A new year brings opportunities for Big Boris and Small Business

It's the 'year-end' at Westminster and despite this parliament just coming up to its two-year mark this is the first 'year-end' we've had. Normally we go a year and then a new Queen's Speech heralds the start of a new session. The first session has been a marathon 24 months simply to accommodate lots of complex legislation.

Next Tuesday will be the official end and there will be a Prorogation Ceremony when MPs are summoned to the House of Lords to hear a message from the Queen formally bringing the session to an end and then the following week Her Majesty herself will attend and amid all the pomp and ceremony read the Speech prepared by Her Government outlining the legislative programme for the year ahead.

After the speech and all the formalities hostilities break out with David Cameron and Ed Miliband facing each other across the Despatch Boxes. The Prime Minister tells the world why what is proposed is all for the best and the Opposition leader telling us why it's the worst set of policies imaginable! After which a week of more civilised debate follows when we lowly backbenchers get to have our say.

One of the more obscure debates that took place this week was one about procurement in the public sector, particularly by councils. Obscure only in the sense that only those who catch-up on these debates by watching the Parliament Channel will know about it. Let's be honest it's not a subject to set the pulse beating a little faster but an important one. Actually it was an Adjournment Debate, these take place at the end of each day in the main chamber or throughout Tuesday and Wednesday in the Westminster Hall chamber.

Basically the argument ran that it needs to be easier for small companies to be able to bid for the enormous number of contracts put out to tender by councils and others such as hospital trusts and police authorities. The complexities involved deter small companies and may actually cost the taxpayers more because it might well be that they could offer lower prices.

The other key point is that local councils ought to be freer to ensure that local businesses get the work.

In his reply the Government Minister, Andrew Strunnell acknowledged the need to encourage and help smaller businesses tender for this work.

The Culture Secretary has had a bruising week defending himself against allegations arising from the tortuous hearings at the Leveson Inquiry. To imagine Jeremy Hunt acting in anything other than the proper way seems unlikely and I suspect he will ride out the storm.

Have you been following the Boris v Ken contest for London mayor? Probably not. But the London media is obsessed by it. In truth there have been some low points but what is undeniable is that it has caught the imagination of far more London voters than the routine council elections taking place here and up and down the country.

On Wednesday I initiated a debate about elected mayors ahead of this week's referendums in ten of our major cities for voters to decide whether or not they want an elected leader. The Government is urging them to vote yes. Council leaders emerge from closed meetings of councillors. I find that unacceptable - voters should elect their leaders.