View From the House 16 June

HELLO and welcome to my weekly View from the House for Tamworth Informed.

Some of you may have noticed my weekly article has been missing from Tamworth Informed. Every time I have come to sit and write the events of the week, I find that most of it has changed or advanced by the time I have finished. It was British Prime Minister Harold Wilson that said ‘a week is a long-time in politics’. Well in 2019 it seems an hour is even longer! However, I wanted to recap a couple of events that have happened in the last week or two with you.

The Conservative Party leadership is well underway. On Thursday Conservative MPs voted in the first ballot for the next leader. Esther McVey, Andrea Leadsom and Mark Harper were knocked out of the race, and as I type this Matthew Hancock has withdrawn himself. This leaves 6 contenders left. Going through my emails I see a number of you have reached out with your preferences and policies when deciding the new leader. I read every single one of these, however, at this moment I will not be declared for a  candidate and I wanted to explain to you why. In my role in the Whips’ Office, we cannot openly back one side or another as the Whips’ Office works with the whole Party and Government. And as Deputy Chief Whip I have to be even-handed in order to get important votes in Parliament through the Commons. That’s a long-established tradition – and I think a good one.  However, once we reach the final 2 candidates I will declare who I will vote for, and I don’t think we will have long to wait.

Again, this week Jeremy Corbyn and his Labour benches tried to take No Deal off the table. By putting forward a vote in the Chamber to take control of the voting schedule, they once again threatened Brexit. As I have every single time this option has come up, I again voted to keep No Deal on the table and we defeated this Labour attempt. It is negotiation 101 and we cannot allow the Labour party to continue to frustrate Brexit. We have had multiple chances to leave the European Union and yet we are still stuck in it. Those Labour MPs from leave seats are playing a game they cannot win.  We want a good deal for Britain, that is better than no deal. Yet we can only get a good deal if the EU believes we are serious about leaving without me if we have to

While Westminster is busy with leadership contenders, it was a delight to come back up to Tamworth on Friday and work with my team in the office on Lichfield St. I have just got back in from the rubbish weather, but it was worth it to meet with the Staffordshire Wildlife CEO Julian Woolford to highlight the fantastic 14 nature reserves we have in and around Tamworth. We also went through the upcoming wildlife projects, as well as Nature Recovery Networks. With this Government being the greenest ever, I am very keen to see more trees planted and our beautiful countryside kept open for us all. Earlier in the day I visited the new Wren Kitchens store in Tamworth and found that it has created an EXTRA 23 jobs in Tamworth. For me, businesses look at Tamworth and see so much potential, the plan in Government and the Borough Council is working.

This last couple of weeks I have done a handful of visits to schools in Tamworth: Landau Forte, Flaxhill and Glascote Academy, as well as welcoming William MacGregor Primary to Westminster. Many tell me that political engagement in younger people is falling, I suggest they meet the next generation! I find these visits incredibly interesting in hearing issues that matter to our younger residents. I would strongly recommend that schools take the opportunity to visit the Houses of Parliament, and I know the Education Service here offers a substantial subsidy on travel. If you are involved in a school, do get in touch and we can try and sort a visit.

June and the start of summer has gotten off to a very poor, rainy start however it hasn’t dampened the spirits of our summer fayres. Last weekend I visited the Sir Robert Peel and Clifton Campville summer celebrations. Thank you to those plucky stall owners and visitors who braved the rain to have a look around and contribute to some worthy causes. With all the rain, I am hoping the weather (and temperature) can only go up! I am looking forward to having a ‘Tamworth Summer of Tourism’, as we have so many attractions and events that should not be overlooked. I am hoping to collaborate with the Tourism Minister – so do watch this space.