Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Campaign response - Tethering Campaign: #BreakTheChain

The issues raised around tethering of animals is one worthy of careful consideration.

You raise a number of points and concerns and highlight scenarios where animal welfare maybe compromised.  We must also take into account that many animals are well cared for so whilst I share your concern over any animal distress, anywhere, we must be careful that any new legislation reflects the freedom to continue owning animals in diverse and different ways.

I will be sure to raise the issues you raise when I next see ministers.

Campaign response - A bad Brexit deal will damage our economy

This campaign on issues over Brexit opens with “As your constituent, I want you to know that I believe that the Brexit deal now being proposed will be a disaster for our country.”

For me this is wrong on so many levels: we don’t know the deal for a start! Also whilst there are those who focus solely on finances the vast majority of my mail bag is from constituents imploring me to ensure we leave the EU so that we can take back control of our borders, fishing grounds and money – even if that means the UK is worse off. I don’t think that will be the case and every forecast post referendum saying otherwise has consistently been completely wrong. I have no reason to rely on these reports and neither does anyone else.

The only issue that will “cloud our democracy” will be if the majority, having won the referendum in what was described by all sides during the campaign as defining and definitive now see the democratic process overthrown by those who want to have second go because the masses “ did not understand what they were doing…” Elitist nonsense and I will have none of it.

As the negotiations continue we will see just how awkward the EU become in the hope we might buckle and if I needed any further proof that we need out of the inevitable United States of Europe then now I have it. 

I have written more on this for the few who are in touch wanting a second go at voting and copy it below:

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, 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. Those suggesting that somehow people did not understand what they were voting for are both patronising and disrespectful.

I do not support another referendum. Not only would it not be respecting the 2016 vote, which was a people’s vote, it would also undermine the negotiating position. It would also cause further delay and uncertainty.

The vast majority of people tell me they simply want us to get on with things and leave. Businesses in particular want to know, as soon as possible what the future will hold.

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, the delay and certainty would be the last thing we need.

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.

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.

Every week my post bag burgeons with constituents seeking assurance that we will have a full and meaningful Brexit as compared with just a very few who of alternative view.

Your concerns over the future prosperity of the UK is in stark contrast to the economic data thus far and that is before we have left the EU.

We all want to protect our democracy and that means accepting the outcome of the ballot box. I intend to do just that and continue to strive for Brexit.

Newspaper column 31 October 2018 - The Budget

This week started with the Autumn Budget, which saw a number of announcements that are good for Mid-Cornwall.

Firstly I was pleased to see the Chancellor announce a minimum extra £2bn a year for mental health services, something which is so important to see addressed in today’s society. In Cornwall we have already seen this Government move forward with the new mental health inpatient unit for young people that is currently being built, and this additional funding is much welcomed, as well as the additional announcement of a new mental health crisis centre, providing support in every accident and emergency unit in the country.

Also in terms of social care I was pleased to see the Government provide an extra £700m for councils, on top of the winter pressures money already given previously, for care for the elderly and those with disabilities.

I was also pleased that following my calls to increase the work allowance for Universal Credit the Chancellor announced a £1000 increase that will give all households in work and claiming Universal Credit an additional £630 per year. Along with increasing the National Living Wage to £8.31 per hour and raising the personal tax allowance to £12500 this Budget will put more money in everyone’s pockets who is in work.

In recent years I have successfully campaigned for Cornwall Air Ambulance to get extra funding and I was pleased to see the Chancellor confirm an additional £10m of funding for these vital services across the country.

Of course it is also important to support businesses which are the lifeblood of our economy and I was pleased to see the Chancellor announce £900 million to cut business rates by one third for two years, for retailers with rateable value of under £51,000, saving up to 90 per cent of all shops up to £8,000 each year, and building on previous reductions worth more than £12.5 billion.

This goes along with a £675 million for a Future High Streets Fund and a new High Streets Taskforce. This will support councils to implement plans for the transformation of their high streets.
It was also good to see, beer, cider and spirits duty frozen for another year, supporting patrons of the Great British pub. The Budget also included a fund of £10million to support our fishing industry that local fisherman are set to benefit from.

