Week commencing 10th July
110,000 say make it Wide and Slow
108,000 people signed a petition for the Government to do more to make rural roads safer. In response to this, I secured a debate on the safety of horses and their riders on rural roads. I called on the Government to run a Think! horse campaign on behalf of a constituent who raised the issue with me. The topic drew lots of attention with 120,000 Facebook users engaging in an online debate prior to the Westminster Hall debate.
I also attended the debate regarding changes to the age women can receive their state pension - for good reason, this causes great concern for women born in the early 1950s.
MPs with island communities also joined forces to argue for greater support to deliver renewable energy solutions for islands and to drive down energy costs.
In the Chamber, I pressed the Defence Secretary for an update regarding the progress of the new aircraft carriers as they prepare for service and the role of RNAS Culdrose in this regard.
St Erth and Nancledra Schools came to Parliament and I enjoyed many questions. They had plenty of energy despite having left St Erth early that morning.
Jobs to do
Parliament is busy reorganising and I'm honoured to take on the chairmanship of the Brain Tumour All Party Group, Vascular All Party Group and Diabetes Think Tank. Each of these groups help to drive progress towards new treatments and improving outcomes for patients.
Activities in the Commons
Other Parliamentary activities included attending an event to champion endangered species (I am the champion for the Manx Shearwater - a bird found on Scilly). I met with Government Minister, Rory Stewart MP whose responsibility spans both the Foreign Office and International Development Department. We discussed the progress being made to bring these departments closer together, ensuring harmony between foreign policy and international development.
We were joined by students from Penzance doing their work experience in my London office. Amongst other opportunities, I took them to meet with Leader of the House, Andrea Leadsom MP to discuss how legislation affects young people and whether it was time to consider votes for 16 and 17-year-olds.
Southwest MPs met, as usual, to meet with executives from Bristol Airport to talk about the dramatic expansion of this transport hub and how this affects the Southwest including West Cornwall. The greatest challenge is the draw for those with the skills they need that could leave our smaller airports short of the expertise required.
I attended an event hosted by Which?, where they launched an online tool to help customers check their broadband strength to ensure we are getting the service we pay for – including advice on how to switch: Which.co.uk/testyourspeed
Ministerial hospital visit and tea and cake
In addition to a visit to West Cornwall Hospital to receive a 69th Birthday Card for the NHS and to catch up with nursing staff, Health Minister Philip Dunn MP joined me to see the investment taking place in the hospital and to meet the staff for himself. The following day my family and I went along to the annual Summer fete organised by the League of Friends which is a fantastic effort every year.
A meeting with the CEO of the Cornish Fish Producers Organisation (CFPO) in Newlyn led to plans to bring both the Minister and Secretary of State to Newlyn later this Summer to look at plans to improve the market and discuss with fishermen progress towards a U.K. fishing policy.
Exporting is Great (Porthleven)
Planning for a big event next week as we bring together local producers and London buyers to increase the amount West Cornwall 'exports' over the Tamar and beyond!
An Absolute Stink
The evidence was clear when I hosted a meeting with Southwest Water and residents who live near the treatment plant in St Erth. An action plan was agreed to address the smell and other concerns and I will watch closely to ensure the jobs get done.
What's Taxing Small Business?
A meeting with the Valuation Office Agency and St Ives businesses took place to continue the work we have been doing together to challenge the hike in charges this year. My view is that the basic data used to value St Ives businesses is flawed and I'm determined to get to the bottom of this.