On Tuesday evening, the threshold of 15% of Conservative MPs submitting letters of no confidence to the Chair of the 1922 Committee was reached and a ballot was held. I expressed a vote of no confidence in Theresa May. This is due to my concerns that no Brexit deal acceptable to Parliament has yet been reached and insufficient preparation has been made to prepare for a no deal scenario.
The Prime Minister won the vote of no confidence but, if she returns from Brussels with no substantial or material changes to the Withdrawal Agreement, the Leader of the Opposition may well call for a vote of no confidence in the Government. At this point, I would expect the confidence and supply arrangement with the DUP to end and the vote of no confidence to pass, due to the backstop remaining in place. This would mean a General Election becomes almost inevitable.
The Public Accounts Committee last week took evidence on looking at how we can drive value in public spending. I was a lead Committee member questioning John Manzoni, Permanent Secretary at the Cabinet Office, and James Bowler, Director General for Public Spending at the Treasury. They set out the action they are taking to move towards a more integrated approach to assessing and measuring value across government. Increasing value across government will lead to better and more accessible services being available for constituents to use.
While the sitting week was longer than expected, I was still able to be back in Teignbridge on Friday to award prizes to the five winners of my Christmas card competition. There were some fabulous designs and it was a hard decision to make. The winners were from: Bearnes Primary School, Newton Abbot; Ipplepen Primary School; Stokeinteignhead Primary School; Teignmouth Community School; and Trinity School in Teignmouth. Thank you to all who took part.
I was disappointed to hear the news of the closure of Hannah’s at Seale-Hayne here in the constituency and the impact it will have on the local community. I have written to the Chief Executive of the Dame Hannah Rogers Trust to express disappointment at the situation and explore what can be done to help. Hannah’s has become an essential part of our community since the site was acquired in 2009.
I am of course deeply concerned not only as to where an alternative provision will be established for the services offered at Seale Hayne for children and adults with a range of disabilities, but also the impact on those that are sadly facing losing their employment at this very difficult time.
Early on Saturday morning I was up visiting our hard working postmen at their sorting offices in Dawlish and Teignmouth to thank them for all their hard work across the year, especially over Christmas.
Over my time in Parliament, I have met with a number of constituents with different rare diseases who have suffered unnecessarily because of incorrect diagnoses and treatments for them not being available to them on the NHS.
To tackle these issue more broadly, I have established the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Access to Medicines and Medical Devices. On Monday evening at the first meeting, the packed room heard from speakers including George Freeman MP, former Minister for Life Sciences. Speakers gave an overview of the life sciences landscape and the challenges faced by pharmaceutical companies, investors, and Government. I want to ensure patients in Teignbridge have timely access to new drugs and technologies.
On Tuesday afternoon, I attended a meeting, along with other South West MPs, with a group of residents from Devon and Cornwall to discuss issues they have as employees of the South Western Ambulance Service. We take these ongoing issues incredibly seriously and will be working to address them moving forwards.
My next surgery is on Friday 4th January at 2pm in Newton Abbot. Please call my office on 01626 368277 to arrange an appointment.