Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Newspaper column 25 April 2018 - Potholes

Last week I was able to speak in Parliament every day that I was in Westminster, speaking in the debate on UK action in Syria on Monday, the anti-semitism debate on Tuesday and questioning the Prime Minister at PMQs on Wednesday.

Then it was back to Cornwall for an interesting visit with the Transport Select Committee to the Falmouth Coastguard Station, which oversees the vital work carried out by the coastguard across Cornwall. It was good to gain a better understand of the work the coastguards do and how the recent modernisation of their service has improved the cover they are able to provide for our maritime vessels.

After a busy Friday meeting with Cornwall Council and NHS leaders, and participating in the Cornwall Leadership Board meeting, at County Hall I was able to spend Saturday, with its glorious weather, getting out and about meeting with residents and delivering my Annual Update report for 2018.

It was good to talk to so many people and hear about the issues, local and national that matter to you. One thing that came up again and again, and was particularly noticeable while walking around residential roads, was the problems people have had with potholes, both the number of them and also how they can go about reporting them.

Potholes are always an issue as they can damage our vehicles and disrupt traffic. Filling and repairing them should be a top priority of Cornwall Council. With the current state of our roads following the recent harsh winter, potholes are certainly a problem at the moment.

The good news is that the Government provides ring-fenced money that it gives to Cornwall Council specifically to deal with potholes.

This money, part of a £100m national Pothole Fund to deal with potholes, is given out every year, and every year that I have been MP, the amount Cornwall gets has increased. For example, for this year, we got, £2,572,746 of funding, which will help repair around 50,000 potholes in Cornwall.

Cornwall Council has a tool on their website that allows you to report potholes and other highway defects and receive progress updates on how they are correcting them.

I have included a link to this tool below:

You can also call them on 0300 1234222 to report them over the telephone.

If you experience difficulties in getting a response or final outcome from Cornwall Council on highway issues, then do get in touch with me and I will then be able to make representations on your behalf.

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 Additionally, I hold regular, appointment only, advice surgeries across the constituency. Dates of these can be found at:

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Newspaper column 18 April 2018 - The strike on Syria

Last week I was shocked to see, as I am sure were you, photographs of dead children who had been gassed in a chemical weapons attack by the forces of Syrian President Assad, in an attack on his own people in Douma.

Subsequently on Friday evening, a combined UK, French and US missile strike took out Assad’s three chemical weapons facilities. No casualties have been reported as a result of these strikes.
Not everyone has agreed with the Prime Minister’s decision to join the strike. I do support this action for a number of reasons.

Firstly this strike was solely about degrading Assad’s ability to manufacture and use chemical weapons. There is no follow-up on the ground and no sustained campaign of more general air strikes, and no broader objectives such as getting involved in the Syrian Civil War or trying to force a regime change. As such I believe the action taken was entirely proportionate and designed to solve a particular issue, which has now been dealt with.

Secondly there are international treaties prohibiting the use of chemical weapons. Assad has a track record of using these weapons on his own people. It is morally wrong to allow him to operate like this with impunity. As an international power, it is our responsibility to show people who would take these actions that they are not tolerated, and that their use will be met with strong and swift retaliation.

People have raised that they are not satisfied that Assad is behind these attacks. France, whose President Macron has been particularly robust in pushing for a strike, said:

“On the intelligence collected by our services, and in the absence to date of chemical samples analyzed by our own laboratories, France considers, beyond possible doubt, a chemical attack was carried out against civilians at Douma ... and that there is no plausible scenario other than that of an attack by Syrian armed forces,”.

In committing our own military the Prime Minister will have had access to our own highly classified data and I trust that she would have been absolutely certain of the validity of this data and of Assad’s culpability for the attack before making the decision to proceed with the strike. We elect our Prime Minister to make executive decisions on our behalf, tough decisions, and this is one of them.
Finally, there are those people who say this chemical weapons attack requires a diplomatic solution, particularly one backed by the UN. Assad’s past history, going back over seven years, of using chemical weapons, despite all sorts of diplomatic solutions being used to try to stop him, show that this does not work. Moreover Russia has used in the past and will continue to use, its veto on the UN Security Council to block any UN backed actions.
For these reasons I believe that the strike action that we took with our allies last Friday was the right thing to do. These decisions are never easy, but as a country we need to stand up to bullies like Assad wherever we can and ensure that they cannot use these horrific weapons again.

Monday, 16 April 2018

The Uncertainty Hanging Over Windrush Families Is Unacceptable

Here is my article, originally written for the HuffPost with colleagues from the Lib Dems and Labour on why the uncertainty hanging over Windrush families is unacceptable:
My recent question on this in Parliament and a link to the debate in Hansard can be found below:
Steve Double (St Austell and Newquay) (Con)
I thank the Home Secretary for her clear message today that the Windrush generation not only have the legal right to stay, but are welcome here and we want them to stay, if that is their desire. Will she reassure us that her Department will provide every sensitive assistance possible to help the affected people produce the documentation that is required?
Amber Rudd
I thank my hon. Friend for giving me the opportunity to reinforce that point. We value immigrants in this country, and we value the contribution that the Windrush community has made. I will ensure, going forward, that that value is conveyed to them.

There are few moments more iconic in modern British history than the arrival of HMS Windrush.
When the Windrush docked in Essex in June 1948, it brought nearly five hundred Caribbean migrants to live, work and settle in Britain. By the 1960s that number had swelled to hundreds of thousands of people, who had answered a call to fill jobs here, and had travelled from Britain’s old West Indian colonies to make their lives in the mother country.
Life for these families was often tough, yet for the most part Brits from all backgrounds found a way to make it work. This was the generation who helped build the NHS. They contributed so much to making the country affluent again after the chaos of war. They made the country a far richer place in every sense.
We are rightly proud of this history. And until a few months ago, there was no reason to imagine there were any questions over the right of these families to be here, and their place as our friends and neighbours.
Then the first stories started to appear in the press, about how some children of the Windrush generation were being barred from hospital treatment because they were not considered to British, or even being detained by immigration officials and told they had to leave the country. What was going on?
On the eve of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London, the government started to try and get to grips with the problem.
“I know that there is a growing sense of anxiety among some people in the Windrush generation, who came here from Commonwealth countries in the Caribbean, about their immigration status here in the UK,” wrote the immigration minister Caroline Nokes, adding: “I want to give them some reassurance, because we have absolutely no intention of asking anyone to leave who has the right to remain here.”
Nokes has apologised and promised new Home Office systems to advise anyone worried that they might be caught up in the issue. This was followed by the home secretary, Amber Rudd, who confirmed that Windrush families had every right to live in the UK and promised MPs that there will be no fee for this application.
This is all very welcome, but more can be done. The question over which Windrush children have already been detained or deported, and how to make sure they get fairness and justice, is especially pressing.
As MPs from across the House of Commons, we don’t believe it is acceptable to leave such uncertainty hanging over families who have contributed so much. We congratulate the steps taken by ministers so far to right this wrong, and urge them to keep working on this issue even after the headlines have faded away.
Steve Double is the Conservative MP for St Austell and Newquay
Kate Green is the Labour MP for Stretford and Urmston and Chair of the APPG Migration
Tim Farron is the Lib Dem MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Newspaper column 11 April 2018 - Funding for Cornwall

Despite what some people may try to tell you, Cornwall is currently in the middle of the biggest ever investment in our transport infrastructure. I thought it would be worthwhile to lay out some of what is going on.

Firstly, on our roads. After more than 20 years of waiting we are all now enjoying the benefits of the dualling of the A30 at Temple. As someone who uses this stretch of road at least twice every week now I appreciate what a difference it makes.

Now focus is on the next stretch of our main trunk road as plans are now being developed to dual the Carnon to Chiverton Cross section.

These improvements will amount to almost £300 million and this is on top the £79 million the Government has confirmed for a new link road from St Austell to the A30.

We are also all aware how import the railway is for connecting Cornwall to the rest of the country. In just a few weeks time we will see the new trains rolling on our local tracks. This represents an investment of almost £500 million into the Great Western network. These new trains will provide 25% more seats and will also reduce the journey time from Penzance to Paddington by up to 14 minutes.

Additionally, Network Rail are currently spending millions updating the signalling on the rail line through Cornwall which will enable more frequent trains to run.

Although not in the Duchy we are all aware of how important it is that the track through Devon remains open. The government has invested tens of millions of pounds in improving the resilience of the track both at Cowley Bridge near Exeter which has been prone to flooding and on the coast at Dawlish. Further work is planned to strengthen this stretch and ensure it is fit for the future.
On top of these multi million investments we have also seen:

New buses being rolled out across Cornwall – to be seen in mid-Cornwall any day now.

£100m Cornwall Business Investment Fund through the British Business Bank.

£2.3m of Government funding from the Housing Infrastructure Fund for the West Carclaze Garden Village.

Funding for the long-needed mental health in-patient unit for children and young people in Cornwall, due to open in April 2019.

Millions every year from the Pothole Fund, including £2,572,746 this year.

Ongoing support from the government for vital airlink from Newquay to London.

It is true to say that Cornwall has in the past been overlooked by successive governments but I genuinely do not believe this is the case now. This Government has shown it is committed to invest in our Cornish infrastructure.

Of course there is much more to do in order to make up for lost time and to keep pace with our future needs. I, along with my Cornish MP colleagues will continue to do all we can to make sure we get the support we need from the government and investment from the private sector.

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 Additionally, I hold regular, appointment only, advice surgeries across the constituency. Dates of these can be found at:

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Newspaper column 4 April 2018 - Radiotherapy services in Cornwall update

After writing in my column last week about all of the great news happening nationally for our NHS, its staff and patients, this week I am really pleased to have even more good news to report back on – this time surrounding Cornwall’s NHS and its radiotherapy services.

On Tuesday last week myself and the Cornish MPs met with NHS England during which it was confirmed radiotherapy services would not be moving from Cornwall.
Going back to the beginning of the year, you may remember NHS England’s consultation that many feared could have seen some radiotherapy services be moved from Cornwall.

There was great concern that the proposals could have resulted in services moved to Plymouth or even Exeter, and would have seen vulnerable and ill people in need of regular intensive treatment have to endure round trips lasting many hours for their radiotherapy, on a daily basis for several weeks. To me this was simply unacceptable and could have meant the difference between life and death for patients who would have had no choice but to take these long and uncomfortable journeys when at their most vulnerable.

Because of these issues, plus more, there was an unprecedented outcry across Cornwall. People responded by the thousand, as did all of the Cornish MPs, many Cornwall Councillors and the Cornish NHS services. All pointed out that the loss of any radiotherapy services would have been counterproductive and negative for Cornwall and the people who live here.

NHS England received so many responses, more than any consultation they have ever put out, and because of this, extended the time they had to analyse the results. In our meeting last week they told us that of the nearly 12,000 responses they had received nationally, 10,500 came from Devon and Cornwall, with the vast majority of these coming from Cornwall.

At last week’s meeting, NHS England assured us that there would be no lost of radiotherapy services from the Sunrise Centre in Truro. I was especially pleased to hear their recognition of the unique geographical challenges Cornwall has for patients and the immense hardship increasing travel time for these people would bring if the treatment centre was to be relocated out of the county and that these factors would be considered when deciding where to locate any new services.

This was a very positive meeting and I hope has provided the reassurance we all wanted for the future of our radiotherapy services. Our response to this consultation was an excellent example of Cornwall’s people coming together ‘one and all’ to fight for our services and I am pleased to have played my part in securing this outcome.

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: