The situation in Gaza is terrifying and, whilst I support Israel’s need to flush out and crush Hamas, a way must be made possible to ensure humanitarian aid gets in safely and those needing urgent medical care get out. The success of the international effort to open a border point at Rafah in the south of Gaza is crucial and I suspect that the negotiations to secure this access and exit point included Israeli demands to ensure Hamas fighters cannot escape and that they do face justice. I support Israel’s Government’s right to defend its people - to lose over 1400 lives at the hands of Hamas on October 7th is horrifying and completely unjustified. Israel has many critics and none of us wish to see lives lost on either side, but the constant threat of indiscriminate violent terrorism requires Israel to be robust which inevitably leads to tragedy for those who have no involvement other than to live in the region. As I watch the situation unfold, I’m reminded that those of us around the world who are born into safe countries have a great deal to be thankful for. We also have a duty to work for peace in any way possible so Rishi’s Statement to Parliament as we returned from conference season was welcome and the UK will continue to work to find and support a peaceful outcome in this part of the Middle East. For Christians we are told to pray for peace in Jerusalem and I know that millions of people in churches worldwide, including across Cornwall and on Scilly, were doing just this over the weekend and will continue to do so.
Here in the UK, the Government has launched the consultation relating to the commitment to create a smokefree generation and ban on vapes for young people. There are some shocking statistics relating to smoking such as 4 out of 5 smokers start before the age of 20 and the bill to the NHS is £17 billion pa. Smoking is still the biggest killer. Whatever age you are, you can take part in the consultation which includes seeking your views on reducing the appeal, affordability and availability of vapes to children. The consultation last for 8 weeks and you can find it at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/creating-a-smokefree-genera…
The MP ‘Drop-Ins’ continue - on Friday (20th) I’m at the British Legion, St Ives. I’m at the Trevelyan Arms, Goldsithney at 6.45pm for an hour on Friday 27th and I’m serving coffee and cake on Saturday 28th October in my Penzance office from 10 - 11.30am.
On Saturday at the Queen’s Hotel in Penzance from 10am until noon the West Cornwall Hospital League of Friends are holding their annual coffee morning. I know how much West Cornwall Hospital is valued and the League of Friends do a great job of improving the experience of both patients and staff at the hospital. I know the volunteers will appreciate our support on Saturday and they always host a friendly and positive gathering.