On Monday, the Finance Bill passed its second reading and the Prime Minister made a statement in the House on Brexit negotiations. The Prime Minister paid tribute to the UK negotiating team’s efforts to secure a fair and reciprocal deal and outlined the progress made to allow talks to proceed to talks on the future relationship between the UK and the EU. The Finance Bill lays the foundation for a Britain fit for the future – investing for the long-term while supporting families and businesses under pressure now, setting a path to a more prosperous Britain.
On Tuesday, another eight hours of debate took place over the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill with the Government winning all five votes on amendments. The debate focused on the extent to which the Government could ask Parliament to delegate legislative power to change the statute book so that retained EU law functions effectively after Brexit. Wednesday saw the seventh day of the Withdrawal Bill’s Committee Stage with a key vote on amendment 7 to clause 9 which the government lost very narrowly. While much is made of the consequences, it won’t change the fact that we will be leaving the EU in March 2019, it will just make the process more cumbersome.
I intervened in a Westminster Hall debate on the provision of children’s services by local authorities. I raised the issue of the knock-on effect poor social service support for children with difficulties is having on teachers, who are effectively having to plug the gaps in provision. I also highlighted how poor social service provision to help with mental health issues in children inevitably causes more strain on the NHS.
This week I signed the TUC ‘Dying to Work’ charter to support and protect any of my employees who may become terminally ill. People with terminal illness should not be dismissed or forced out of their jobs so that their loved ones lose the death in service payments that the employee has planned for and earned through a life-time of hard work. I encourage businesses in my constituency to follow suit and sign up to the TUC’s voluntary charter.
This week I attended the All Party Parliamentary Group meeting on South West Rail. The group heard from Nick Ely of the Environment Agency and Councillor Andrea Davis who is the portfolio holder for Infrastructure, Development & Waste on Devon County Council. When looking at improvements to our railway infrastructure it is important we do not neglect the environment. Both Councillor Davis and Nick Ely were keen to see greater co-operation with Network Rail in the future to make sure this happens.
On Thursday, I visited Ipplepen Primary School and Kingskerwell Primary School in Newton Abbot to congratulate the winner and runners-up of my Christmas card competition. Charlotte Scrase of Ipplepen Primary School won the competition and I was delighted to present her with her prize. Many wonderful designs were entered this year and I was proud to choose Charlotte’s to send to my fellow MPs.
I was delighted to visit the care homes across the constituency this week to pay tribute to them in the run up to Christmas. Like Rowcroft, our care homes play a vital role in the end of life care and I look forward to working with them in 2018.
On Saturday, I was up bright and early at the Dawlish and Teignmouth sorting office where I had the pleasure of thanking our postal workers for the great job they do sorting and getting our Christmas mail out to us all. It was lovely to be able to see the hard work they do first hand, especially over the festive season!
My next surgery will be in Newton Abbot on the 22nd December at 14:30. Please call 01626 368277 to arrange an appointment.