Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Campaign reply - ‘Scrapping subsidies for burning wood’


A number of constituents have written to me as part of a campaign ‘Scrapping subsidies for burning wood’

There is to be an early day motion regarding this. As a principle I never sign early day motions as they very rarely achieve anything whilst at the same time running up costs to the tax payer.

I have sympathy with the sentiment expressed. For instance in my role on the Transport Committee I pursue greener, cleaner options. One third of all emissions are generated by transport and we have seen real progress in the current and future greening of transport. By 2040 all cars sold in the UK will have to be zero emission. A world leading move and a goal likely to be achieved much sooner.

Power generation has also already gone through a revolution and only last year we saw the first day since the beginning of the Industrial revolution where no power was produced by coal. This year that figure has increased again. The switch to low or zero emission power production is making progress. I have to ask, should Drax power station burn coal or bio mass? In the interim the latter is preferable but ultimately that too will subside. Progress is being made and it is important that is fully recognised as we switch.

The comment made: “The Government has announced new rules which effectively rule out new
subsidies for large-scale biomass electricity under the Contracts for
Difference scheme. This is a very positive development and sends a strong
message that biomass burning is not part of the solution to climate change.”

This recognition of government policy is most welcome and I will convey the sentiment to ministers.

We all want to see continued progress of green energy production and I celebrate along with yourselves in recognising the improvements already achieved. As we continue we must also ensure the complex energy needs of the UK are also met and remain affordable. Current arrangements ensure both and whilst that includes bio mass burn, it has to be seen as part of the diverse energy production in place which is why subsidies applies only to existing plants.




Newspaper column 12 December 2018 - A capital announcement for our NHS in Cornwall!


The news from Parliament this week has again been dominated by Brexit. As I write this the Prime Minister has postponed the Meaningful Vote which was due to take place on 11 December.

However away from Brexit, I continue to work to deliver on the investment we need for Mid-Cornwall. On Friday last week I was therefore delighted to get confirmation from Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock that Cornwall is receiving £40.4m of NHS capital funding.

I have always been clear that ensuring the NHS in Cornwall receives its fair share of the record amount of funding the Government is currently releasing nationally, is a top priority.

The Government is providing funding for the Peripheral Site Optimisation scheme with new investment of up to £9.1million which will deliver improved clinical facilities and eradicate backlog maintenance.

This is part of £1bn extra capital funding being announced across England. It comes on top of the £20.5bn per year extra funding for the NHS over the next five years - the longest and largest funding settlement in the NHS’s history. The investment is part of the wider plan to provide better services for patients, integrate care better and renew aging facilitates.

Friday’s announcement also saw the Oncology & MRI Re-provision scheme with new investment of up to £31.326 million which will deliver improvements to the Oncology/Haematology Ward and the MRI Department at Treliske.

I am delighted to have worked with my Cornish MP colleagues to achieve this outcome. Only at the end of November we met with the Secretary of State to press the issue for this investment to improve services and outcomes for people in Cornwall. I am pleased that he has listened and delivered on these significant investments.

In general terms this announcement follows the Government providing record real-terms funding increases to the NHS across the country, which is reflected in Cornwall, as well as with specific projects such as the soon to be completed Mental Health inpatient unit for young people, and plans for the acute care centres.

The Government has also provided additional funding ring fenced to local authorities, such as Cornwall Council, to assist with adult social care and work with the NHS to relieve bed blocking.
However, as with everything, running the NHS properly is not just about throwing money at it. The NHS itself must also do its bit to ensure it is good value for money for the taxpayer and operates efficiently with the budget it has.

I will continue to do all I can to ensure the funding increases continue and that this continues to translate to tangible improvements in Cornwall’s NHS.

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. The office is open to the public Monday – Friday 10.00am – 4.00pm (no appointment necessary). If there is an issue you would like my assistance on then please, either visit the office or contact me on either 01726 829379 or office@stevedouble.org.uk. Additionally, I hold regular, appointment only, advice surgeries across the constituency. Dates of these can be found at: www.stevedouble.org.uk/events


Campaign response - Global Compact for Migration


Recently I have been contacted by a number of constituents who have concerns about the UK’s endorsement of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. 

Some of their concerns about the Compact include its potential to open up our borders to further uncontrolled mass immigration, and the impact this would have on public services, wages and housing.

I fully understand the concerns and sentiments expressed. Uncontrolled immigration, largely as a result of the free movement of people between EU countries, have not worked well for Cornwall and the UK. The mass movement of people without any checks or controls erodes public confidence, damages economies, and places those on the move in greater vulnerability.

It is absolutely right that as we leave the EU we do take back control of our borders. We should be able to manage migration in a way that suits our own economic and social needs and concerns whilst having a compassionate approach to those fleeing war, persecution and oppression.

We should also be able to better ensure we have the infrastructure and services to meet any increase in population and protect those communities who have in the past felt overwhelmed by migration.

The Global Compact for Migration is a voluntary, non-binding document that introduces no additional obligations to states. It is a global agreement setting out a common framework, shared principles and best practices on international migration.

My constituents may find it assuring to know that the Compact is an aspirational document setting out steps that states can take to tackle uncontrolled migration in a more co-ordinated manner.

The agreement explicitly reaffirms the right of member states to determine their national migration policy. Unlike EU laws on freedom of movement, there are no formal requirements for states to sign on to the Compact because it’s not an international treaty.

It will not affect our ability to determine and implement our own migration policies, including in areas such as asylum, border controls and returns of illegal migrants.

It also does not establish a ‘human right to migrate’ or create any new legal categories of migrant as some have suggested, but does states that migrants are entitled to the same universal human rights as any human being, which is an important safeguard for many of the refugees and asylum seekers fleeing from war and destruction.

A key objective of the document is to support cooperation on reducing uncontrolled migration – an important task for the government and a point that I can my constituents and I can agree on. It sets out the responsibility of countries of origin to ensure effective control of their borders, and to cooperate in accepting the return of their nationals when they no longer have the right to remain in another country.

Furthermore, it also calls on countries of origin to work with the international community to address the drivers of irregular migration, by creating economic opportunities for populations in source countries, and improving governance and respect for the rule of law.

Building an independent, controlled and fair immigration system is something I am very keen to speak up for as we leave the EU. Some of my constituents are rightly sceptical of international organisations imposing their will on us and our law-making ability. However, the Compact is not legally binding in any way and therefore meets my commitment to return sovereignty to the UK, while allowing us as an independent nation to work with others to make sure immigration is controlled and fair while being humane and giving people the dignity they deserve.

As the government looks to publish the immigration white paper and bill in the next few months, I will continue to make sure that immigration works for everyone, and will not be afraid to speak up for the interests of the Cornwall and the UK in future debates. 



Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Campaign response - Please exit Brexit


Some of my constituents have recently written to me to ask me to vote against the Brexit agreement. 

Many of them will be aware that the Prime Minister has announced that the vote on her Brexit deal will be postponed to the new year.

My view is that it was a mistake to postpone the Brexit deal vote, as I believe it would have helped the Prime Minister in her renegotiation if she could have gone to Brussels with a clear message from Parliament that the deal was overwhelming rejected by MPs. The Brexit agreement is one of the most important internationally-binding treaties this country will ever sign. Tinkering with it or changing the non-binding political declaration will not suffice – We need wording in the withdrawal agreement amended. Causing any unnecessary delay will only add further uncertainty to the Brexit process.

Unless the Prime Minister is now able to renegotiate a better deal that actually takes back control of our laws, our trade and our sovereignty, when this deal is put before Parliament, as it currently stands, I will be voting against it.

So I agree with many of my constituents that this deal needs to be voted down.

However, these emails I have received proceed to state that "one thing is clear amidst the widespread uncertainty we face: leaving the EU would considerably disadvantage the U.K., placing us in a precarious and potentially disastrous position for years to come", and suggest that we revoke Article 50 and support a second referendum.

I fundamentally disagree with this assertion that the UK will be weaker outside of the EU.

Nobody has ever said that leaving the EU would be walk in the park. But we were also told by economists and other so-called experts in 2016 that our economy would take a bad hit if the country voted to leave the EU.

It is an understatement to say that these forecasts have proved to be misguided.

We now stand in a strong position to weather the challenges of Brexit as one of the world’s largest and most competitive economies.

Staying in the EU would bound us to continue sending billions of pounds to Brussels and undermine our Parliament's sovereignty to legislate in our country's interest.

Indeed, what we have seen in the negotiations so far is the inflexible, bureaucratic and heavy-handed approach from Brussels that has typified our relationship with them for the past 4 decades.

The EU negotiators have refused to acknowledge the genuine economic interests of the UK and the EU, and have instead become fixated on setting a precedent with Brexit to deter other member states from leaving the EU.

Far from restoring stability to the country, the delay and uncertainty that revoking Article 50 and holding a second referendum would bring is the last thing the economy need.

It is doubtful there would even be time for another referendum within the time available but even if it could be shoehorned into the schedule.

Of course there is also the question that if we held another referendum, if there were people unhappy with the result of that one, would they then want another one, and so on until they got a result they were happy with? That isn’t how democracy works.

Time is running out and the vast majority of people tell me they simply want us to get on with things and leave.

I am committed to delivering the results of the referendum, nationally and locally, by ensuring that we leave the EU on 29 March 2019. It is vital for our democracy we respect the decision the British people made in 2016’s referendum and deliver what the people voted for.


Monday, 10 December 2018

Newspaper column - Climate change


A few of you have written to me regarding Climate change issues.

Whilst the UK has a track record of leading the debate around Climate change there is always more we can do whilst weighing off the practicalities involved. Of course once we leave the EU it will be easier to set our own rules and regulations and as World leaders in so many areas I believe we can show the way on this too.

In talking with Michael Gove  the environment secretary he makes no bones that urgent action is needed to tackle climate change and prepare for future extreme weather.
In a recent speech he said “It is only by heeding scientific warnings more keenly than ever before that we can safeguard our planet and our species’ survival. He went on to say “It is clear that the planet and its weather patterns are changing before our eyes. We know, more than ever before, the urgency of acting. These projections will give us an invaluable tool to assess the nature and scale of the challenge we face and take decisions accordingly.”

I agree. In my role on the Transport Committee, issues around emissions and cleaner transport often arise. This is a key factor in UK emissions as around one third is generated by transport. So cleaner vehicles and trains is a great way to reduce pollution and there have been dramatic reductions in recent years. The advent of the zero emission car on our roads is dawning and will soon be the norm. Train operators are looking at hydrogen powered trains (again zero emissions on the track) and it heartening to see the resounding success of our privately owned railways where passenger numbers have doubled taking thousands of car journeys from our roads.

I recently met with a Bus manufacturer who has in use a fleet of hybrid buses happily running all day using “opportunity charging” (they take a charge automatically when stopping at bespoke bus stops). These innovations can transform pollutions levels.
In the air, the first all-electric prototype aircraft, after years of experimentation has seen a dramatic breakthrough with the prospect we will one day see zero emission flight.

From these early but vital moves the greening of our transport is rapidly developing.

The news that Bristol has declared a Climate Emergency is interesting although my concern remains that the declaration is fruitful in producing a reduction in emissions and is not just hot air.

Caring for our environment is a responsibility of us all and doing something about it is key. My involvement with Surfers against sewerage has seen the whole issue of plastics in our seas and coastline suddenly take on huge interest from  the public at large. Many have cut out single use plastics wherever they can and also join with me and others on beach cleans and the like. The beaches are cleaner but more importantly the whole issue of our environment and the climate has risen up the ladder so that there is greater awareness and action and changing lifestyle choices.

Declarations have their place but action is far more valuable. If anyone would like to join our next beach clean, please subscribe to my newsletter where future dates will be announced. 

Details can be found here:


Campaign reply - 'No support for May’s “Deal”


A number of constituents have written to me with a similar email and hundreds more saying much the same thing - that the current proposal does not deliver the Brexit they voted for. I agree. I have issued a statement on this Setting out why I will be voting against the current proposal. Here is the link:

https://www.stevedouble.org.uk/news/steve-double-mp-statement-brexit-deal

Whilst these are difficult days I am focused on doing all I can to ensure we have the Brexit we voted for.


Campaign response - 'Brexit shambles'


A number of constituents have written to me using a similar format that has additional paragraphs covering specific issues such as the prospects for future generations, NHS funding, EU funded projects in Cornwall and other matters.

The email typically opens with I am writing to you as a local resident who just wants to see the best for our local community”. Can I say straight away, so do I - which is why during the referendum campaign and at the last election I stood on a Leave supporting platform. That is exactly how we can all have a better future. The UK will be better off leaving the EU to become the free trading nation it once was.

Our children will reap the benefits of those opportunities and whilst I think we all acknowledge there will inevitably be a transitional period following leaving the EU my belief is we will be doing the right thing.

NHS funding only comes from having a prosperous economy and I firmly believe Brexit will deliver the economy we need as we trade freely once again across the world.
On EU funded projects, The EU doesn’t have any money – only the money we (as net contributors) send them. They in turn send some of it back with enormous amounts of red tape and caveats attached. Best cut out the middle man I say. The regional development fund will replace and be far better focused on Cornish needs than anything the EU has done.

I remain committed to serving all constituents regardless of their views on Brexit or politics – I genuinely do and reflect on the feedback I get on Brexit and all other matters. However the overwhelmingly majority of my mailbag is from people asking, pleading and demanding that we get the Brexit they voted for and leave. I agree. The majority view remains that and as such it is impossible to action everyone’s perspective. In a democracy the majority must hold sway.

My position on Brexit has been consistent and is very much a long held view of mine; that we would be much better out of the EU.

I backed a people’s vote in 2016. Our constituency voted by almost 2-1 in favour of leave, the biggest margin in Cornwall.

I voted to leave and I believe my job as a parliamentarian is to get on with delivering the results of the people’s vote.

I am committed to delivering the results of the referendum, nationally and locally, by ensuring that we leave the EU on 29 March 2019. It is vital for our democracy we respect the decision the British people made in 2016’s referendum and deliver what the people voted for.

Additionally, during the election campaign last year I stood on a very clear message that I would respect the result of the referendum and work to deliver Brexit. I received a clear mandate in that election receiving and biggest vote and biggest majority ever seen in the constituency.

I made a short speech in the house on the current proposal which sets out my position and you can watch it here:



The referendum decided the course we should take and whilst and I remain focused on honouring the outcome and doing the right thing by democracy, local people and the UK as a whole.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Newspaper column 5 December 2018 - Help for the vulnerable


I was struck this week by a phone call we had into the office.

“I have befriended this elderly lady who was recently rushed into hospital, she needed a few things from her home, so we went in to collect what she had requested. I had never been into her home but what met us was tragic and heart-breaking. Needless to say it took us many, many hours to clean and tidy up. In our conversations she just says – I am so lonely…”

There are many people living on their own, on the outside we may think they have it altogether and are coping well. But behind closed doors is a different matter. They can be isolated, vulnerable and alone. They think they are coping but they are really not.

In today's world where people are more mobile and communities fragmented more people than ever, particularly the elderly, live alone.

As we enter the Christmas festive season, it often provides the opportunity for all of us to think about those who are on their own. Christmas is a time when families come together, which is a joy for many, but can also be a time when those who no longer have families around them feel loneliness even more acutely.  

Cornwall is rightly proud of our voluntary organisations and that proportionately more people provide their time and money to support charities than other parts of the country.

There are many groups that provide help and support for those who are alone.

Age UK – Support in Cornwall 01872 279279 (St Austell Day Care) and 01637 876150 (Newquay Day Care)

St Austell Kitchen are providing meals again this Christmas.

Volunteer Cornwall are also a great organisation that can point anyone wishing to give their time in the right direction. https://www.volunteercornwall.org.uk/christmas#ChristmasMeals

These are just a few groups but there of course many others who provide support all year round.

It was my privilege to attend an event in Parliament this week run by St Mungo’s – who have Hostels for the homeless all over the UK and to see the excellent work they are doing to help those who need shelter during this time. It is a timely reminder that whilst the number of rough sleepers in Cornwall continues to fall, there are still those who do not have a place to live.

In Cornwall we have the wonderful St Petroc’s Society who continue to provide accommodation, support, advice, training and resettlement services to single homeless people in Cornwall. Having visited some of their homes I know the amazing work they do. 

You can find out more about St Petroc’s Society by visiting their website


So, as we head into Christmas, let’s make sure we take the opportunity to think of those who will be on their own and if we can all do something, no matter how small, if will make a huge difference to those around us.

Campaign reply - 38 degrees campaign on the Brexit deal




I have recently received a number of 38 Degrees campaign emails from my constituents regarding the Brexit deal. A number of my constituents have said that they want the cleanest possible break, while others hope to see a Norway-style deal that keeps us close to the EU.

I am grateful to them for giving me this opportunity to clearly layout my position on the Brexit deal.

I have read and considered the 585 page Brexit deal proposed by the Prime Minister, and I have come to the conclusion, as have many MPs across the political spectrum, that this is not something I can support.

Deciding to oppose a key policy of your party leadership and government is not something I do lightly. However, there are times when as an MP you have to make a stand for what you believe. Since making my statement public I have been overwhelmed by the number of emails and comments on social media supporting my view. It is clear that a majority of local people, certainly those who have been in touch with me, agree with me.

I have been honoured to twice be elected to represent the people of St Austell and Newquay. On both occasions, firstly when I asked you to put your trust in me to become your MP in 2015, and then when I stood for re-election last year, the promise of a delivery of a Referendum on our Membership of the EU and then the delivery of the decision of the British people was at the heart of the manifesto I stood on.

The UK, Cornwall and our constituency in particular, with the St Austell and Newquay Parliamentary constituency returning the strongest Leave vote in Cornwall, voted to leave the EU in 2016.

I am sorry to say that the Prime Minister’s deal does not deliver on our promise of the Referendum, which was to leave the EU and regain our sovereignty as an independent nation state.

My fundamental objection to the proposed deal is that it puts us in a worse position than we are currently. It neither delivers the commitments made by the Prime Minister to the British people, commitments made time and time again in speeches and at the dispatch box. Nor does it allow us to take advantage of the opportunities Brexit will present as an outward looking global nation.

For the first time in our history we will be in a position where we will be locked into a union that we will not be free to leave without the agreement of the other party. This most clearly is not taking back control and is unacceptable to me.

More so, it keeps us in a Customs Union, expressly against the Conservative 2017 Manifesto and commitments made numerous times by the Prime Minister. Whilst the deal presents this as a transitional arrangement, the fact is that we would not be able to leave without the agreement of the EU.

Further I believe the fishing community has been let down by this deal and left in a position where the future control of our waters and therefore the future of this industry is very much in question. This is not what we were promised when the Prime Minister visited Mevagissey in 2017.

Within hours of the agreement being accepted by the 27 EU states, the French President was on the airways making clear that he would not agree to us leaving the Customs Union unless we allowed French boats access to our fishing waters.

There is a very real danger of us being locked into the backstop and the EU having us right where they want us until we agree to their demands.

I have always said I am a Cornishman first and a Conservative second. This deal, as I see it, is not in the best interests of Cornwall or our country.

As such, when this deal is put before Parliament, as it currently stands, I will vote against it.

A Norway-style deal would also problematic because being a EEA member would bind us to accepting the four freedoms of the EU - the free movement of goods, services, capital and labour. In my mind a Norway-style Brexit would be a dishonest one because the British public voted the leave the EU, including its four fundamental pillars. It would also mean that we would be subjected to much of the EU’s laws and regulations with much, if any, say in the decision-making process. Norway does not itself formally participate in the EU’s decision-making but the Norwegian government has incorporated around 75% of EU law into its national legislation.

Like you, I am a democrat and I believe that in order to safeguard our democracy and restore trust in our politics we need to implement the will of the nation and deliver the Brexit as expressed in the results of the referendum, and pursue a true and honest break from the EU’s shackles. 

Thank you again for taking the time to write to me.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Newspaper column 28 November 2018 - More good news for Cornwall Airport Newquay


The past week has seen some really good progress for Cornwall Airport Newquay with some exciting news for next year and some big steps forward with other long term goals for this vital piece of transport infrastructure in Mid-Cornwall.

It is difficult to overstate the importance of the airport and the links it provides for business and tourist to the Cornish economy.

On 16 November I welcomed Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg to the airport to discuss a number of matters relating to the future growth and expansion of the airport.

With the airport celebrating its busiest year so far, with 460,000 passengers using it, I was also pleased to get that the minister restated the Government’s support for the Newquay-London route via the recently announced continuation of the Public Service Obligation.

At the same time I took the opportunity to continue to lobby for the Heathrow route that people have been asking for, for years.

While the route to Gatwick has been a massive part of the business for our airport, with 40% of passengers currently using the London route, a regular link to Heathrow would provide even bigger and better opportunities through a direct link to world markets. Heathrow offers great connectivity to around 85 different countries including some of the faster global economies.

In Parliament earlier this week I continued to lobby the Secretary of State for Transport to win his support when he attended another event I hosted to promote the bid for Spaceport Cornwall.

I was delighted then, when on Thursday the Secretary of State announced the Governments support for a Heathrow connection.

The route will be run by Flybe, with the support of the Government and Cornwall Council via the Public Service Obligation and will replace the Newquay to Gatwick link. Flights will start in April 2019, increasing from three to four a day, seven days a week.

The service to Heathrow, which is the world's second busiest airport for international travel, will help businesses in Cornwall to compete nationally and internationally, attracting inward investment and boosting tourism.

It will also provide much-improved access to Central London via the sixteen minute Heathrow Express service to Paddington, Piccadilly Line and eventually the new Crossrail service.

This route will also open up possibilities for the export of Cornish goods through Heathrow which is the UK’s biggest port by value of the goods handled.

This is something I have worked hard with Ministerial colleagues to bring to reality and I would also like to thank the Transport team at Cornwall Council and management of Newquay airport for their work in securing this.

I believe this new route will not only help the airport to continue to grow but will also have a very positive impact on our local economy. It can also only help our bid for the Spaceport which I continue to work for.

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. The office is open to the public Monday – Friday 10.00am – 4.00pm (no appointment necessary). If there is an issue you would like my assistance on then please, either visit the office or contact me on either 01726 829379 or office@stevedouble.org.uk. Additionally, I hold regular, appointment only, advice surgeries across the constituency. Dates of these can be found at: www.stevedouble.org.uk/events

Campaign reply - Palestine Solidarity Campaign Lobbying Day


I have recently received a number of emails from constituents regarding the  in Parliament today.

In their emails they touched on a number of complex issues and there are several points I wish to raise in response.

The situation in Gaza is far from simple and the conditions are not simply the result of a siege but of the more than a decade long rule of Hamas.

Under their rule the humanitarian situation has dramatically worsened as funds have been consistently diverted to fund Hamas’s ever grander military ambitions. 

I am sure you will share my concern about Hamas’s ongoing presence in Gaza, and particularly its orchestration of the recent ‘March of Return’ campaign which has endangered the lives of both innocent Palestinians and Israelis alike.

Israel and Egypt maintain a blockade of the Gaza Strip due to the presence of Hamas, an internationally recognised terror group. For its part, Israel’s blockade has been in place since 2007 when Hamas violently ousted any Fatah presence in the territory and began firing thousands of rockets into Israel. Hamas has continued this violence, most recently seen in its launching of over 460 rockets indiscriminately into Israel.

Despite this threat, Israel continues to facilitate the delivery of legitimate humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza with thousands of tonnes of food, fuel, and medical supplies delivered every day.  The blockade has been eased in recent years with Israel permitting the delivery of construction materials with UN oversight, but I am in full agreement that more needs to be done to alleviate the suffering of ordinary Gazans.

With regards to the case of Ahed Tamimi, I welcome her release by the Israeli authorities in June this year, but have seen no evidence that she was mistreated by Israeli authorities.

According to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the interrogation of minors is always carried out in Arabic. All minors brought before the court – during the investigation or thereafter – are represented by lawyers of their choice or lawyers provided for them by the Palestinian Authority. I have also been assured that isolation or solitary confinement is not used as an interrogation technique, and only in exceptional cases may a minor be held alone as a disciplinary measure following a disciplinary procedure.

On the subject of child detention and use of military courts, it is my understanding that if Israel were to use civil courts instead of military courts to try Palestinian youth, it would be accused of annexing the West Bank. Israel says that its justice system in the West Bank operates in accordance with the Geneva Conventions (as per Article 66 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states that an Occupying Power can use military courts).

It is tragic that so many Palestinian youths have felt the need to turn to violence. What is clear, above all, is that the need for a renewed peace process is more urgent than ever. Our Government remains committed to a two-state solution through direct negotiations, and all parties involved as well as the international community must step up efforts without delay.  

I trust this adequately answers some of the issues raised and I always happy to meet with my constituents to discuss any matter of concern to them. I will be sure to continue monitoring developments in Israel.


Campaign reply - Race Horse welfare


A number of constituents have written to me regarding Race horse welfare:

 As many of you will know there was a debate in Parliament on 15 October following a  successful application to the Petition Committee. The petition, had over 105,000 signatures. The Government statement on this said it “does not consider that it is necessary to create a new body to protect racehorse welfare,” and outlines that “the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) is responsible for the safety of jockeys and horses at races in this country.” The debate gave opportunity to challenge and question a Minister.

As a family we have been horse owners and lovers and so the debate was of interest however  I was unable to attend due to other pressing Parliamentary business. The Minister did take note of many of the points raised. It is also worth noting that the debate itself is an invaluable tool in raising awareness amongst MPs and the public around these issues. That has the effect of  influencing decision-making in Government and Parliament.

I firmly believe these debates makes all interested parties take note and the BHA will no doubt review all its' procedures if only to ward off possible punitive legislation. My own view is that I am generally against banning things and over legislating. However this is a matter I can raise with Ministers when I see them.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Campaign response - Will you support a Secondary Support Package for incurable breast cancer?


I have recently been contacted by constituents regarding secondary breast cancer care and treatment.
I am more than happy to support this cause
Having lost my own Mum to secondary breast cancer 11 years ago I have been pleased to have met with Support Breast Cancer Now in Parliament recently to learn more about the incredible work they are doing to help achieve their vision that by 2050 every woman with breast cancer will live.

Campaign response - Let’s tell consumers what they’re buying


A number of constituents have written to me over the issue of food labelling.

The early day motion mentioned is not something I will sign – not because I particularly disagree with it but because they rarely achieve anything whilst at the same cost the tax payer significant sums of money.

It is important that any food on sale is clearly labelled. The consumer can then choose. I have raised the matter with Ministers and I hope we will see action on this in due course.


Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Newspaper column 21 November 2018 - The EU Draft Withdrawal Agreement

Dominating the national news over the past week has been the draft Withdrawal Agreement between the Prime Minister and the EU for our leaving the European Union next March.

I have read and considered the 585 page Brexit deal proposed by the Prime Minister and on Friday came to the conclusion, as have many MPs across the political spectrum that this is not something I can support.

