MP's Column

On Saturday I met with a group of inshore fishermen at Kelynack Cornish Fish in Mullion. This week Fisheries Minister, George Eustice MP, will be in Brussels taking part in the annual negotiations that will determine what fish can be caught. I met with George on Thursday to discuss the impact that proposed restrictions will have on West Cornwall fishermen, particularly for those who catch bass. These negotiations are intended to manage fish stocks and ensure we have a sustainable fishing industry. However, fishermen find some decisions perplexing to say the least. Having met these fishermen I can go back to George with some concerns and ideas that the fishermen have put to me.

Two Christmases ago a group of homes in Porthleven were flooded following extensive rainfall. Although some work has been done to attempt to reduce the risk of a repeat experience for these families, a concern remains that the main problem has not been addressed and that these homes will be flooded again when consistent heavy rain returns. Cornwall Council had promised to improve the drainage. I met with these residents on Saturday and I will apply some gentle pressure on Cornwall Council to keep their word.

Last week a small group of cross-party MPs (including myself) met with the Public Health Minister, Jane Ellison MP, to discuss our concern about the rise in the number of people developing diabetes. Next year the Government is launching the National Diabetes Prevention Programme, making the UK the first country to deliver a diabetes prevention programme of this scale. Currently the cost to the NHS of treating Type 2 Diabetes is £5.62billion. The strategy is intended to shift the focus and NHS funding towards preventing diabetes and managing the condition better to improve the quality of life for individuals.

Parliamentarians debated the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership last week (TTIP). The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is a proposed free trade agreement between the European Union and the United States, with the aim of promoting multilateral economic growth. I have had vast numbers of constituents contacting me to raise their concern about the secret nature that negotiations regarding TTIP seem to be being undertaken. It's true that greater transparency would allay some concern and our debate last week began to address this. MPs have been promised further opportunities to scrutinise the proposal and a vote on the UK's membership of this trade agreement.

Our postmen and women are busy sorting our Christmas cards and presents and I was privileged to visit the postmen and women in both the Penzance and Helston sorting offices to say thank you for the work they do, especially at this time of year to spread goodwill and cheer!

On Tuesday British Astronaut Tim Peake will be launched into space to join the International Space Station. This will be covered live from Goonhilly and history shows that events of this nature inspire our youngsters to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics!

I spent an hour meeting postmen and women at the Penzance Sorting Office this week. I took the opportunity, on my first visit as the West Cornwall MP, to thank them all for the incredible work they do in all weathers all year round to get our letters and parcels to us all.

In keeping with the season for giving gifts myself and Warren's Bakery combined to show our appreciation by distributing fresh pastries and doughnuts. As the MP I have the great privilege of meeting so many people as they go about their work.

It was good to meet the postmen and women who, in the height of their season, had time to share a joke and discuss with me the rewards and challenges of their occupation.

I wish everyone of them a great Christmas and hope the weather is kind to them in the new year!

Derek Thomas
Member of Parliament for St Ives