After last week’s tragic events in Westminster it has been a sombre place to work, but we have continued to get on with the business of the nation and returned to normality as quickly as we could. I am pleased to have seen stories in the press about those who helped the injured, like my colleague, Tobias Ellwood and so many others. I know my constituents will agree that it is these individual acts of bravery and kindness which should be focused upon, rather than details of the terrorist who committed the atrocity.
On Wednesday, the Prime Minister triggered the process of leaving the European Union after signing a letter to Donald Tusk invoking Article 50. I know many of my constituents have differing views on this subject and it remains contentious in many households, however I do strongly believe that we must now work together to make Brexit a success.
We do not yet know what will come of the negotiations, however I have said throughout this process, that I will continue to keep constituents up to date when further information becomes available.
Looking ahead to the weekend I will be joining many others in Romsey to take part in the annual stream clean and litter pick before attending the Romsey Area Schools’ Orchestras Concert and the Mountbatten Music Academy Concert. I am hugely proud to have such talented young musicians in the constituency and I look forward to seeing them perform.
Next week, which is the start of Easter Recess in Parliament, I have a packed schedule and look forward to welcoming a work experience student to join me visiting homes and businesses in the constituency as well as holding a number of surgeries throughout the week.
March 24th 2017
This is a very different Letter from Westminster this week, following the horrendous events of Wednesday afternoon. Although the full picture and casualty toll is not yet known as I write this, what is clear is that pedestrians, tourists and our own security services were put in harm’s way.
The Police and other security staff around the Palace of Westminster do an incredible job, in difficult circumstances, protecting an iconic building, our democratic institutions, the Mother of all Parliaments. Today we have lost one of those Officers, who protected us with a smile, who would have posed for photos with tourists, who would have greeted all visitors to the Palace with a cheery welcome.
Our thoughts are, of course, with all of Keith Palmer’s friends and family, with his fellow Officers and colleagues across the Palace. We are fortunate to have amazing security staff in Westminster, who, like the medical staff at St Thomas’ Hospital and the ambulance crews ran into danger. I know some of them come from Hampshire, and in difficult circumstances they do a great job. For that I thank them.
For the terrorists there is a clear message, as we returned to work for Oral Questions, they will not stop our democracy.
March 17th 2017
I was absolutely thrilled to be joined in Westminster on Friday by students from Romsey Abbey Primary School. We visited Downing Street for photographs outside Number 10 and then continued to Parliament where the children toured the Houses of Lords and Commons as well as Central Lobby, the Royal Gallery and the Queen’s Robing Room.
I am always pleased to be able to arrange tours for school groups and would urge any interested schools to contact my office in Romsey to arrange this.
On Saturday I joined other Romsey residents for this year’s Reminiscences of Romsey featuring a photographic tour of Romsey Extra, the ward I had the pleasure to serve on Test Valley Borough Council. It was a fascinating insight into the historic Parish and I certainly learned a number of new things. There were some outstanding photographs of the Parish from years gone by, and lots of memories, including the petrol station on the Straight Mile which I can certainly remember. The annual event is always very interesting, focusing on various subjects specific to Romsey. We were also entertained by the Romsey Children’s Choir, with some fantastic pieces, and huge thanks must go to the Rotary Club of Romsey Test for their hospitality and the excellent entertainment.
I also attended the International Women’s Day event in West Quay in Southampton. The event, marking the week of IWD2017 which was on 6th March was organised by Hampshire Constabulary and was opened by the City Mayor.
This week in Parliament I met a number of constituents who had been chosen to exhibit at the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Awards 2017. This vital area of work is rightly celebrated to encourage more young people, particularly young women, into the various subjects which play such a huge part in established and emerging British industries.