As ever the Romsey Branch of the Royal Air Force Association held a very moving and thought provoking service last weekend to mark Battle of Britain Sunday. The ATC always look so smart and every year I try to get to the URC to remember the few.
It followed a glorious day at Romsey Show on Saturday, with huge crowds attending and a massive variety of attractions to see and do. There is even a class first thing in the morning for veteran riders, and I did think for the second year running that maybe I ought to give it a go, perhaps next year……
This week has included a trip just outside the constituency to IBM’s Festival of Innovation, at Hursley Park. IBM does so much to encourage girls into STEM subjects and we are fortunate to have such a prestigious employer just on our doorstep.
I have also been to one of the local MacMillan Coffee mornings, at the West Dean Social Club. Unfortunately the Westminster MacMillan Coffee Morning has been postponed because of the prorogation, but to be frank, I would rather have coffee and a chat with constituents! Big thanks to Sonya who organised it all and made most of the cakes (although not the one I could not resist taking home).
In other news I have a new arrival at home, Alfie the cocker spaniel puppy. I lost my precious Inca last Christmas at the grand old age of 16 1/2 and have waited until now to introduce a new dog to my life. So I’ve also been to puppy socialisation at Mainstone Veterinary Clinic to start Alfie on his journey to being a proper grown up dog.
September 13th 2019
I am excited to see the return of Romsey Show on Saturday. I will, of course, be at the show speaking to constituents as I take a walk around the various food, clothing and trade stands. Romsey Show is always one of those key highlights of the year for me and I very much hope to see the showground as busy as ever this weekend.
Last week saw the 40th anniversary of the tragic death of Earl Mounbatten of Burma at the hands of the IRA. This is usually an event attended – for the most part – by members of the Royal British Legion, so it was really moving to see so many other members of the local community in attendance for this important memorial. Earl Mountbatten meant a great deal to the people of Romsey – as his family still do; their links with our town always elicit a great deal of pride from residents.
This week also sees the 15th annual Test Valley Business Awards gala dinner at the Army Flying Museum in Middle Wallop. It is always wonderful to celebrate local businesses and those in Romsey always do rather well. Of course, at the time of writing (Wednesday) I don’t yet know who has won any of the multitude of awards, but I will update readers next week with congratulations to any local winners.
There are, of course, a range of views held on the prorogation of Parliament, however it has given me an unexpected opportunity to make more appointments with local residents to come to one of my surgeries and visit an increasing number of local businesses. The current political situation has led to some thinking I am no longer their MP – this is not true and I am certainly still able to help with any issues you may wish to raise with me.
September 6th 2019
As you know, since 2005 I have stood as the Conservative candidate first in Romsey and then, after boundary changes, Romsey and Southampton North. Since 2010 I have represented you in Parliament as your Conservative MP.
I voted in Parliament for a referendum, I believed – along with many of my colleagues – that it would finally settle the long running debate about the EU which has hung over our politics for forty years. I believed it was absolutely right that the public should have their say on our membership of the Union and for my part I wanted to remain.
In June 2016, my side lost and since then I have worked in Parliament and Government to secure a Brexit which works for the entire country; not 52 or 48 percent, but 100 percent. I have guided my decisions on conversations and correspondence I have had with my own constituents. Nobody can categorically tell me how Romsey and Southampton North voted in that referendum, as it was counted by local authority not by constituency. However academic research indicates that the constituency voted 54% remain.
I have always maintained that a red line for me would be any government leading us to a no deal Brexit. Over the past few weeks I have had a handful of representations from constituents who have asked me to vote for ‘no deal’ versus hundreds of individual pieces of correspondence from constituents telling me their own personal experiences of how no deal would affect them. Whether it was their concerns about redundancies, the lack of access to medicines, the impact upon family living and studying in the EU, their rights as EU citizens living here, the worries have been real, personal and in many cases incredibly moving.
This week I was forced to vote against the Government, a decision which has resulted in me – and 20 others – losing the party whip. Because I felt Parliament needed time to scrutinise and debate the current situation.
However, my constituents’ prosperity, their jobs, their family’s futures are more important to me as the Member of Parliament than keeping the party whip.