Deciding to oppose a key policy of your party leadership and government is not something I do lightly. However, there are times when as an MP who have to make a stand for what you believe. Since making my statement public on Friday I have been overwhelmed by the number of emails and comments on social media supporting my view. It is clear that a majority of local people, certainly those who have been in touch with me, agree with me.

Of course, I respect those who hold a different view. It is an unfortunate fact that this issue continues to deeply divide our country with strong and sincerely held views on all sides.

I have been honoured to twice be elected to represent the people of St Austell and Newquay. On both occasions, firstly when I asked you to put your trust in me to become your MP in 2015, and then when I stood for re-election last year, the promise of a delivery of a Referendum on our Membership of the EU and then the delivery of the decision of the British people was at the heart of the manifesto I stood on.

The UK, Cornwall and our constituency in particular, with the St Austell and Newquay Parliamentary constituency returning the strongest Leave vote in Cornwall, voted to leave the EU in 2016.
I am sorry to say that the Prime Minister’s deal does not deliver on our promise of the Referendum, which was to leave the EU and regain our sovereignty as an independent nation state.

My fundamental objection to the proposed deal is that it puts us in a worse position than we are currently. It neither delivers the commitments made by the Prime Minister to the British people, commitments made time and time again in speeches and at the dispatch box. Nor does it allow us to take advantage of the opportunities Brexit will present as an outward looking global nation.

For the first time in our history we will be in a position where we will be locked into a union that we will not be free to leave without the agreement of the other party. This most clearly is not taking back control and is unacceptable to me.

More so, it keeps us in a Customs Union, expressly against the Conservative 2017 Manifesto and commitments made numerous times by the Prime Minister. Whilst the deal presents this as a transitional arrangement, the fact is that we would not be able to level without the agreement of the EU. 

Further I believe the fishing community has been let down by this deal and left in a position where the future control of our waters and therefore the future of this industry is very much in question. This is not what we were promised when the Prime Minister visited Mevagissey in 2017.

I have always said I am a Cornishman first and a Conservative second. This deal, as I see it, is not in the best interests of Cornwall or our country.

My hope is that the Government will understand that this proposed deal is not acceptable to a majority of MPs, nor I believe the British people and go back to the EU to renegotiate a better deal that does deliver a true Brexit. Sadly, there is currently no sign that they are prepared to do this.

As such, if and when this deal, as it currently stands, is put before Parliament, I will vote against it. 

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. The office is open to the public Monday – Friday 10.00am – 4.00pm (no appointment necessary). If there is an issue you would like my assistance on then please, either visit the office or contact me on either 01726 829379 or office@stevedouble.org.uk. Additionally, I hold regular, appointment only, advice surgeries across the constituency. Dates of these can be found at: www.stevedouble.org.uk/events



Campaign reply - British people voted to leave “WITHOUT a deal."


A number of constituents have written with an email entitled “British people voted to leave “WITHOUT a deal.”

I have delayed coming to a decision with regards to the Brexit deal until I had time to read it. I wanted to make up my own mind and not just form on an opinion based on the spin being put out by others. Additionally I wanted to take soundings from local people to ensure I was also reflecting their views.

The full draft agreement was only released to MPs late on Wednesday evening. It is a 585 page document that would take some time to even scan through let alone read fully. I was therefore somewhat surprised at those who were express strong views, on both sides of the debate, within minutes of its publication.

I had a full diary on Thursday and was only able to give time to consider the agreement properly on the train journey home on Thursday evening. Even then I must admit I was not able to read every word. But having scanned the document and read what I consider the key parts I did form a view that this was not something I could support.

Having also now had time to consider all of the feedback from local people, online, from the hundreds of emails I have received and also talking to my key staff and local party members it is clear that the vast majority of people agree with my view.

I issued a statement on Friday and posted it here –


confirming I will not be voting for this deal. My reasoning is as follows:

It does not fully  deliver on the promises made in our manifesto. That is reason enough. Further,  it locks us into a customs union we cannot leave without EU permission – I can never support that as it makes us a hostage to fortune and judging by the way the EU has behaved thus far it makes the notion untenable.

It risks the integrity of the United Kingdom – both politically and geographically.

We risk becoming a satellite state of the EU where we become rule takers yet have no influence over rule making.

It makes the proposals as they stand something I cannot vote for.

I trust you will understand and respect that I have taken an appropriate amount of time to consider what is after all a very important decision before coming to a firm view.


Monday, 19 November 2018

Campaign response - Invitation to launch of the 2019 World Watch List report

Thank you to my constituents who wrote to me recently with an invitation the launch of the 2019 World Watch List report by Open Doors.

I am glad to inform my constituents that I will be attending the launch event in Parliament in January.

I am also honoured to be hosting the Open Doors Afternoon Tea Reception for international church leaders to meet MPs and Peers before the launch event.

The worldwide persecution of Christians is an issue I care deeply about and will continue to raise in Parliament.

Last Monday I helped organise a letter of support for Asia Bibi’s asylum in the UK, which was signed by over 20 MPs and Peers. Asia Bibi’s case is yet another example of the systemic persecution of Christians around the world. This letter has now been sent to the Home Secretary for his response.


Friday, 16 November 2018

Campaign response - unfreeze frozen pensions for people living overseas


I have been contacted by constituents asking me to support the campaign to end frozen pensions for people living overseas.

The policy on up-rating state pensions overseas is a long-standing one.

It has been the policy of successive post-war governments of all parties for around 70 years - UK state pensions are payable worldwide and are uprated abroad where there is a legal requirement to do so, for example in the European Economic Area (EEA) and in countries with which we have a reciprocal agreement that provides for up-rating.

