MP's column

The media circus around the Conservative Party leadership contest is unsurprisingly focused on anything but the things that people want and deserve to know from the next PM. In light of this I wrote to both Boris and Jeremy asking them to answer seven questions on issues that matter to us here in West Cornwall and on Scilly. The answers I’ll communicate widely. The questions cover their plan to ensure that we leave the European Union and enjoy a future relationship of trade and co-operation. I ask how they will deliver the recommendations of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and what they will they do to ensure that schools and colleges have the money they need.

I want to hear a vision and commitment of Government for small businesses and entrepreneurs and how homes will be provided for those who need them. Finally, I want to hear what they will do to make sure that people feel safe, police have the resources they need and that the money promised for the NHS is safe and a plan to deliver good social care for all will arrive soon.

These are issues that I have lobbied Government Ministers on extensively as the MP for West Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly and will continue to do so.

Eight months after receiving a promise from the Post Office Minister in the Commons Chamber and PO LTD (and two weeks after I reminded them of this promise in Parliament) I am once again assured that the mobile post office van will serve our rural communities from w/c July 15th. The van, intended as a temporary service until permanent post office services can be reinstated, will continue to serve Newlyn and extend to Heamoor, Gulval, Praa Sands, Carbis Bay, Porthleven and Leedstown. This service is no comparison to a what we had been used to but it keeps some form of access for residents until we resolve the wider issues that have led to closures of sub-post office branches.

Today smart meters have not been the technical revolution anticipated when Government committed to rolling out 20 million smart meters by 2020. Problems with the meters themselves, connectivity and access to competent engineers has left many people unimpressed. However, once these issues are resolved, moving to low carbon energy generation requires smart meters in every home and every business. No ifs or buts. Smart meters provide the only tool to match demand to the supply of low carbon generated electricity. 36% of electricity is used in our homes. This will increase with electric vehicles and electric heating etc. New appliances are fitted with chips that allow smart meters to control when they operate and, in many cases, this can be when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing. My simple suggestion (week 10) for our carbon-free commitment in Cornwall is that Cornwall Council works with Ofgem and ensures the energy companies are rolling out the smart meter programme correctly and incentivises every home to install a smart meter.