MP's column

As someone who first stood in a parliamentary election shortly after the expenses scandal, restoring trust in politicians is something I take most seriously. Unless we do this people will continue to feel estranged and not feel able to access the representation they are entitled to and have a right to. For this reason I’ve worked especially hard to take issues that are raised with me to the highest level of Government including raising recent subjects such as TV licenses for the over 75s’, the late change to next year’s early bank holiday, access to funds post Brexit, access to post office services and support for small business. For the same reason I’ve also been looking at what must be done to reform our electoral system. Last week I was pleased to support the launch of the Good Systems Agreement which essentially sets out the guiding principles for any future reform of how we choose those who represent us and make our laws. The Good Systems Agreement states that a future voting system must ensure that seats closely match votes to ensure MPs and governments represent the best interest of voters. The agreement seeks to ensure votes are equal and not distorted by factors such as geography, minimising the need for tactical voting. Most importantly those of us in favour of voter reform are determined to maintain links between MPs and specific geographic areas whilst achieving a parliament that reflects the population. A future system should give voters a wide choice of parties, and allow them to express preferences for people rather than just parties. It is imperative that MPs and governments are accountable to the voters. In an age that appears to have long gone (it was 2005 since a political party won a decent parliamentary majority), the widely held view was that the existing system delivered strong and stable government. Reform should be considered in order to seek a system that engenders stable, flexible government that has the ability to compromise. The least attractive aspect of Parliament is the adversarial nature of party political debate. It seems to me the British people have lost patience with this. We need an independent study to look at what form of electoral system reform should be considered to bring about a more constructive and inclusive method for choosing our representatives. And on that note, whatever system we have must ensure that ballot papers are easy for voters to understand and use. 

If Cornwall Council are fundamentally committed to dramatically reducing carbon emissions I suggest they undertake a comprehensive review of public transport with the straightforward objective of ensuring that the Duchy enjoys a bus service that enables people to get to and from work and carry out journeys that modern life determines for a price that is widely affordable. Connecting people through a good public transport service will drive down car journeys, address isolation and create sustainable communities. I can assure you that having carried out the rural bus survey (which had a substantial response early in the year) the current bus service is not designed to significantly reduce private car journeys.