On Friday, Theresa May officially stepped down as leader of the Conservative Party, in order for a leadership contest to take place. A number of hustings for candidates to outline their positions have already taken place, with more planned for this week. The first ballot is due to take place on Thursday 13th June.
Following the first ballot, any candidate receiving 16 votes, or fewer will be eliminated. After the second ballot, any candidate receiving 32 votes, or fewer will be eliminated. If the ballot thresholds are met by all candidates, then the candidate with the lowest number of votes will be eliminated. Balloting will continue until two candidates remain. Once the parliamentary process is completed, the final two candidates will be put to a vote of the Conservative Party membership. This stage of the process will be completed in the week beginning Monday 22nd July.
It is crucial that the successful candidate is prepared to get on with delivering the result of the 2016 referendum and ensure that we leave the European Union as soon as possible.
On Thursday afternoon, along with the Bishop of London, I chaired the fourth session of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Rural Health and Social Care’s eight-part inquiry into issues facing rural health and social care. The session focused specially on the current workforce challenges and opportunities in rural settings.
It was great to be able to welcome such a distinguished and varied range of participants to the discussion including the Chief Nursing Officer for England, the Chair of an NHS trust and representatives from Local Authorities.
We covered a range of workforce questions such as; Should nurses be commonly recruited to work across both health and social care & how could recruitment of hospital doctors and of GPs be improved? This produced a really insightful range of contributions from witnesses. As previously mentioned, the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, has asked his department to explore the feasibility of a rural health strategy. Such a strategy would be a massive step forward in how health and care are understood in a rural context. Parity of esteem between health in urban and rural areas is long overdue.
Last week was a fantastic opportunity to join with local charities and voluntary groups to celebrate local volunteers as part of Volunteers’ Week 2019. From trustees or campaigners to carers and fundraisers, volunteers make a huge and unique contribution to their local community, and Volunteers’ Week is the perfect opportunity to thank them.
‘Volunteers’ Week is an important time to celebrate the contribution that volunteering makes to our society and recognise the difference everyone who volunteers can make. However people volunteer, whether it’s an hour every week or a few minutes a month, it all contributes to making our community a better place to live. I want to take this opportunity to thank volunteers across the constituency, and wider South West, who make such a vital contribution.
It was a pleasure to be able to support the Summer Reading Challenge last week. The Summer Reading Challenge encourages children aged 4 to 11 to read six library books during the long summer holiday. Children's reading can 'dip' during the summer holidays if they don't have regular access to books and encouragement to read for pleasure. The annual Summer Reading Challenge helps get three quarters of a million children into libraries each year to keep up their reading skills and confidence. The Challenge celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.
The Summer Reading Challenge is open to all primary school aged children and is designed for all reading abilities. Schools work with local libraries and give out information to encourage children to take part, and most libraries run Summer Reading Challenge linked early years activity for pre-schoolers.
My next surgery is on Friday 28 June in Newton Abbot. Please call my office on 01626 368277 to arrange an appointment.