Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Newspaper column 28 June 2017 - Transport infrastructure investment in Cornwall

After a busy time in Parliament last week it was great on Thursday to go down to Penzance and see the new intercity bullet train that Hitachi is testing for the Penzance to Plymouth line ahead of the full rollout of the new rolling stock in 2018.

The new trains, along with investment in the signalling system, will create more capacity on the mainline to London as well as cutting about 15 minutes of the travel time and providing much better onboard facilities.

This new £400million investment is another example of the current record levels of investment into Cornwall’s transport system.
On 14th July we are also seeing the completion of the dualling of the A30 at Temple. This has seen Highways England and the Department for Transport, along with Cornwall Council, invest £59 million into improving this vital stretch of the road.

In return it will cut congestion for visitors and commuters using the A30 to get to Mid-Cornwall. By reducing business costs and improving productivity (and generating more employment as a result), the wider economic benefits of dualling the road have been put at more than £134m to the Cornish economy.

With the Temple Project completed I am continuing to work with all involved to bring forward the plans for the crucial link road from the A30 to St Austell and the surrounding area. These plans have been supported by the Government and will provide a direct road from the A30 to the A391, bypassing currently congested villages including Roche, Bugle and Stenalees as well as providing more immediate access to St Austell from Cornwall Airport Newquay. We are in the final stages of securing the funding for this project and good progress is being made.

I have also been making the case for funding for Phase 2 of the Newquay Strategic Route that is essential in order to cope with the increase in housing being developed in and around Newquay and will continue to work with Cornwall Council to ensure this new road is built as soon as possible.

On the subject of Cornwall Airport Newquay it was great to see the new Space Industry Bill, announced as part of the Queen’s Speech last week. This will introduce new powers to permit launches from British soil.

Since becoming MP I have championed Cornwall Airport Newquay as the best location for the first UK Spaceport. This is an amazing opportunity for the investment and better paid jobs we need in mid-Cornwall. It is clear with our prime location, Aerohub Enterprise Zone, proximity to Goonhilly Earth Station and existing infrastructure that Newquay is the frontrunner. I will continue to do all I can to work with the Government, LEP and space industry to bring the Spaceport to Cornwall.

Of course, these are just some of the ways in which the Government is investing into Cornwall's infrastructure. There is a popular myth that is often stated that central Government neglects Cornwall. The fact is that Cornwall is currently in the midst of the biggest transport infrastructure investment ever – new roads, new trains and improvements to the railways, new buses and support and opportunities for our airport. There is still loads more to do but we are making good progress. I will continue to champion these and other existing projects, as well as working on your behalf to lobby for and attract more funding and investment to make our constituency and Cornwall as a whole a better place to live, work and grow up in.

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, 21 June 2017

Newspaper column 21 June 2017 - The Grenfell Tower tragedy

As I head back up to Parliament this week for the Queen’s Speech and start of the next session of Parliament, the tragic events of the fire at Grenfell Tower last Wednesday are not far from any of our minds.

This was a terrible tragedy and my thoughts and prayers are with all those affected, those who lost their lives and their families. Praise must be given to our emergency services for acting how they did, running into the flames when others were running away and putting their own lives on the line to save those in danger.

The Prime Minister has promised a comprehensive package of support for victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. During a meeting with survivors of the fire, she announced a £5 million fund would be made available to pay for emergency supplies, food, clothes and other costs.

The package includes: a commitment that victims who lost their homes in the disaster must be rehoused at the earliest possible opportunity and that the Government should aim to do this within 3 weeks at the latest.

The Prime Minister has also ordered a judge-led Public Inquiry to ensure these events are properly investigated, lessons are learnt and everything possible is done to make sure nothing like this can ever happen again in the future. The survivors will be consulted on the terms of reference for the inquiry, which will allow them to shape the way it is run so they can obtain the answers they are seeking.

Clearly this tragic event raises concerns about the safety of high rise blocks of flats. We actually have the highest tower block in Cornwall in our constituency at Park House Flats, at Truro Road in St Austell. Shortly after the fire in Kensington I contacted Ocean Housing, the social landlord of Park House Flats, to ensure they have safety measures in place to ensure the safety of the residents if a fire was to happen there.

I have been assured by Ocean that the Park House Flats are fire rated to 1 hour and have all of the appropriate safety measures and alarms in place.