Turning to our transport infrastructure, the Government announced an additional £420 million available immediately to help tackle potholes, bridge repairs and other minor works, as well as £150 million to improve local traffic hotspots such as roundabouts.

Finally, it was also great to see the Chancellor recognise my campaign and stopping operators of public toilets, often hard-pressed parish councils, from having to pay business rates in the future.
This was a good Budget for Mid-Cornwall and I now look forward to working to ensure we get our fair share of the national funds that have been announced today.

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:

Campaign response - Help protect human rights defenders

I am grateful to my constituents who contacted me over the past few days regarding the issue of Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) who are facing repression and abuse as a result of their work to challenge human rights abuses across the world.

I am appalled at reports that in 2017 more than 300 HRDs were killed carrying out their work of defending the fundamental rights of all humans.  

The UK Government has recently updated its Guidelines on Working with HRDs to help British diplomats to better support them, and progress is being made to protect human rights defenders in other countries.

More must be done to ensure that the safety and rights of HRDs around the world, and I have now tabled a Written Parliamentary Question to the Foreign Secretary seeking his assurance that the protection of HRDs would be a priority for him and his departmental officials.

Monday, 29 October 2018

Campaign response - Help put a stop to puppy smuggling

Many of you have been in touch about puppy smuggling. As a dog owner myself it is a matter that I care about too.

Stopping illegal movement is of course the responsibility of the Country where puppies originate and it is critical that those Countries fulfil their obligations accordingly. I will be sure to raise this with Ministers when I see them. More must be done to highlight this across the EU.

The progress previously made on this issue came in 2014 when pet travel regulation was strengthened and enforcement streamlined. Very young animals also face further checks. Further the UK Border Force is fully alert on these issues and routinely carries out checks on vehicles entering the UK. It is apparent that more must be done.

We can all play our part by ensuring that as and when we buy a puppy we establish that we are dealing with a bona fide source  and wherever possible establish where the puppy came from.

Once we leave the EU in March of next year we will at long last be free to introduce our own laws covering this and so many other issues. At the moment as with livestock exports and all manner of other issues we are bound by collective EU regulations.

I really cannot wait to see us free to resolve so many of these issues and it is another very good reason to welcome Brexit with open arms.

Campaign response - Please fight for our nature

I have recently been contacted by a number of constituents about issues surrounding the environment and the desire to see fresh legislation to protect it.

We all care about the environment and living in the Duchy one of the most beautiful areas it matters that much more.

I have been heavily involved in various environmental groups here in Parliament not least as the  Chair of  the All Parliamentary Group, Ocean Conservation. Together we have highlighted the problems caused by plastic entering our environment and the real prospect of the implementation of reverse vending machines that will ensure more of the 5 million plastic bottles used each day in the UK get recycled.

The government has been active too in improving our environment and is amongst the first governments in the world to announce a ban on the sale of conventionally fuelled cars from 2040. Already sales of electric and other clean technology cars have dramatically increased.

Whilst there is more to be done it is also good to recognise the progress made. I will always be interested in further progress to protect and improve our environment and will look to support any moves by interested parties to bring in new regulations.

Campaign response - Yemen and human rights

I have recently received a number of correspondence from constituents concerned about Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the Yemen conflict. They asked if I would call on the government to end arms sales to Saudi Arabia and if I would sign an EDM on this issue.

I have a policy to not sign EDMs as apart from costing taxpayers unnecessary amounts of money they rarely achieve anything.

However, the points my constituents raised are of concern to me.

Any incidents of civilian deaths, particularly children, caught up in a conflict are always dreadful.

The Government has recently assured parliamentarians that it keeps export licensing for Saudi Arabia under constant review, including in light of military action by the Saudi-led Coalition in Yemen.

The key test for the Government’s continued military exports to Saudi Arabia in relation to International Humanitarian Law (IHL) is whether there is a clear risk that those items might be used in the commission of a serious violation of IHL.

As set out in the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, the Government will not issue an export licence where we assess that the items might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law.

A licence would not be granted if to do so was inconsistent with the criteria.

