates all week: on prisons, courts reform, Brexit, European migration, and questioning the Health Secretary about the disastrous contract with Capita that is driving GPs in Stretford and Urmston to distraction as patient records go missing, locum GPs can't get the paperwork to start prescribing, and most distressingly, Coroners' reports are delayed.
And a busy time in the constituency last Friday: thanks to developers Himor for an update on the New Carrington development, and to Mencap for inviting me to speak at your hustings event for the Manchester mayoral election on behalf of Labour's candidate, Andy Burnham. If you haven't registered to vote in that election yet, go to https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote to make sure you have your say. After all, this week, a brave police officer died to defend our democracy.