The Government has no plans to change this policy and I back the Government on this issue.

Campaign reply - post natal health


Further to my earlier correspondence from a number of constituents, I now received a reply the Minister at the Department of Health about postnatal healthcare for mothers.

I have included the reply below:




I hope you will agree the reply is positive in as much as the concerns that you and others have raised are being fed into the ongoing confidential negotiations on the GMC Contract.

I was also pleased to see reaffirmation from the Minister that postnatal health continues to be a priority for this Government, with specific measures being taken to improve it.

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Campaign reply - Israel under attack


Following reports of missile attack in Israel yesterday, a number of my constituents have contacted me to ask me to speak up for Israel.

More than 460 rockets have been fired into Israel by Hamas militants since Monday night.

I understand that one person was killed and at least 50 others were wounded in a massive Palestinian missile barrage that targeted southern Israel.

In addition, an anti-tank missile hit an Israeli bus near the Gaza border and seriously wounded an IDF soldier.

Since Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2005, Hamas has remained committed to its aim of the total destruction of Israel, as outlined in its founding charter. It has tried to achieve this by air with missiles, underground by building a network of cross-border attack tunnels and attempts at mass cross-border infiltrations.

I have been and will continue to be a vocal champion of Israel’s right to defend itself from unlawful aggression, and will be seeking opportunities to speak up for Israel in Parliament.


Campaign response - On the centenary of World War One, support the global abolition of nuclear weapons


I have recently received a number of emails from my constituents asking if I would sign a pledge to urge the Government to sign and ratify Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).  

We live in uncertain times. Despite the end of the Cold War, the world has watched with bated breath as developments in relations with North Korea and Iran have emerged at a breakneck pace.

Continued diplomatic dialogue is a critical avenue for addressing these issues. But given the current threats to international security, and the reality that this will continue for the foreseeable future, our independent nuclear deterrent remains as vital today as ever.

I was elected by my constituents on a manifesto that prioritises the defence of the realm. In spite of the successes of arms control activities in slowing the proliferation of nuclear weapons, the number of states with nuclear capabilities has continued to grow.

There are risks that, over the next 20 to 50 years, a major direct nuclear threat to the UK or our NATO allies might re-emerge.

When the case for the UK’s independent nuclear deterrent was last presented to Parliament, by the Labour government in 2006-07, it was acknowledged that the old certainties of the Cold War were gone but it was recognised that the UK faced a growing number of diverse and complex threats in an unpredictable world

Similar key judgements were made in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review. Many include Parliamentarians from both sides agree that there is a risk that states with nuclear weapons, or those seeking to acquire them, might use their nuclear capabilities to threaten the UK, and attempt to constrain our decision making in a crisis or sponsor nuclear terrorism.

Under the TPNW, signatory states must agree not to develop, test, manufacture or possess nuclear weapons, or threaten to use them, or allow any nuclear arms to be stationed on their territory.

I do not support the TPNW because I want to see the Government deliver on its promise to maintaining the UK’s independent nuclear deterrent to deter the most extreme threats to our national security, now and in the future.

This does not however, mean that I am in favour of the general use and proliferation of nuclear weapons.

We must ensure that nuclear weapons are only used as the last resort and in the very worst case scenario where the a clear and extreme threat to our national security is present.

The Government remains committed to the Treaty on the Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT):

  • we have reduced our own nuclear forces by over half from their Cold War peak in the late 1970s
  • we are the only nuclear weapon State which has reduced its deterrent capability to a single nuclear weapon system; we have dismantled our tactical nuclear capability and the RAF’s WE177 free fall bombs
  • as a result of our reassessment of the minimum necessary requirements for credible deterrence, since 2010 we have:
    • reduced the number of warheads on each submarine from 48 to 40
    • reduced our requirement for operationally available warheads from fewer than 160 to no more than 120
    • reduced the number of operational missiles on each submarine to not more than 8
    • we remain committed to reducing the overall nuclear weapon stockpile to no more than 180 warheads by the mid-2020s.
  • of the recognised ‘Nuclear Weapons States’ (NWS), we possess only approximately 1% of the total global stockpile of nuclear weapons, the smallest of all the NPTnuclear weapon states


Campaign response - Leave means Leave


Some have written to me in conjunction with the group, Leave means Leave.

The detailed points raised in the emails has many valid arguments and themes; many I agree with. Looking at this from a democratic point of view there is overwhelming evidence to support the necessity to honour the result of the referendum, such as:

  • All sides of the argument stated during the referendum campaign that the vote would be binding and was a once in a lifetime decision to remain or leave.
  • I stood at the last election on a leave platform, promising to do what I could to make sure the referendum result is honoured – and received an increased majority.
  • 84% of the votes cast at the last election were for parties who made clear in their manifesto that they would honour the result of the referendum.


It remains my focus and full intention to make sure we leave the EU. Once I have seen the detail of the current proposals, decisions can be made. I will aim to see that we are in a position that honours the spirit of the referendum campaign and of course once we leave we will be free to continue to establish new relationships with not only countries across the world but with the EU too. As ever I am happy to trade and cooperate with the EU but want no part in a United States of Europe.

The prize of Brexit hard fought by some for over 40 years is within sight. I will do my part to help see it to a successful conclusion.



Campaign reply - Asia Bibi



Some of my constituents concerned about the case of Asia Bibi – a Pakistani Christian persecuted for her faith – have recently emailed me to ask for my support in her asylum case.

Earlier this week I helped organise a letter of support for Asia Bibi’s asylum in the UK, which was signed by over 20 MPs and Peers. This letter has now been sent to the Home Secretary for his response.

