Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Newspaper column 26 April 2017 - Looking towards the General Election

There really is only one issue for my column this week - the decision made by the Prime Minister last Tuesday, to announce a Snap General Election for 8th June.

Make no mistake about it, this General Election is all about the continued Brexit process and who we as a country want to be leading these crucial negotiations.

The Prime Minister has now triggered Article 50, the formal mechanism by which we are leaving the European Union. There is no going back. We now head into the negotiations that will determine the terms of Brexit and our future relationship with the EU. As in any negotiation we need our leaders to be in the strongest possible position and have confidence that the nation and Parliament are behind them.

There is a very simple choice before us. We will either have Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister. Theresa May has shown herself over the past 9 months to be the competent strong leader our country needs at this time. The alternative is the coalition of chaos led by Jeremy Corbyn, who doesn’t even have the support of his own Parliamentary Party.

Over the past year we have seen the opponents of Brexit and the democratic decision that was made following the vote on our membership of the EU last year, repeatedly try to delay or water down the Brexit process. As the Prime Minister has said:

“In recent weeks Labour have threatened to vote against the final agreement we reach with the European Union, the Liberal Democrats have said they want to grind the business of government to a standstill, the SNP say they will vote against the legislation that formally repeals Britain's membership of the European Union and unelected members of the House of Lords have vowed to fight us every step of the way.”

At a time when our country requires clear leadership and certainty about the future, those that are seeking to disrupt this process are not acting in the interest of our country. The Prime Minister has now called them out on this and the country will get to make a decision on who you think is best placed to lead this process.

I will happily admit that this election is a surprise. Being your MP and representing you in Parliament this past two years has been the greatest honour of my life. I will be seeking re-election once again at this election. I believe I have shown in the past 23 months that I am the hard working strong voice our constituency needs.

I will be out and about in the coming weeks, knocking on doors and meeting as many people as possible. I look forward to seeing many of you, to listen to your views, so that I can understand what you would want from me as your MP, should I be re-elected.

During the campaign my constituency office will remain open for anyone who needs help with any issues. Please do get in touch if you think I can help. You can call my office on 01726 829379 or email

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Newspaper column 12 April 2017 - School attendance rules

This week I wanted to focus on the outcome of the Supreme Court case last week in which the Judges ruled in favour of the Government against a father from the Isle of Wight, Jon Platt, taking his daughter on holiday during term time. The court case had arisen because of changes to school attendance rules, which stop parents taking children on holiday during term time. Mr Platt had originally won his court case but the Government took it to Supreme Court and got the previous decision overturned.

This is an area in which I have consistently disagreed with the Government. I have campaigned for the reversal of these rules including leading and participating in several debates in Parliament since my election.

Needless to say this was a very disappointing ruling for me.

My view remains that this policy is wrong. The arbitrary banning of holidays during term time is so unfair, especially to those in the tourism industry or on low income, who will otherwise not get a chance to holiday with their children during the summer months, whether due to work commitments or not being able to afford the inflated prices charged by holiday operators during the school holidays.

I do not believe it is the role of the Government to micro manage families, this should rightfully remain the primary responsibility of parents. In fact, this policy is divisive in many ways, leading to parents and teachers being set against each other rather than working together for the betterment of the children involved.

Every child is different and I believe it should be for parents and heads to decide together whether an absence is acceptable or not. This was previously the case with head teachers being given discretion to allow a certain amount of leave during term time on a case by case basis. Time spent together as families is just as important as classroom time and it is my long held belief that children spending time with their families in educational and informative settings outside of school can be just as, if not more educational and informative in terms of life experiences than time spent in the class room.

I am pleased that in Cornwall though, Cornwall Council has taken a sensible approach, informed by the numbers of parents and children adversely affected by these rules, and fined far fewer people than the national average.

This is not the end of the matter for me and I am considering what steps I can now take to continue the campaign to get this policy changed. The fight goes on and I will continue to work both locally and in Westminster to highlight this issue and how unfair it is to people both here in Mid-Cornwall and around the country.

As always, my team and I are here to serve the whole constituency and work hard to make a real difference to the lives of everyone needing support. If there is an issue you would like my assistance on then please contact me on either 01726 829379 or Additionally, I hold regular, appointment only, advice surgeries across the constituency. Dates of these can be found at:

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Newspaper column 05 April 2017 - Good news for the NHS in Cornwall

This week I thought I would focus on the NHS and its funding.

NHS funding in Cornwall has been a topical subject recently. The NHS is getting more money than ever both nationally and locally.

This Government has increased funding for the NHS nationally in real terms and is set to continue to increase the funding going forward – an additional £10 billion by 2020 (which is what the NHS said they required).

In Cornwall funding has also increased. Since the creation of NHS Kernow it has had a real terms increase in funding every year, which is projected to continue until at least 2020, an increase of over 20%.

At the same time as this we are currently going through the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), which is a complete review of NHS services throughout Cornwall.

The local NHS in Cornwall has overspent which is the reason for the need for saving and the possible changes that might arise as a result of it.

Some of the over-spending is a result of increasing demand from patients and bad management by those on top of the local NHS.

However, much of the problem is caused by bed blocking due to problems with the Cornwall Council-led adult social care.

In the recent Budget, the Government has just granted Cornwall Council an additional £24m over the next three years for adult social care to go towards resolving these issues.

Finally, on Friday we saw the announcement of the long-needed mental health in-patient unit for children and young people in Cornwall. For too long we have had to see children and young people, at a time when they are most vulnerable, having to travel across the country to access badly needed support. This puts unbelievable strain both on them and their families, so a facility in Cornwall is absolutely essential.

Furthermore, Royal Cornwall Hospital is one of 74 sites from around the country that has been offered £30m as part of the ‘Core 24’ standard for mental health liaison, meaning a fully-staffed team will be operating 24/7 in the hospital, offering a one-hour response to emergency mental health referrals in A&E.

These are both clear signs of the Government’s commitment to funding the NHS in Cornwall. I will continue to work with my Cornish MP colleagues to ensure this money is spent effectively, making sure that those who need help get it and that the services we have are value for money for everyone.

As always, my team and I are here to serve the whole constituency and work hard to make a real difference to the lives of everyone needing support. If there is an issue you would like my assistance on then please contact me on either 01726 829379 or Additionally, I hold regular, appointment only, advice surgeries across the constituency. Dates of these can be found at: