Unsurprisingly I have received a massive amount of correspondence on the issues of junior doctors’ contracts, the continued debate surrounding forced academisation, refugee children and the Trade Union Bill which we have been debating this week.
I have consistently expressed the concerns of my constituents to the Secretary of State for Health, and made sure he is aware of the views of those Romsey and Southampton North residents who have been in touch. I hope there is a way forward for both sides to get back around the negotiating table in the near future to ensure patients are not put at risk by further industrial action.
I was delighted to meet chef Michel Roux Jr and the fabulous cast of ‘Kitchen Impossible’ this week. The programme put eight out-of-work people with disabilities through an intensive introduction to catering and I was very pleased to see how positive the young people were after their experiences. Having worked closely with organisations such as Ambitious about Autism, who campaign to raise awareness of how difficult it can be for those with learning difficulties or disabilities to find employment, I know just how important it is for opportunities like this to be promoted to a national audience.
On Friday I will be visiting the Army Historic Aircraft Flight at the Army Aviation Centre in Middle Wallop to tour the museum and, weather permitting, take a flight in some of the historic aircraft in the collection. I am extremely proud to have the Army Air Corps and the museum in my constituency and am always impressed by the fantastic abilities the pilots learn here before being posted to combat zones around the world.
April 22nd 2016
One of the most enjoyable aspects of being a Member of Parliament is getting the opportunity to experience various cultural celebrations and the Sikh festival of Vaisakhi is one of the annual highlights for me. I was pleased to be able to join others in Southampton as part of the celebrations which included a procession through the City and flag raising. I was very impressed with the vibrant, colourful displays and music which accompanied the event.
I have heard from a number of constituents who are anxious to see the progression of the Housing and Planning Bill which includes legislation to extend Right to Buy to over 1million Housing Association Tenants. For many who had previously given up hope of owning their home, this will mean they may now be able to do so and in the process help provide funding for Housing Associations to build more affordable homes. As with any Bill there will no doubt be a number of areas which may be improved upon during its progression through Parliament, but I am pleased that this Bill may help some people in Romsey and Southampton North realise their dream of buying their own home.
This week is National Stalking Awareness Week, raising awareness of a crime which will affect one in five women and one in ten men in their lifetimes. Shockingly, of all domestic homicides in the UK, 40% of the victims were stalked beforehand. While the Government has certainly acted to help victims of stalkers, more can be done, so I joined the Suzy Lamplugh Trust in Parliament to support proposals to increase the maximum sentences for stalking, from five to ten years’ imprisonment.
Finally, a reminder that I will be holding my drop-in surgery at St Michael and All Angels Church in Bassett on Saturday 23rd April from 09:30 – 11:00.
April 15th 2016
This week Members of Parliament returned to Westminster after the Easter recess to a very busy Parliamentary schedule.
On Monday I attended an event to raise awareness of the ‘Too Much Information’ campaign by the National Autistic Society. The campaign aims to educate the public on how those with autism are sometimes affected by certain sights and sounds which they might find difficult to process.
In the chamber this week was a debate on contaminated blood products which led to some people contracting hepatitis C and HIV. I have met a number of people who have been affected by this and was pleased to be able to contribute briefly to the debate. I also spoke on the Government’s Education White Paper, which has provoked a significant discussion about academies.
I was very pleased to host the Mayor of Test Valley, Cllr Iris Anderson for PMQs. Fresh from her visit to the War Horse in Romsey on Tuesday, Cllr Anderson made the trip to Westminster for a tour of the historic Palace. She has worked extremely hard over the past year championing various organisations around Test Valley, often out of the public eye. Shortly her term will end so I was pleased she was able to visit Parliament this week.
This month I will be holding an additional drop-in surgery in Bassett at St Michael and All Angels Church on 23rd April between 09:30 and 11am. No appointment is necessary however drop-in surgeries are usually 10 minute appointments so if you have a more complex issue that you would like to discuss with me, please contact my Romsey office for an appointment at another time.