MPs Column

This week the EU Withdrawal Bill came back to the Commons from the Lords. In layman’s terms, the Bill repeals the 1972 legislation that took the country into the European Community whilst ensuring a smooth Brexit by transferring existing EU rules and regulations on to the British statute book at 11pm on March 29th, 2019. Whilst exiting the EU is a complex process, the Withdrawal Bill is a straightforward logical step to ensure business carries on as usual next spring. The Bill avoids a legislative vacuum in March and gives time for decades of EU legislation to be scrutinised and amended where necessary. I’ve supported the principle of the EU Withdrawal Bill as the most sensible tool available to ensure the laws we need are in place. However, I was glad to put my name to an amendment designed to ensure that this and future Governments, through a set of environmental principles, takes preventative action to avert environmental damage, ensures that environmental damage is, as a priority, rectified at source, maintains the polluter pays principle and commits to sustainable development. The amendment, co-signed by colleagues including former Environment Secretary Richard Benyon, and Zak Goldsmith also commits the Government to the principle of public participation in environmental decision-making, and access to justice in relation to environmental matters. 

Before I travelled up to Westminster on Monday I called at Polmanter Touring Park in St Ives. This family-run business is a local success story to be proud of. They celebrate 50 years in business this month and recently won golds at both the Cornwall Tourism and South West Tourism Awards and bronze in the National Tourism Awards. I joined the staff and a team of builders and designers to open the brand new reception and shop, and two fully accessible apartments. 

This year my family and I visited Penventon Farm near Porthleven and the Wallis family for their Open Farm Sunday. It was a fascinating visit and my children were taken in by the newly hatched chicks. I was half expecting to discover a few stowaways on arriving home but thankfully all the chicks remained where they belonged. I also called in at Trink Dairy to see the work the family have done to make the farm, particularly the milking parlour, visitor friendly. Families and hundreds of children have enjoyed the opportunity to visit local farms such as these which is important as for some time farming and agriculture has been low on the list as a potential career opportunity. This is something I have been personally concerned about as we will always need people to work in food production and to care for our countryside. Increasingly digital technology is being used in farming and I believe farming and food production is still able to provide a hugely satisfying means of employment. 

Finaly, the survey period regarding Helston is now coming to a close. Please complete the survey as soon as possible. The online survey can be found: https://survey.derekthomas.org/ Hard copies can be requested from my constituency office on 01736 363038.