Asia Bibi’s case is yet another example of the systemic persecution of Christians around the world.

According to Open Doors, an average of 180 Christians around the world are killed each month for their faith.

Britain's commitment to freedom of religious expression is one of our most important values. This is especially valued by minority faiths in our society. Its foundation is respect for the beliefs of others, of all faiths and none.

This country has a long tradition of offering protection to those fleeing persecution.

I want to see the Government make a clear and proactive statement that Britain would welcome a request from Asia Bibi and her family for sanctuary here.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Newspaper column 14 November 2018 - Universal Credit changes


Last week Parliament only sat for a few days so I was able to spend a good deal of time in Mid-Cornwall, out and about meeting residents and businesses.

Among other things it was great to go along to see the team at King’s Service Centre at Quintrell Downs. I first visited the centre in 2015 just after they opened, it was therefore very encouraging to see how they have grown and the new jobs that have been created.

This is the type of business we need to see more of in Cornwall, utilising our excellent superfast fibre connectivity and providing great career opportunities in IT and Communications.

I also visited CHAT near St Columb Major, which does an excellent job with Animal Assisted Therapies working with vulnerable children and adults to improve their lives.

The weekend saw communities come together to remember those who gave their lives to defend our freedom, with the centenary of the end of the Great War. It was a privilege to join people across our constituency in Fowey, Newquay, St Austell and St Columb Major as we honoured the fallen and all those who serve in our armed forces in past and present conflicts.

A huge well done and thank you must go to all those who helped organise and attended all the events, especially the Royal British Legion and Town and Parish Councils.

Last week in Parliament, I was pleased to see the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions announce a range of additional support for claimants as they move onto Universal Credit – a simpler benefit system, providing tailored support to individuals.

The idea behind Universal Credit is sound and anything that stops people needing to fill out a number of different forms to claim separate benefits and simplifies it to just one benefit claim is a good thing.

I have spoken out in Parliament previously about the need to support working families claiming Universal Credit and was pleased to see in the recent Budget, the Chancellor announce the Government is putting an extra £1.7bn a year into work allowances - the amount someone can earn before their benefit payment begins to reduce. This is again a big change from historic benefits where there was a ‘cliff-edge’ effect where it was often sadly more affordable to stay off work than find a job. These reforms will make work pay, and mean that people should not feel penalised for getting their foot on the jobs ladder.

The Secretary of State also announced that to assist those claimants who move onto Universal Credit the DWP install a two-week ‘run on’ for those receiving out-of-work benefits. This means that when people move onto Universal Credit, they will have reduced waiting times and be eased into the new four-weekly payment system.

This is all good news and I will continue to do all I can to make Universal Credit and the overall benefits system one that works for the residents of Mid-Cornwall.

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. The office is open to the public Monday – Friday 10.00am – 4.00pm (no appointment necessary). If there is an issue you would like my assistance on then please, either visit the office or contact me on either 01726 829379 or office@stevedouble.org.uk. Additionally, I hold regular, appointment only, advice surgeries across the constituency. Dates of these can be found at: www.stevedouble.org.uk/events


Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Campaign response - 83% want public ownership of water - do you?


Some have written on the subject of Water companies:

From time to time I receive requests to sign early day motions. As a point of principle I have chosen not to sign EDMs. My view is that they achieve very little. There are many far more effective means open to MPs to raise issues with Government Ministers either in meetings or in the chamber.  

In England and Wales, the provision of water and wastewater was taken into the private sector. Historically, water authorities were hampered by limits on public sector borrowing – needed then to contain inflation. There were too often occasions when funding for state owned industries would  be announced only for it to withdrawn a few months later causing chaos and regrettable but understandable lethargy within the sector. The cost of implementing water quality and environmental directives set by the European Union put ever more pressure on the industry and whilst we can all applaud the goal, getting there with totally inadequate funding was impossible. Private companies could and have raised the billions required and we have all seen the incredible improvements made -  albeit there is much more to do. I regularly meet with representatives from the water industry to make the case for specific schemes and progress on local matters.

Polls as ever are an interesting feature of many an argument. For me there is only one type of poll that really counts. Come the election we will all be able to test the incredulous notion that a return to inefficient, under funded state owned monoliths is a good idea.


Monday, 12 November 2018

Campaign response - Ask Penny Mordaunt to invest in children's futures

I recently received a number of emails from constituents who are concerned about the future of our international aid budget and asking me to ensure that it is helping to deliver better healthcare outcomes for children overseas.

I am proud of our commitment to spend 0.7% of our budget in international aid, which is helping to build a safer, healthier, more prosperous world for people in developing countries and in the UK.

British aid goes towards vaccinating children from preventable diseases, enabling them to go to school and helping people work their way out of poverty, as well as providing food, nutrition and medical care.

Our commitment to the international community is enshrined in the International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Act which was passed by Parliament in 2015.

Last year, the government hit its 0.7% spending target, contributing a total of £13.9bn to the international aid budget. The UK is world leader in delivering international aid, as the only G7 country to meet the UN recommended 0.7% target.

I would like to see the Government maintain its commitment on international aid and will be speaking up for its ability to transform lives and tackle the root causes of global issues.

With specific regard to the upcoming replenishment of the Global Financing Facility for Every Woman and Child (GFF), the UK Government has already contributed £30 million towards the development of GFF across the world. MPs were recently informed by DFID Ministers that "decisions about any potential future support from the UK will be taken in due course". It is important for UK Aid to help deliver access to healthcare for children in need and I will be closely monitoring future developments regarding DFID's support for GFF