Ocean say that the building is subject to regular familiarisation inspections by Cornwall Fire and Rescue and is visited regularly by Ocean’s Head of Health and Safety with emergency plans being updated every six months.

Finally, Ocean have also confirmed that the Park House flats do not have any external cladding of the type implicated in the Grenfell tragedy.

I am also pleased to report that the local Fire and Rescue Service are visiting the flats and advising residents on how to act in the event of a fire to ensure their safety.

I am sure there will be more to come from this incident which has affected so many, but what is important now is that lessons are learned and we do not see any repeat in the future.

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, 14 June 2017

Newspaper column 14 June - Looking back on the General Election

At June 8th’s General Election I was delighted and honoured to be re-elected as the Member of Parliament for St Austell and Newquay.

I was pleased at the result of my positive campaign, particularly that you, the people of Mid-Cornwall chose to vote for me in higher numbers, with a greater majority and share of the vote than in 2015.

Thank you to everyone who voted for me and especially to my incredible team and all those who volunteered to help my campaign, and a special thanks to my family and especially my wife Anne for her incredible support.

While nationally the result was not what we as the Conservative Party hoped for, I am pleased to be returned as part of a Conservative-led Government, as the Conservatives again won more seats across the country than all of the other parties put together.

It was also good to see Cornwall retaining its full complement of Conservative MPs and I am looking forward to working together with my colleagues as a continuing powerful shared voice for our county within Government.

It is important we get behind the Prime Minister as she leads our country into the crucial EU negotiations. That we press on now to make a success of Brexit both for the UK and also for Cornwall.

In the run up to the election International Trade Minister Liam Fox visited St Austell to discuss some of the exciting ways in which Cornwall could benefit from Brexit, including ‘phenomenal potential’ for our Cornish food and drink exports around the world once we leave Europe.

I am already back in Parliament and now the campaign is over and done with am back at work serving you to do my best, regardless of how you voted, to represent and serve your interests, both locally and as a strong Cornish voice in Westminster.

Looking to the future I am meeting this week with Cornwall Council to get an update on the progress of the crucial A30 link road to St Austell and the surrounding area, and will continue to champion the bid for Newquay to become the location of the UK’s Spaceport, as we await to hear news on their recent bid.

It has been a privilege to serve as your MP for the past two years and I now look forward to continuing to work for you over the coming years to make where we live a better place to live, work and grow up in.

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:

Monday, 12 June 2017

Statement on proposed Conservative Party/DUP deal

I have been contacted by a number of constituents raising concerns about the proposed deal between the Conservative Party and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). 

I have outlined my views on this below.

Firstly, it is not a formal coalition. It is a supply and confidence motion which means the DUP will vote with the Conservatives on issues such as budgets and the Queen Speech. They will not be part of the Government. The Prime Minister has now appointed her Cabinet and it does not contain any DUP members.

Forming a Government that is supported by the DUP does not mean the Conservative Party agrees with all the DUP’s policies. From 2010-2015 we were in a formal coalition with the Liberal Democrats despite there being many key issues where we did not agree with their policies. There are many key issues where we do agree with the DUP such as our approach to defence and terrorism, our general approach to taxation and Brexit. But there also some areas where we clearly do not agree on.

Laws concerning abortion and LGBT rights will not be affected, there are no plans to change legislation and those issues are devolved to the Northern Ireland assembly and therefore the DUP would have no influence over this matters in England.

It is generally the convention in Parliament that areas such as these are a matter of conscience and therefore would be a matter for a free vote.

The DUP will not be able to change the curriculum for schools in England, as it is an English only matter and as far as I am aware there are no plans to change what is taught in schools. Any attempt to change this is unlikely to find any support amongst my colleagues. 

The Conservative party is opposed to the reintroduction of the death penalty. I would vote against any attempt by anyone to introduce a bill for its reintroduction.

As regards to climate change, the British Government has signed the Paris Climate Agreement and will stick to it. There will be no watering down environmental legislation once we leave the EU. As someone who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group to Protect Our Waves, I am keen to see further efforts to reduce pollution and tackle problems of waste entering the environment.

I believe it is important that following the outcome of the election we now get on with forming a Government and providing the leadership the country needs at this time. The only possibility of this happening is if the Conservative Party forms a Government. The Labour Party simply do not have enough members and even if they were supported by all the other parties they would still have less seats than the Conservatives have on our own.