I know that the Government is keeping the situation under careful and continual review, and I will to seek to raise this issue with ministers when the opportunity arises.

Campaign response - NHS and the Budget

I have recently been contacted by a number of constituents regarding the proposal of a tax rise to provide an extra £20 billion to the NHS.

I was re-elected in 2017 by the people of St Austell and Newquay on a Conservative manifesto that promises to lower the tax burden on hardworking families and I intend on doing all that I can to keep taxes low for everyone.

Economic growth is the foundation of a well-functioning NHS. By hiking tax rates, the economy would be stifled, thus harming the NHS in the long term.

The Office for Budget Responsibility’s recent revisions to their forecast for public finances – due to stronger-than-expected tax receipts – is set to reduce the budget deficit by £13 billion, which could help pay for the government’s commitment to raise more money for the NHS.

I will therefore be opposing a tax rise for the NHS in the upcoming budget.

Campaign response - Help us stop the government banning .50 calibre rifles

With the Offensive Weapons Bill due to receive its Third Reading and Report Stage in Parliament, a number of constituents have recently got in touch to seek my view on bill’s proposed ban on weapons with a muzzle energy of more than 13,600 joules or 10,000 foot-pounds, particularly .50 calibre single-shot target rifles.

I share their concerns that the proposed ban could disproportionately affect legally licensed gun owners.

Policymaking needs to be underpinned by clear evidence. The Home Office has suggested that the proposed ban will help tackle gun crimes in the UK. However, instances of such weapons being likely to fall into the wrong hands are incredibly rare. As Sir Geoffrey has previously pointed out in a parliamentary debate regarding the bill, “there was one incident when one was stolen; the barrel was chopped down but the gun was quickly recovered and never implicated in a crime. There has been only one other incident: more than 20 years ago, a .50 calibre weapon was stolen in Northern Ireland and used in the troubles and then, again, recovered.”

These heavy and bulky weapons, which are often longer than the length of one’s arm, are simply not the criminal’s weapon of choice; they are far more likely to turn to smaller, less powerful and less unwieldy firearms.

Instead of achieving its stated objective of preventing gun crimes, I am concerned that this proposed ban will bring unintended consequences by ending the well-established and legitimate sporting use of these rifles, namely in target shooting. For instance, over 400 members of the Fifty Calibre Shooters Association (FCSA) in the UK regularly compete in the annual World Championship in the US representing Great Britain. The UK FCSA is a Home Office Approved Club. Were the bill to be passed with its current wording, it would bring to an end the club’s legitimate sporting activity, which to date has a flawless safety record and is undertaken by individuals already deemed safe through police vetting processes.

I am keen to see the Government reverse its thinking on this ban and will therefore be supporting Sir Geoffrey’s amendments at the Report Stage of the Offensive Weapons Bill when it comes before Parliament.

Campaign reply - Early Day Motion (EDM) calling for a new Royal Commission on policing

I have recently been approached by constituents asking me to sign an Early Day Motion (EDM) calling for a new Royal Commission on policing.

It is my policy to never sign EDMs, as apart from costing taxpayers unnecessary amounts of money, they rarely achieve anything.

However, the points my constituents raised are of concern to me.

We need to ensure that our police forces are given the appropriate resources to be able to keep the public safe and function effectively in the long term.

I will in fact soon be meeting with the Policing Minister  and will be sure to raise these concerns with him.

Campaign reply on Arms Embargo against Israel

A number of my constituents have recently written to me to ask if I would support an arms embargo against Israel.
Israel is a long-term ally of the UK and shares many mutual interests, including close intelligence and military cooperation.
As a country renowned for its high-tech expertise, the UK benefits from Israeli military technology. Israeli technology that the UK uses include battlefield medical technology, techniques for dealing with suicide bombers, and technology to counter remotely-detonated terrorist bombs. Israeli drone technology such as the Watchkeeper WK45 has also been used by British forces in Afghanistan for intelligence collection. These technologies have protected the lives of many British soldiers. 
An arms embargo on Israel and the wider boycott campaign stands to be damaging for UK-Israel bilateral relations, and also counterproductive to the peace process. The British Government and I will continue to support efforts to restart direct peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, in order to achieve a lasting and viable two-state solution. These talks are absolutely necessary in order to address the crucial final-status issues of borders, the status of Jerusalem, Israel’s security concerns, settlements, and Palestinian sovereignty.
For a lasting peace, it is essential for the Palestinian Authority to educate its people towards peace and coexistence with Israel. It must uphold the Quartet Principles that it has committed itself to: to recognise Israel’s right to exist; to abide by previous diplomatic agreements; and to renounce and distance itself from violence.
The PA must end the glorification of terrorists and incitement, including the naming of schools and sports tournaments after murderers who have killed Israelis, which have inspired so many violent acts against Israelis.
I trust that this adequately answers the issues my constituents raised.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Email your local MP to demand the end to rip-off loans campaign reply

Some of my constituents have recently contacted me to draw my attention to the issue of high interest payday loans.

One in ten UK households have taken out a payday loan, a frequently cited contributor towards household debt. Following the recent collapse of Wonga and reports of possible bankruptcy of a number of other major highstreet payday lenders e.g. Money Shop, there are concerns that customers face losing thousands of pounds in unpaid compensation.

I was therefore glad to learn that earlier this week the Financial Conduct Authority ordered payday lenders to bring forward compensation for customers who were mis-sold loans, even if it threatens the company with bankruptcy. The FCA said payday lenders must consider the “severity of the consumer detriment that might have arisen” from loans granted in the past, and consider whether they should begin a “redress or remediation exercise, which may include contacting customers who have not complained.”

I will continue to speak up for those who are on the receiving end of unfair lending practices. I would also encourage any of my constituents who have been mis-sold high interest payday loans to contact their payday lender to seek appropriate compensation.

Plunged into debt campaign reply

Gambling addiction is a serious problem that has regrettably ruined far too many lives. Many of my constituents share my view and some have recently written to me to express their concern following reports in the media that the new £2 maximum stake on highly addictive betting machines – fixed odd betting terminals (FOBTs) – will not be implemented until April 2020, as opposed to 2019. 

FOBTs are a type of electronic slot machine normally found in betting shops. Each machine accepts bets for amounts up to a pre-set maximum and pays out according to fixed odds on the simulated outcomes of games. It is possible to lose large amounts of money in a very short period of time while using FOBTs, and research have shown that the machines
have a causal role in problem gambling.

On 17 May 2018, the Government announced that the maximum stake on FOBTs will be reduced to £2. This will reduce the ability to suffer high session losses, while also targeting the greatest proportion of problem gamblers. It will mitigate risk for the most vulnerable players, for whom even moderate losses on the machine might be harmful.

I fully understand the harm that FOBTs can do and I believe it was right for the government to take action in protecting our citizens from falling prey to these machines. Changes to the stake will be made through secondary legislation and I would like to see these changes implemented soon.

However I also recognise that any new industry regulation requires meaningful engagement between government officials and stakeholders. Betting shops need to be fully prepared and be given sufficient time to implement and complete the technological changes brought about by the change.

It is in everyone’s interest to have a healthy gambling industry that contributes to the economy, but also one that does all it can to protect players and their families, as well as the wider communities, from harm.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Bill

In the past week I have been contacted by constituents asking if I could take part in the parliamentary debate and vote at the Third Reading and Report Stages of the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Bill on Friday 26 October.

The bill makes provisions for i) heterosexual couples to enter a civil partnership, ii) registration of the names of the mother of each party to a marriage or civil partnership, and iii) registration of stillborn deaths.

I support the bill’s aims to allow for a mother’s name to be recognised in the marriage certificate and create a system of proper registration for stillborn babies. However, I am concerned that the creation of heterosexual civil partnerships might lead to more couples opting for a low-commitment alternative to marriage, where they are not required to vow to commit to each other for life, and therefore making it easier for their partnerships to break up at a time when the divorce rate is already well over 40% in England.

The proposals would also mean traditionally-married couples would not be given a marriage certificate on the day and there would be an electronic register instead of an official one in churches. Denying a married couple their marriage certificate on their special day is not a measure I would support.

While I would like to be able to attend the debate and vote of the bill on Friday 26 October to engage with the views of other parliamentarians, I regret to inform my constituents that on this occasion I will not be able to as I am already committed to a number of important constituency engagements on Friday 26 October.

Campaign response - The Prime Minister's future

There has never been a time sine I became an MP when someone, somewhere has not been in touch demanding that the then incumbent Prime Minister be removed from office so it comes as no surprise that during the heightened tensions during the historic  move towards leaving the EU that I receive further such communications.

I see a meaningful BREXIT as the focus of my attention and will continue to fight for that. Changing the Prime Minister will be a huge distraction at this vital juncture. The day will come when of course we will have a new Prime Minister and whatever the circumstances are I will be pleased to carefully consider along with yourselves who that should or might be.

Campaign response - Ask Chancellor Hammond to restore Migrant Impact Fund

I have recently received emails from constituents asking for my support to restore the Migration Impact Fund and increase its funding.

Immigration is an important subject to me. Leaving the EU gives us a once in a lifetime opportunity to build a fair, compassionate and sustainable immigration system to better address issues concerning the number of people entering this country, their impact on public services, as well as how well their integrate into local communities.

The Migration Impact Fund (MIF) was introduced by the Labour Government in 2009 to provide £35 million to local authorities every year. Its primary purpose was to alleviate the impacts of immigration on local services. In the light of the overall fiscal position and the need for urgent action to tackle the deficit, the Coalition Government withdrew the fund as a cost-saving measure in 2010. The principle to address effects of immigration however, remained an important one for the previous Government, and led my party to commit in the 2015 General Election manifesto to introducing a new Controlling Migration Fund (CMF) to replace the MIF.

In terms of funding, the CMF matches the MIF’s provision by providing £35 million of funding each year from 2016-2020 to local authorities to support the delivery of public services. Compared to the alternative models proposed by think tanks and policy commentators, the CMF also has more in common with the MIF in its design and scope. In addition, the CMF goes further by committing additional resources to enforcement and compliance officers in order to tackle the issue of illegal migration – an important issue that was not addressed by either the CMF or the previous Labour Government.

I am therefore of the view that restoring the CMF with a new version of MIF, which is in itself a replacement and an improvement on the original MIF, would not serve any meaningful purpose. Far from restoring the public’s trust in the immigration system, it would distract the important work that the Government is already doing in reviewing our immigration arrangements, based on the recommendations of the Migration Advisory Committee, to ensure that the system is fit for purpose after Brexit. Any substantial increase in government funding for the CMF would be offset by an increase in taxation to balance the books, which would affect migrants working hard to make a living for themselves and look after their families.

Instead, a better way to restore trust in the system for government officials to work with local people in enabling more migrants to find employment, education and training, in order to contribute towards our public services and become fully integrated members of our society. To this end, the Government is already committing a new £7 million Integrated Communities Innovation Fund to help encourage local led innovative projects to tackle local needs in integration, and a number of local authorities across England have already signed up to this ambitious project.

Campaign response - No Deal Brexit plan

Recently, I have been approached by a number of constituents with concerns over a no deal Brexit and what this will mean for Cornwall.

Throughout the process, the government has been ensuring the UK will be properly prepared for any outcome, including a no deal Brexit.  As the Brexit Department statement says “It has always been the case that as we get nearer to March 2019, preparations for a no deal scenario would be accelerated. Such an acceleration does not reflect an increased likelihood of a ‘no deal’ outcome” We are preparing for every outcome possible.

I have stated previously that I have always been of the view that the EU would agree a deal and I continue the hope for a deal to be made. Though, a deal will only be accepted if it’s in the best interest of the British people and delivers the Brexit people voted for in the referendum. As the Prime Minister rightly said, “no deal is better than a bad deal” so I will support a no deal if the EU continues to offer no constructive way forward.

There is a lot of scaremongering going on by some, but I believe that whatever the outcome the UK will not only cope by thrive outside of the EU.  Once we leave we can regain control of our law, money and borders.  One of the main reasons the majority voted to leave the EU was so that we could regain control of our own affairs, and it is precisely this that we are striving for.

Whilst I will continue to work to represent the people of our constituency in achieve the best deal possible as we leave the EU, I am also confident we have nothing to fear from a no deal outcome and we will do all we can to prepare should this be the result.  

Monday, 15 October 2018

Are you in to end homelessness campaign

I have received a number of communications from constituents bringing my attention to the issue of homelessness and the work of campaigns such as ‘Everybody In’ calling for all parties to work together end homelessness for good.

Homelessness matters. In Parliament and in our constituency I have often spoken about the importance of tackle this issue and have voiced my strong support for legislations and initiatives seeking to eradicate homelessness.

I am delighted that the government intends on leading the fight to end homelessness by publishing its Rough Sleepers Strategy recently, which commits £100m towards eliminating rough sleeping in England by 2027. This will include £30m of funding for mental health and substance abuse services and £50m for new homes outside of London for those ready to move on from hostels. It will also give renewed focus on preventing homelessness by providing more intensive support for those vulnerable to homelessness, including people leaving prison or care.

I am proud to be supporting the implementation of this strategy, which complements the Homelessness Reduction Act (came into force at the beginning of April). The Act provides new support to people who aren’t entitled to help under the current system, by requiring local authorities to do more to prevent homelessness – incorporating prevention and relief duties for the councils, as well as a duty to refer for other public services, and continued protection for affected families.

Earlier this year I also welcomed confirmation that Cornwall will receive £437,489, part of a targeted £30m Rough Sleeping Initiative fund to support those sleeping rough and those at risk in 83 local authorities with the highest need. I am pleased that the Government has released this further funding to Cornwall Council to help support those sleeping rough. This represents a significant step in the Government’s plans to reduce rough sleeping.

This funding nationally will provide for over 500 new staff focused on rough sleeping. This will include more outreach workers to engage with people on the streets, specialist mental health and substance misuse workers and dedicated co-ordinators to drive efforts to reduce rough sleeping in their areas. It will also provide over 1700 new bed-spaces nationally including both emergency and settled accommodation.

I look forward to seeing the detail of what Cornwall Council proposes to do with its funding, and look forward to working with them to ensure that it is used to provide the best outcome for the people that need it, the communities they are part of and is good value for the tax payer.

I applaud the vital work of campaign groups to ensure that this issue remains on the top of Government’s agenda. In response to my constituents’ ask for me to raise this issue with my party leader, I am glad to inform them that I will be placing my full support behind the Prime Minister as she seeks to tackle homelessness, and will be working to ensure that the Government be given every resource necessary for it to keep its pledge of eradicating rough sleeping in the next decade.

Please attend NI briefing on devolution & abortion + vote against abortion 10 Minute Rule Bill campaign reply

Some of my constituents have recently contacted me to ask me to vote against Diana Johnson MP’s Ten Minute Rule Bill on abortion and inviting me as attend a briefing session for MPs on the bill. This Bill would have the effect of making the Abortion Act 1967, along with all the legal safeguards it provides, void through to at least 24-weeks, i.e over five months, gestation.

I understand what an important Abortion this is for many people. This is an incredibly delicate area of law and, regardless of the views of individual MPs, one which is treated with the utmost rigour.

With regards to this bill, I would not vote to increase the availability of abortions, nor would I vote to make it easier to have one. My personal opinion is the limit should be decreased from the current 24 weeks. I find it absurd doctors fight to save premature babies born in one part of a hospital at 23/4 weeks which are now viable with the advance in medical technology, and in an another part of the hospital a 24 week foetus is being aborted.

I work and have regular contact with pro-life groups and always seek to accommodate their work as they seek to influence and inform Parliamentarians so that we can make progress with the vital message of pro-life. I recently spoke at a meeting in Newquay organised by the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), arguing proposals such as Ms Johnson’s bill are aiming to liberalise and decriminalise abortion outright, which would lead to abortion up to birth, sex-selective abortion and abortion on grounds of disability:

Although my diary is already full I will be doing my very best to attend this important debate, vote against the bill, and attend the briefing session. I will continue to do everything I can to see off any extension or further loosening of the rules making it easier to have an abortion.

