Monday, 30 July 2018

Newspaper column 1 August 2018 - Volunteer summit in St Austell

After Parliament broke up for Recess last week it is good to know I will be able to spend the next 6 weeks at home in Cornwall and not have to travel to London. I will be aiming to spend the next few weeks getting out and about around Mid-Cornwall visiting local people, businesses and organisations. It is always good to be able to spend summer recess at home and take the opportunity to meet as many local people as possible and enjoy Cornwall at this time of year.

Recess has got off to a busy start - I have already welcomed the Tourism Minister to Cornwall Airport Newquay, as well as visiting the Benefit Centre at St Austell to discuss how the rollout of the new Universal Credit Benefit is going. On Saturday I met with a group of ladies running the "15 from 1 project" in St Dennis where they volunteer by recycling old duvet covers into reusable shopping bags – a great local initiative.

Speaking of volunteers, on Friday, it was my pleasure, along with the other Cornish MPs, to host a summit for volunteer organisations in Cornwall, at St Austell Business Park.

This was an opportunity for many of our tremendously diverse volunteer organisations, to come together, along with the Cornish MPs and an officer from the Civil Society department, to celebrate success, share best practice and find out what more we can do to support these organisations and the vital work they do.

Cornwall has an amazing 4500 charities and community groups, bringing in a combined income of around £480,000 into the economy.

It’s thought that one in three adults living in Cornwall do some voluntary work alongside their work, family or other commitments. This has been valued at £450 million-worth of people power. The sector also employs 21,000 people in part time or full time jobs.

Despite being one of the lowest paid places in the UK, Cornwall is very rich in generosity, with people from Cornwall giving millions of pounds in donations to the charities every year.

It was good to see voluntary organisations from Surfers Against Sewage and Volunteer Cornwall, to the Merlin Centre and the Citizen’s Advice Bureau represented at this event.

We took away lots of positive ways in which we can work together with these great organisations to make Cornwall a better place, and look forward to helping them get more funding, and assist more people in volunteering for these causes in the future.

It was a busy first few days of Recess and I look forward to continuing to get out there around Mid-Cornwall for the rest of August and see as many of you as possible.

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:

Policy reply - cutting duty on beer

Thank you for your email asking me to support pubs and help cut beer duty.

As a proud Cornishman, I have always had a great appreciation of our pubs, of which there are many great examples in Cornwall, and the great positive impact they can have on our communities. Since getting elected in 2015, I am proud to have become involved the All Party Parliamentary Group for Beer, of which I am currently a Vice Chair.

The last Labour Government did not do the pub and beer industry any favours. From 2008 they put the infamous Beer Duty Escalator in place, which automatically increased Beer Duty by 2% above inflation annually, including an initial 6% hike and an additional 6% increase above inflation in the 2008 Pre-Budget Statement. Under the Beer-Duty Escalator, Beer Duty increased by a total of 42%, 75,000 jobs were lost and 3,700 pubs closed.

I believe it is important that we continue to support the beer and pub industry because of the very positive impacts they have on our communities.

For example, I have also been pleased to see The Pub is the Hub initiative, championed by the Duke of Cornwall, having tremendous success around the country in encouraging landlords to take all sorts of community facilities that would otherwise have been lost into their establishments, even allowing the community themselves to own their pubs. Pubs can also be community hubs that promote community cohesion and initiatives like this help them to realise their potential.

The presence of pubs in our communities, from the village pub to the high street chains in our cities, can also discourage anti-social street drinking, impacting positively on crime figures, and promote responsible drinking.

Apart from these sometimes over-looked areas, the positive importance of the brewing and pub industry to the country’s economy cannot be under-estimated. Across the country the sector supports almost 900,000 jobs and adds £23bn in value to the UK economy.

In Mid-Cornwall, St Austell Brewery is an important and growing employer, exporting its own brand of Cornish beers across the country and around the world. In St Austell and Newquay alone the beer and pub sector supports 3091 jobs and provides £86m in value to the local economy.

With all of these major positives, I think there is more that the Government can do to help our hard working publicans and brewers.

This is why I will be calling on the Chancellor to do a ‘Proper Job’ in the spirit of one of St Austell Brewery’s most beloved exports, and reduce Beer Duty in the Budget.

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Newspaper column 25 July 2018 - Parking Bill

This week sees Parliament rising for Summer Recess. I will be at home for the rest of July and August in Mid-Cornwall and seeking to get out and about meeting local people and attending as many events as possible.

If you would like me to visit your business or group during recess then please get in touch via the details below and I will be happy to consider a convenient time.

Although Parliament has now risen, in its last week I was still able to cram in a lot of work on behalf of Mid-Cornwall, including speaking on the Spaceport announcement, presenting a petition on behalf of local parents who home educate their children, and also welcoming Energy Minister Claire Perry to Foxhole to discuss the success of the Winter Wellness programme.

I have also been appointed to the Parliamentary Committee for the Parking Code of Practice Bill. This means I will be one of a committee of MPs who will be seeing this new legislation through Parliament.

This Bill seeks to bring greater regulation to private parking firms, something which has long been of interest to me due to the number of people, both locals and tourists, who regularly contact me after being caught with a fine.

I have raised this in Parliament in the past, including speaking in a debate on it last year, in which I named and shamed two particular offenders, and argued the way in which some parking firms operate in issuing penalties for spurious reasons is unfair to motorists and damaging the reputation of Cornwall.

At the time I argued that when we have unfair practices, when we have firms operating in ways that are damaging other businesses and upsetting tourists and locals, it is right that the government look at this carefully and if necessary bring in legislation that will protect motorists and help sustain local businesses.

I do not want the defining memory of so many visitors to places like Newquay being their shoddy treatment at the hands of these rogue operators. The legislation proposed will bring in a strict code of conduct that will regulate the way that private parking firms can operate. It will include measures such as insisting of clear signage and allowing periods of grace to enable motorists to find a parking spot and buy a ticket. Once passed this new legislation will address many of the key issues that are concerns under the current set up.

I was pleased to highlight some of the issues effecting people here in mid-Cornwall in the committee and the impact it is having our on the tourism industry. I look forward to seeing this legislation being passed into law and am pleased to be able to represent the concerns locally in shaping this Bill.

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 July 2018

Wild animals in circuses campaign

Thank you for contacting me about wild animals in circuses.

I know that the Government remains fully committed to introducing a ban on wild animals in circuses and supported the Private Member's Bill, the Wild Animals in Circuses Bill, in the last Parliament.

I had hoped that this Bill could have made progress before the General Election, but unfortunately this was not possible owing to a lack of parliamentary time. As stated in the Conservative Party manifesto, the Government is committed to introducing a ban in this Parliament.

Currently, the ban stands to impact on two travelling circuses in England that now operate with only a small number of wild animals. Conditions of the remaining wild animals at both circuses are closely monitored under Defra's interim Welfare of Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (England) Regulations 2012, through regular announced and unannounced welfare inspections.

The draft Bill states that an offence would be committed under the law if an animal 'performs or is exhibited' as part of a travelling circus, a term whose definition is well understood. There is no exemption for businesses claiming that the exhibition is 'for educational purposes' or similar. In any case of doubt, the Bill also allows for the appointment of inspectors who could make a final determination.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Gay conversion therapies

Thank you for writing to me regarding your concerns for the Government’s plans to ban gay conversion therapies.

The proposed ban is a response to the deeply-troubling accounts of conversion therapies expressed in the recent National LGBT survey.

‘Conversion’ or ‘reparative’ therapies range from pseudo-psychological treatments to surgical interventions, and is known to include practices such as electroshock therapy and the administering of nausea-inducing drugs.

While I welcome the government’s intention to eradicate these appalling and abusive practices through outlawing gay conversion therapies, it is vitally important that the freedom of Christian churches and other faith organisations to express and exercise their beliefs is not stifled by this proposed ban. I am also concerned that people who may be struggling with their sexuality and seek help, support and advice, are able to do so, including from churches and other Christian organisations.

The Government will be presenting more details for the proposed ban in the UK in due course. I will be following developments closely and will be speaking out in Parliament to ensure that this proposal does not undermine the work of faith groups that are seeking offer genuine and legitimate support to LGBT people, and their rights to express and exercise their beliefs.

Newspaper column 18 July 2018 -Spaceport success!

Over the weekend we saw some incredible news for Cornwall with the confirmation that Cornwall Airport Newquay is the first choice for Virgin Orbit for horizontal satellite launch. An official announcement confirming this took place at Farnborough Air Show on Monday, which I attended to support Cornwall’s bid.

Of course I am delighted to see the confirmation that Virgin Orbital has chosen Cornwall as the base for its horizontal launch facility in the UK. This confirms what we have been saying for the past few years, that Newquay is the best location in the UK for this emerging new space sector.

Getting to this stage is the next important and significant step of a long journey involving many years of hard work from lots of different organisations towards putting Cornwall at the heart of the UK Space industry.

Bringing the spaceport to Cornwall has been one of my top priorities since becoming MP back in 2015, something I have worked long and hard to bring from what many thought was only a pipe dream to reality. Along with the teams at Cornwall Airport Newquay, Cornwall LEP and Cornwall Council we have worked hard to put together a strong business case to ensure our unique offer mean we were the best choice for horizontal launches.

Horizontal launch is a new technology that is still in development but is clearly the future for space launch. 

Cornwall Airport Newquay was first unveiled as one of the UK’s potential Spaceport locations in July 2014 because of its long runway (2,744 metres), uncongested airspace and direct access over the Atlantic Ocean, along with the Aerhub that provides hundreds of acres of land to build the facilities needed to support this new sector.

There is still further work to be done to secure the potential opportunities for satellite launch and I am pleased that the government will be allocating further funding and has committed to work with Spaceport Cornwall to achieve this. However this is a significant step forward in this process.
This decision has the potential to unlock previously unseen levels of economic investment to Cornwall, bring in hundreds of high tech, high skilled, well paid jobs.

Not measurable by economic statistics alone, this decision will also provide the priceless inspiration for future generations of Cornish children to reach for the stars.

Now this announcement has been made, I look forward to working with all concerned to moving toward the first launches from 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 Additionally, I hold regular, appointment only, advice surgeries across the constituency. Dates of these can be found at:

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Newspaper column 11 July 18 - Brexit proposals

So far this week in Westminster has been dominated by the follow-up from the Prime Minister’s proposals for continuing our negotiations towards Brexit, which the Cabinet endorsed over the weekend at Chequers.

The proposals have caused a great deal of debate, both in Parliament and across the country.

The proposals include the ending of free movement and taking back control of our borders, no more sending vast sums of our money each year to the EU, and a new business friendly customs model with freedom to strike new trade deals around the world.

They also reiterate that we are leaving the Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy, as well as no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, or Ireland and Great Britain.

However the proposals have had to compromise on other areas. This is reflective of the Parliamentary position, with no overall Parliamentary majority, as well as the closeness of the EU Referendum result across the whole country.As such, some people may not have seen the hard Brexit outcomes that they wanted in these proposals.

I have some reservations about these proposals and have already questioned the Prime Minister about them in Parliament on Monday.

I asked if the Prime Minister was aware that these proposals go further than many of us, and indeed many voters, would like to see us go and are at the absolute limit of what many of us feel able to agree to. 

As such, for now I am not opposing these proposals but will continue to watch keenly as the negotiations continue in order to ensure that the deal reached does not step away from the Brexit the country and Cornwall voted for.

Of course, the option of ‘no deal’ still remains on the table and must be one which the Prime Minister will seriously consider as we move closer to Brexit. 

The Brexit Bill now has Royal Assent so come what may, we will be leaving the EU on 29 March 2019. Myself and my Cornish MP colleagues will continue to do what we can to ensure Cornwall’s voice is heard during Brexit and beyond. 

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:

Rohingya children

Thank you for writing to me about the plight of Rohingya children and the importance of holding perpetrators of crimes against children to account.

I have been appalled by the reports of the atrocities committed by Burmese military and Buddhist extremists against the Rohingya people. As the Prime Minister and other world leaders have clearly stated, what took place in Rakhine State appears to be a textbook case of ethnic cleansing.

I am proud of the compassionate leadership the UK Government has shown by being the largest bilateral donor of humanitarian aid to relief work in Rakhine.

The Department for International Development is helping to provide crucial services including psycho-social counselling, reproductive health services, child-friendly spaces, safe shelters and legal advice to women and girls who are vulnerable to domestic violence, sexual harassment and exploitation in the refugee camps. In addition, the Government is also supporting further UNICEF initiatives to protect children in Rakhine State.

The UK has also been leading international community's political and diplomatic response to the Rakhine crisis.

The UN Security Council adopted a presidential statement on Burma proposed by the UK and France in November 2017, demanding an immediate end to the use of excessive military force in Rakhine, greater access for the provision of humanitarian aid, and safe passage for Rohingya refugees to return home.

In December 2017, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution co-sponsored by the UK which set up a UN Fact Finding Mission (FFM) on human rights abuses in Burma, and subsequent resolutions that gave it the mandate and resources to collect, preserve and share evidence. Following the Special Rapporteur’s recommendations, the Government is now discussing with international partners how to support evidence-collecting efforts, especially in relation to sexual violence.

The UK Government is clear that the responsibility of these atrocities lies squarely with the Burmese military. Karen Pierce, British Ambassador to the UN, called for a "proper investigation" to be launched into alleged crimes committed by the Burmese military against the Rohingya people, during a UN Security Council (UNSC) envoy visit to Myanmar and Bangladesh in March this year. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has repeatedly urged the Burmese Government to heed the Security Council's calls and cooperate with the UN Human Rights Council's Fact Finding Mission.

I would like to see the perpetrators of these heinous crimes against children brought to justice, and will continue to support the Government's work in achieving this and speak up for this cause in Parliament.

The level of UK defence spendin

I wholeheartedly agree with you that the defence of the realm, our overseas territories and our interests around the globe, is the first priority of any government. As a leading global power, the UK has a responsibility to sustain our armed forces so that they can carry out this vital task.

I was re-elected in 2017 to represent the people of St Austell and Newquay on a manifesto that binds the Government to not only meet the NATO commitment to spend at least 2 per cent of GDP on defence, but also increase the defence budget by at least 0.5 per cent above inflation in every year of the 2017-19 Parliament.

We currently have the biggest annual defence budget in Europe, the second largest in NATO, and the fifth largest in the world.

Between 2016 and 2026, the Ministry of Defence has been allocated £178 billion to planned expenditure on equipment and support, including £44 billion on submarines and trident missiles, £24.6 billion on combat and support aircrafts, £19 billion on ships and £13.5 billion on weapons. New equipment to cope with 21st century threats include nuclear Dreadnought submarines to maintain continuous at sea patrols, digital armoured vehicles, and two new aircraft carriers - the most powerful ships ever built in Britain – with 5th generation F-35s to fly from them.

As your local MP I will continue to support the Government on bills and measures in Parliament that will strengthen our armed forces and defence capabilities, and speak up and vote against any proposals aiming to achieve the opposite.

Monday, 9 July 2018

Early Day Motion (EDM) 66

Thank you for your recent email asking me to sign Early Day Motion (EDM) 66, which calls for a rigorous and fair public scientific debate, between scientists, about best practice in medical research.

As a rule I do not sign Early Day Motions as they have no legislative affect and I believe change can be driven better through the other democratic processes available to us in Parliament.

I will certainly bear your comments during future debates and discussion on this subject in Parliament in the future.

I hope this is helpful and thanks once more for getting in touch.

Third runway at Heathrow

Few matters I can recall have seen greater scrutiny and consideration. The time and effort in reviewing these matters have been exhaustive and whilst strong feelings are held by both sides of the argument the consensus has proven to be in favour by some margin in Parliament and also overwhelmingly in the immediate location of the airport. The vast majority there support it.

I gave the matter careful thought and supported the third runway. People have concerns and it has been right and proper that everyone should have their views aired and considered. Even now the project has to go through the planning process. I remain confident that this will further tighten and enhance the project to ensure the impact it may have will be a measured one whilst  the benefits to the UK are secured.

The new runway  is a once-in-a-generation private infrastructure project. It will bring gains across the UK and more so to The Duchy with flights possible between here and Heathrow itself. It will greatly help business and tourism.

With the advent of rapidly changing technologies seen already with the explosion of ultra clean cars with sales booming – such good news for the environment – we will see equal progress in the air too. We must harness these latest technologies in due course to ensure the future wellbeing of our environment whilst not neglecting to provide the much needed runway at Heathrow.

Friday, 6 July 2018

Campaign - I want a publicly owned NHS, do you?/NHS Birthday present

Thank you for your recent email as part of the campaign ‘I want a publicly owned NHS, do you?’

I want an NHS that delivers for its patients and staff and one that provides good value for money for the taxpayer.

Because of this I was pleased that in June, the Prime Minister announced an extra £20 billion a year in real terms for the National Health Service by 2023/24, ensuring patients receive world-class care, as part of our long-term plan for the NHS.

This funding in their 70th birthday year is part of a five-year budget settlement for the NHS.

Crucially, the extra funding will come in part from the ‘Brexit dividend’ – money we will no longer send to the European Union after we have left – and the country will be asked to contribute a bit more for the NHS in a fair and balanced way.

The Government has increased the NHS budget every year we have been in power. This further historic long term funding boost will secure the future of this vital service for generations to come, meaning patients will benefit from improved cancer survival rates, there will be better mental health care, and more doctors and nurses in our hospitals.

In return, the NHS will produce a new, clinically led, long-term plan – setting out how the money will be used to deliver our vision for the health service and to ensure every penny is well spent.
Of course, in recent years we have already seen increased general funding for the NHS in Cornwall, with a year on year increase since the Government came into power.

We have also recently seen work start on the construction of the long-needed mental health inpatient facility for young people in Cornwall, another £4m investment to Cornwall from the Government.
With my Cornish MP colleagues I lobbied the Government for additional funding for Adult Social Care and was very pleased to see announcement of the Improved Better Care Fund in March 2017.
The Government granted Cornwall Council an additional £24m over the next three years for adult social care to go towards improving social care in Cornwall.

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.

So this is great news for the NHS nationally and locally. I will now be working with the other Cornish MPs and NHS services in Cornwall to ensure that we get the right amount of funds for our county.

I hope this outlines my position on this matter and thanks once more for getting in touch.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Lord’s Amendment 19 to the EU Withdrawal Bill.

Thank you for writing to me regarding my vote on the Lord’s Amendment 19 to the EU Withdrawal Bill.

I voted to leave the European Union in the June 2016 referendum. Since becoming your Member of Parliament in 2015, I have always made my Eurosceptic views clear.

I am of the view that by leaving the European Union, the British people will be taking back control of our own borders, laws, trade policy, and avoid being part of an ever-closing union, which has yield nothing but social and economic disaster for many of its members.

I believe that adding my name to this amendment would have undermined the public’s trust in our nation’s democratic institutions to deliver the referendum results, tie the Prime Minister’s hands in her negotiations with the EU, and add further unwanted uncertainty to an already uncertain situation.
The EU Withdrawal Act has now received Royal Assent, requiring the UK to leave the European Union on Friday 29 March 2019.

In the scenario that no deal is reached by 21 January 2019, the Government would have to make a statement to Parliament setting out what its next course of action is, and Parliament will then have an opportunity to vote on those plans, on a motion that would be expressed in either neutral or non-neutral terms, as determined by the Speaker of the House of Commons.

I am afraid this is an issue that we may well have to agree to disagree on. Nonetheless, I would like to thank you for taking the time to write to me.

Brexit and the Environment

Thank you for writing to me about my vote for the Lords’ Amendment 3 to the EU Withdrawal Bill.

I am well aware that Amendment 3 was supported by many of my constituents who care deeply about the environment, and I can assure you that I would like to see the UK maintain its high standards when it comes to environmental protection after we leave the EU.

While I agree that we need to maintaining environmental principles similar to the EU’s after Brexit, I voted against Amendment 3 in its original form as it would have prevented the Government from acting quickly to update environmental regulations and constraining its ability to deliver an effective functioning statute after we leave the EU. Not only does it create legal uncertainty; it does not take into account that a significant proportion of environmental legislation and policy in the UK is devolved.

I and many of my Parliamentary colleague however, expressed our support for amendment (c) in lieu of Amendment 3, which sets out the same EU environmental principles including ‘polluters pay’ and ‘precautionary principle’, should be included in a new environment bill, Environmental Principles and Governance Bill, and thus embedding it in UK law. The bill will also create a world-leading, independent environmental watchdog to hold the Government to account.

This bill is a cornerstone of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ 25 Year Environment. Consultation on the government’s white paper is open until 2 August 2018 and you can take part in the consultation on

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has announced that the Government will bring forward this bill in the autumn to deliver those proposals.

The Government has been consistently clear on the need to ensure that our environment is protected after we leave the EU. In addition to maintaining EU environmental principles, the EU Withdrawal Act, which has now received Royal Assent, will also convert all existing EU environmental laws into UK law when we finally leave the Union next year.

Whether you voted Leave or Remain, we can all be united in our desire to protect and preserve our wildlife, our rivers, our seas, our beaches and our forests. 

The manifesto on which all Conservative MPs were elected in 2017 promised that we should be the ‘first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we inherited it in.’ As your MP, I will work hard to ensure that the Government is able to deliver this manifesto pledge that I was elected on after we leave the EU, in order that our future generations may enjoy a greener, more sustainable future.

Questions at the FairFuel UK APPG

Thank you for your email and I have received a good number on this topic. That does not surprise me in the least as I represent a rural constituency where car usage is higher than elsewhere simply because of the rural area we live in.

Further because we still lag behind in terms of the wages earned compared with other more prosperous parts of the country our car pool tends to be older and often more polluting than newer more expensive models which are out of reach of modest wage earners. These things concern me greatly already so the prospect of any further move to make life more difficult or expensive causes me alarm.

Fuel duties and car taxation are high, although comparisons to other countries are difficult as other taxes here are lower. The UK remains one of the lowest overall tax raising thresholds in Europe.

The UK, a world leading developer and manufacturer of ultra clean vehicles is already seeing a huge uplift in the sale of these vehicles. The switch to them is happening at a pace no one could have predicted even a year or so ago. They of course have very low running and taxing costs and as the switch gathers pace the real debate will be on how the government of the day maintains its’ revenue streams. New techniques technologies must be adopted whilst at the same time not hitting traditional transport with extra costs.

We all want to look after the environment and breath clean air wherever we live or work and there are legal obligations on the UK government to achieve that. So it is a problem to be tackled but in a fair and balanced way.

I note the dates of the three forthcoming meetings but with my diary already oversubscribed between now and the summer recess I will struggle to get to any of the meetings. However I do have on my staff an assistant who has been interested in transport matters for many years and if at all possible I will see if we can get him along so he can report back.

It is a real hot topic for me because I don’t want to see a region like ours further burdened – and  I often say as much when the opportunity arises being a member of the Transport committee.

Thanks again for writing. Your contact and that of others always helps me make the case that this issue  is one that is firmly in the public domain and as such needs careful consideration.

Offensive Weapons Bill and restrictions on knives delivery

Thank you for contacting me regarding the Offensive Weapons Bill and its restriction on the delivery of knives and blades sold online to a private residential address.

I appreciate that this is naturally an issue of concern to someone who would like to purchase knives and blades but is housebound.

The Offensive Weapons Bill forms a key part of the Government’s Serious Violence Strategy, in response to recent increases in serious violence, especially in knife crime, in England and Wales.

Under the new provisions of the bill, knives sold online must only be delivered to and collected - by the person who made the purchase - at a place where the age of the purchaser can be checked.

The primary motivation underpinning this new measure is the need to provide additional safeguards to current legislations that already make it an offence to sell knives to under-18s, as many online retailers have been struggling to implement age checks for online sales.  

While it is important that we are able to prevent teenagers and children from purchasing and obtaining knives online, I share your concerns that this measure might disproportionately affect adult users of knives that are housebound and members of rural communities, who have comparatively less access to the proposed collection points and also have a more diverse range of legitimate uses for specialist knives, which can often only be readily sourced online. 

The Bill received its second reading on 27 June and is now moving to committee stage. I note your concerns about section 15 of the Bill and will be seeking to raise them when it receives further scrutiny before Parliament in due course. 

Getting a say on trade 38 Degrees campaign

I am just a little sceptical that 38 Degrees are all too often at odds with the government. On everything. So it is reasonable that I view this latest campaign with that in mind.

Suggesting that highly complex trade negotiations some of which will have commercially sensitive data or involve security issues should be subject to the scrutiny suggested is completely impractical. It would delay and bog down talks. Further it would likely weaken our hand in our negotiations as competitors would inevitably be privy to matters best kept private during those negotiations.

Our parliamentary system, where the government is routinely held to account for the decisions it makes is in good working order. I see no reason to move away from that.

Newspaper column 4 July 2018 - the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund

I am sure we have all been enjoying the heatwave we have been experiencing. There really is nowhere better than Cornwall when the weather is like this. It is certainly much better than being in London and having to cope with the oppressive heat in Parliament.  

Last week I spoke in Parliament about some owners of holiday lets who exploit loopholes to get away with not paying the rates they should, penalising other taxpayers in the process, in a debate called by my fellow Cornish MP Derek Thomas.

I also welcomed Cornish bee keeper, Andrew Brown, to Westminster to talk about his plans to increase the numbers of bees in Cornwall. I also met with Cornwall Air Ambulance to continue to support their vital work.

At the end of the week I was delighted to welcome more funding for Cornwall with the launch of the £40 million Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund.

The Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSF) will boost the local economy by providing debt and equity finance to help growing small businesses, of which we have so many of in Mid-Cornwall, across the region.

The fund has been established in partnership with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and UK Government to provide local businesses with more funding options to help them grow and create jobs.

CIOSIF has been designed following input from local business groups, funders, business advisers and the LEP and will provide debt and equity finance from £25k to £2 million. It is expected to unlock a further £40 million of private investment.

I am pleased to have worked with the LEP and Cornwall Council to ensure this important fund is now available to support our local economy.

This is something I have worked long and hard, with all levels of the Government to bring about, and will unlock millions of pounds of investment for our hardworking small businesses in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

The programme had stalled due to EU red tape last year and I met with Business Minister Andrew Griffiths to discuss the problems and the importance of the fund to Cornwall, and I am pleased, a short while later, to see this launch.

I look forward to seeing how this fund will positively impact on our businesses and continuing to do all I can to ensure Cornwall gets the funding we need to grow and prosper.

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:

End the caging of pheasants and partridges

I rarely sign EDM's as apart from costing tax payers huge amounts of money they never achieve anything.

The points you raise are of concern. Whilst we need to recognise that UK farming methods and welfare standards are amongst the highest in the World that should not preclude efforts to ensure continuing improvement.

I note the points you raise and will be sure to mention them when next I see the Minister.

An independent public inquiry into UK complicity in torture and rendition.

Torture and rendition are serious matters. The UK stands firmly against the use of torture. We do not participate in, solicit, encourage or condone the use of such techniques for any purpose and we have robust oversight arrangements in place.

With regards to the demand for a new inquiry, the Government has made clear that a balance needs to be struck between the “transparency that accountability normally entails and the secrecy that security demands” in the investigatory work carried out by agencies and courts.

I will certainly bear your comments in mind and carefully consider them should this issue come up for debate in Parliament again.

I hope this is helpful in outlining my position and thanks once more for getting in touch.

Respecting the will of the people

Regarding the need for politicians to respect the will of the people as expressed in the referendum on European Union membership by ensuring that we do leave the European Union in March 2019. 

I voted to leave the European Union in the June 2016 referendum. Since becoming your Member of Parliament in 2015, I have always made my Eurosceptic views clear. I believe that by leaving the European Union, the British people will be taking back control of our borders, laws, trade policy and avoid being part of an ever-closing union, which has yield nothing but social and economic disaster for many of its members.

I, along with vast majority of my colleagues in Parliament, are of the opinion that the referendum on the UK’s membership of European Union was a clear and fair vote, demonstrating that we as a nation are in favour of leaving the European Union. 

To delay, reverse or force a second referendum on the British public would therefore not only be a betrayal of will of the British people, but also undermine trust in our nation’s democratic institutions.

Like you, I am a democrat and I believe that in order to safeguard our democracy we need to implement the will of the nation, as expressed in the results of the referendum, by leaving the European Union. I will continue to do whatever I can to ensure we leave the EU in March 2019 and will be voting against any bills or amendments that seek to undo the results of the EU referendum.

The ‘hostile environment’ immigration policy

We have a proud history in the UK of welcoming people into this country, and we value their vital contributions to our economy, culture and society. We certainly do not wish to see anyone who has a right to live and work in the UK being refused a tenancy or a job opportunity based on their race, religion or belief.

I agree with the Home Secretary when he said in his first statement before Parliament that the phrase hostile environment sends a message this “is unhelpful and it doesn’t represent our values as a country”. 

With Brexit fast approaching, we have been given a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn from past mistakes and build a fair and non-discriminatory immigration system that works for everyone. We have to send clear a message to discourage illegal migration, and indeed previous governments have made great strides in tackling illegal migration. At the same time, this new immigration system needs to be fair and humane to people legally seeking to enter or remain in this country.

I believe there needs to be a change of culture at the heart of the Home Office, because the focus has been on policy and process and not people. We must never lose sight of the fact that at the heart of these polices are people: individuals and families who deserve to be treated fairly, with dignity and respect.

I agree that where there are cases of mistreatment that has resulted in undue harm or wrongful denial to employment, housing, or services, we need to ensure that individuals are given the proper channels to seek redress and compensation for these mistakes. However, I do not believe that calling for a wholesale review of immigration policies and practices is a sensible option going forward.

Such an exercise would only impose unnecessary costs on taxpayers and distract government officials from carrying out the vital work required to right wrongs. There needs to be a change in Home Office policy and culture, not a review or an inquiry.