Changes to Universal Credit campaign

I have recently been contacted by a number of constituents about changes to Universal Credit.

I was sorry to hear of the issues highlighted.

I have now raised this with Sarah Newton MP, Minister for Disabled People and asked her to confirm what exactly is happening with this issue. I will post her reply on my blog once I receive it.

New mothers' mental illness - please write to the Minister for Public Health and Primary Care campaign

I have been contacted by a number of people as part of a campaign about mental illness, new mothers and the renegotiating of the GP Contract.

I was concerned to hear of the points raised.

I am pleased at the good work this Government is doing in bringing parity to the treatment of mental health conditions.

However, I am more than happy to raise concerns with the Minister for Public Health and Primary Care. I have now written to them raising these concerns and asked whether they can be taken on board for the negotiations, as well as asking about the current steps being taken to support new mothers at what can be a very difficult time for them. I will post the response on my blog once I receive it.

Newspaper column 17 October 2018 - My first week at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

Last week I was deeply honoured to sit for the first time on the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. By doing so I also became the first ever Cornish Member of Parliament to do this.

The Council of Europe is an international organisation whose stated aim is to uphold human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe. Founded following inspiration from Churchill in 1949, it has 47 member states, covers approximately 820 million people and operates with an annual budget of approximately half a billion euros.

Unlike the EU, the Council of Europe cannot make binding laws, but it does have the power to enforce select international agreements reached by European states on various topics particularly with regards to human rights.

Although we are leaving the EU next year, we are not leaving the Council of Europe and will continue to be an integral member of this organisation.

At last week’s session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the main issues raised were surrounding Russia and its continual recent flouting of international guidelines. This relates as to whether, given these actions, Russia should be allowed to remain a member of the Council.

During the session I was also able to speak on two other unrelated matters.

Firstly on Thursday I spoke in a debate on the reunification of refugee families. I have always been clear that when people are in very difficult situations such as this, often at their most vulnerable, we should do everything possible to help them.

The Council ended up recommending, among other points, that families must not be torn apart and they should not be prevented from reuniting after an often dangerous departure from their country of origin.

On Friday I thanked the Council of Europe for granting Cornish people protected Minority status in 2014, but highlighted the subsequent lack of progress by successive governments in following through with the Council’s recommendations.

I also raised the current campaign for a Cornish Tick Box as part of the next national census, which along with my Cornish MP colleagues I have been leading the charge on.

It was an interesting week and I look forward to continuing to bring my Cornish perspective to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in future sessions.

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, 10 October 2018

Campaign response - An open letter for Kweku

Over the past few weeks I have received a number of emails from constituents expressing their concerns about the deportation of Kweku Adoboli, a former investment manager and rogue trader who was convicted of illegally trading away $2 billion as a trader for the Swiss investment bank UBS.

Mr Adoboli was due to be deported to Ghana on Tuesday 18 September.

This is because under UK law, if a foreign national is sentenced to more than four years in jail, deportation is deemed to be in the interest of the public “unless there are very compelling circumstances”. Mr Adoboli was found guilty at Southwark Crown Court of two counts of fraud by abuse of position in 2012 and sentenced to seven years for fraud.

Commenting on Mr Adoboli’s case, the Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes MP said: “Although Mr Adoboli’s offence was not one of violence, he committed a serious offence and this was reflected in the length of his sentence. Financial crime, like all crime, has an impact on the society that we live in and the public expects robust action to be taken against foreign nationals who abuse our hospitality by committing crime.”

On the day he was due to be deported, Mr Adoboli was granted a last-minute injunction blocking his deportation. The outcome of his case will now depend on the conclusion of a judicial review on the matter, scheduled for 23 October.

I fully appreciate my constituents’ concerns for Mr Adoboli and will be following the developments of his case closely.

Newspaper column 10 October 2018 - A good conference for Cornwall

Last week I spent time at the Conservative Party Conference, the highlight of which was the Prime Minister’s closing speech.

Although I do not always agree with her, this was definitely Theresa May’s best speech by a long way. Clear and passionate, it set out the positive vision for the future, Brexit and all, that Mid-Cornwall voted for.

There were several headline announcements from the Prime Minister’s speech that are good news for Cornwall.

One that will surely be welcomed by Cornwall Council is that the Prime Minister freed local councils to spark a house building revival by finally lifting the strict cap on their borrowing to fund new developments.

Cornwall already has ambitious housing targets but many houses delivered on the open market are sadly out of reach for many people who already live here. The removal of this cap will mean local authorities such as Cornwall Council will now have the freedom to get more funds for building affordable and social rental houses I hope that this will allow Cornwall Council to help redress the balance and build more affordable houses for local people to live in.

The Prime Minister also confirmed that Fuel Duty will be frozen for the ninth year in a row, something that will be of particular benefit to rural areas like Cornwall, where long car journeys are often a necessity rather than a luxury for day to day living.

We also saw the announcement of a new cancer strategy for the NHS, aimed at increasing early detection and improving survival rates in the UK.

The Prime Minister said that the Government will lower the age of bowel cancer screening from 60 to 50 and invest in new equipment as part of a “step change” in how cancer is diagnosed.

Other announcements coming out of the conference include Secretary of State for Housing James Brokenshire announcing that a New Homes Ombudsman is to be appointed.

The role will specifically address problems of build quality in new homes, and is one that I have campaigned for, including leading a debate in Parliament on it, given that currently new home buyers have less legal protection to them than people buying a mobile phone.

Along with Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling’s announcement of continued Government support for the Newquay-Gatwick route, this was an excellent conference for Mid-Cornwall.

This week I am heading to Strasbourg for my first session as part of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. This will be my first time attending and I look forward to finding more about my role and  how I can bring my Cornish credentials to bear there.

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, 3 October 2018

Newspaper column 3 October 2018 - Newquay-Gatwick route future secured!

This week I am heading off to Birmingham for the Conservative Party Conference.
Conferences are where each of the main political parties holds a national event to discuss its policies for the years ahead.

At Conference I will be looking, as ever, to feedback my experience as Member of Parliament for St Austell and Newquay onto the national scene.

On Monday I was delighted to welcome the announcement by Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling MP, at the conference, that the Government is renewing the Public Service Obligation (PSO) for the Cornwall Airport Newquay to London Gatwick route for another four years.

Public Service Obligation routes are used to subsidise vital air connections and economic and social development in peripheral regions, where a clear business case is put forward.
Cornwall Airport Newquay, continues to grow, with around 460,000 passengers using it in 2017, making it the airport’s best year ever and the fastest growing airport outside of London.

If the PSO had been withdrawn and the service was lost, £50 million could be wiped from Cornwall’s economy with the potential loss of airport and other jobs. 

I have worked long and hard, together with senior officers at Cornwall Council, who are also backing this route to make the case for continuing the Government support for this vital route to Cornwall, meeting the with the Secretary of State and his Ministerial team on numerous occasions at Cornwall Airport Newquay, and am pleased to see they have made the right decision for Cornwall.

The Cornwall Airport Newquay to London Gatwick service will continue to be operated by Flybe and will see daily flights between the two airports, with 3 return flights on weekdays and 2 per day at weekends.

Along with this year’s announcement of the spaceport, and the confirmation that this PSO will include modern jet aircraft, this is all brilliant news for Newquay and Cornwall as a whole.

This is a great endorsement of Cornwall Airport Newquay and the transformative affect its continued growth and success has on Cornwall.

As well as the safeguarding current routes, I am also keen to explore other opportunities.
As Chairman of the Regional Airports All Party Parliamentary Group, one thing of particular interest to me, with around 15% of the new runway capacity set to be used for domestic flights, is that Cornwall will be among the regions with the opportunity to get direct links to Heathrow. In fact that Prime Minister mentioned Newquay specifically when she made her announcement on the third runway, and I will certainly continue to do all I can to ensure we are kept in strong consideration for this additional route in the future.

As well as continued investment in our roads and railway, this is further evidence of this Government’s continued investment in transport infrastructure in, and going to and 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: