Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Newspaper column 16 January 2019 - The long term plan for the NHS


My first week back in Westminster following the Christmas Recess was a very productive one with lots going on both in Cornwall and in London.

Whilst Brexit continues to dominate things in Parliament, with the next few days likely to be decisive, I want you to know that I continue to work on a number of other issues relevant to our constituency.

In Westminster I met with Suez, the company that manages all of Cornwall household waste and runs the incinerator at St Dennis, to talk about their waste and recycling strategies and raise concerns about the recent issues with the incinerator’s power generation. I also visited the RAF Benevolent Fund HQ to discuss the work they are doing to support service personnel, veterans and their families.

Meanwhile in Mid-Cornwall I joined residents at a meeting at Pentire Headland to discuss planning and enforcement issues with Cornwall Council, and met with management at Polkyth Leisure Centre to raise concerns about the future use of the sports hall.

At the beginning of the week I welcomed a major government announcement when we saw the launch of the NHS 10-year plan, which provides a clear plan of how we will deliver an improved health service. Following the recent announcement of the record funding increase for the NHS it is also vitally important that we spend this money wisely. This includes measures to improve prevention to avoid people falling ill and avoid suffering heart attacks, strokes and dementia as well as providing better access to mental health services for adults and children.

The plan focuses on building an NHS fit for the future by enabling everyone to get the best start in life, helping communities to live well and helping people to age well.

The plan has been developed in partnership with frontline health and care staff, patients and their families. It will improve outcomes for major diseases, including cancer, heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease and dementia.

This Government has already put real terms increases of funding into Cornwall’s NHS and we have seen tangible outcomes from this, including the construction of the inpatient mental health facility for young people which is due to open this year. In December we also saw confirmation of £40.4m of NHS Capital funding for Cornwall, which will go straight to improving vital facilities around our county. Apart from investment, a long term plan is crucial though, so the Government and NHS can think ahead to further support our crucial health services for ours and future generations.

Of course, improving outcomes for patients is not just about putting more money in, it is important we also spend it in the right way and I welcome the focus of this plan in helping people to be healthier as well as improving treatments.

As ever I will be working with my Cornish MP colleagues to do everything we can to ensure that Cornwall benefits from this national strategy in the years to come.

My team and I are here to serve the whole constituency and work hard to make a real difference to the lives of everyone needing support. The office is open to the public Monday – Friday 10.00am – 4.00pm (no appointment necessary). If there is an issue you would like my assistance on then please, either visit the office or contact me on either 01726 829379 or office@stevedouble.org.uk. Additionally, I hold regular, appointment only, advice surgeries across the constituency. Dates of these can be found at: www.stevedouble.org.uk/events


Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Campaign reply - Immigration and our NHS


As the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination bill is due for its Second Reading in the Commons this week, some of my constituents concerned about the bill’s provisions for the NHS have emailed me to ask if I would speak up to ensure “we have the nurses and care workers we need” and “our future immigration system doesn't threaten already struggling hospitals and care homes in our area”.

I recognise importance of the issue of immigration and that we get things right as we leave the EU with Parliament set to take on a bigger role in scrutinising the work of the Home Office. Central to this is ensuring that we have the right people with the skills and talents we need to meet the needs of our economy and public services.

I recently met with representatives from the health and social care sector in Cornwall, who told me that there is an urgent need to ensure any future immigration system takes into account of the challenges of the ageing demographic in Cornwall and the SW.

I am glad that the Government decided in June to abolish the Tier 2 numerical cap on doctors and nurses from non-EU countries, which means that key shortages in the NHS can now be filled more quickly by the talents we need overseas.

However, I would like to see further reforms in the system that will allow skilled nurses and carers from both EU and non-EU countries to be given opportunities to contribute to our NHS after Brexit. I will for example be calling for the Government to review its Tier 2 salary limit of £30,000 and consider regional differences in earning levels to ensure that Cornwall does not lose out to places like London where average earning levels are higher.

Brexit gives us a once in a lifetime opportunity to build a fair and effective immigration system that works for everyone. We need to look at how we can encourage more of our own young people to train and take up careers in our NHS, but it is clear to me and many in the sector that in the short term we will need to look at immigration arrangements that will ensure that our NHS has the staff it needs to continue delivering quality care and services.

I would like to thank my constituents who have taken the time to write to me about this issue and I look forward to voicing their views on the NHS and Immigration in Westminster.


Monday, 14 January 2019

Campaign response - 'U-turn on Brexit'

A number of constituents have written to me with an email saying they have changed their minds about the vote on Tuesday 15 January:

I look back at what was said at the last election in manifestos and in my own statements. As a backbencher I am unable to speak for others, however I remain committed to seeing through the Brexit that the majority voted for across the country and in the constituency.

The current deal does not fulfil a meaningful Brexit as thus I cannot support it. I have made a statement :

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

The best way for the UK to pull together is for everyone to recognise the decision made at the referendum and accept that in a democracy the majority must hold sway.

We will unlikely agree on this however I appreciate you contacting me and if there is anything else I can help you with please be in touch.


Campaign response – Respect the Result


With Parliament set to vote on the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal this week, a number of concerned constituents have emailed me to urge me to vote to reject the deal.

In their emails they told me that “The proposals for the agreement that have been released do not match the expectations set by the PM during her Lancaster House speech, and in cases do not match up with the promises made by the government during the last general election. A vote for this agreement would be a vote to: 1. Give the EU £39 billion for almost nothing in return 2. Treat Northern Ireland differently than the rest of the UK 3. Tie us to the customs union and EU laws, preventing international trade deals, and in contravention of the 2017 Conservative manifesto. This is not what I, nor any of 17.4 million I know, voted for in 2016.”

I find myself yet again in total agreement with what my constituents have said. Readers of this blog will be aware of my intentions to vote against the deal and the reasons for opposing the deal. I am grateful to my constituents who have taken the time to write to me about their views on the Brexit deal and I hope I can count on their support as we progress towards Brexit. I would like to assure them that I will continue to work to deliver a meaningful Brexit that respects the result of the referendum.

Campaign reply - 10 Year Plan for the NHS

I have recently been contacted by constituents about the 10 year plan for the NHS that was announced on 7 January.


I welcome the recent launch of the 10-year plan for the NHS, which provides more detail of how we will deliver on our promises to increase funding for the NHS. This includes measures to prevent 150,000 heart attacks, strokes and dementia cases, and better access to mental health services for adults and children.

This Government has already put real terms increases of funding into Cornwall’s NHS and we have seen tangible outcomes from this, including the construction of the inpatient mental health facility for young people which is due to open this year.

As ever I will be working with my Cornish MP colleagues to do everything we can to ensure that Cornwall benefits from this national strategy in the years to come.

Improving outcomes for patients is not just about putting more money in, it is important we also spend it in the right way and I welcome the focus of this plan in helping people to be healthier as well as improving treatments.

Campaign reply 'My Thoughts on Nrexit'


A number of Constituents have written to me with an email entitled, “My Thoughts on Brexit.”

I have now had the time to read and consider the Brexit deal proposed by the Prime Minister.
I have come to the conclusion that this is not something I can support.

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

I have been privileged to be returned to serve the good people of the St Austell and Newquay constituency in Parliament twice, in 2015 and 2017.

Both times a large part of the manifesto I stood on, the Conservative Manifesto, was on the delivery of a Referendum on our Membership of the EU and then the delivery of the decision of the British people.

The UK, Cornwall and our constituency in particular voted to leave the EU.

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

More so, it keeps us in a Customs Union, expressly against the Conservative 2017 Manifesto and commitments made numerous times by the Prime Minister.

Whilst this is presented as a transitional arrangement the fact is that we would not be able to leave without the agreement of the EU. This is not regaining our sovereignty.

Further I believe the fishing community has been let down by this deal and left in a position where the future control of our waters and therefore the future of this industry is very much in question. 

This is not what we were promised when the Prime Minister visited my constituency in 2017.

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

My hope is that the Government will understand that this proposed deal is not acceptable to a majority of MPs, nor I believe the British people and go back to the EU to renegotiate a better deal that does deliver a true Brexit.

Sadly, there is currently no sign that they are prepared to do this.

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

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Campaign response: Help us protect all young people and close the loophole


Some of my constituents concerned about the inability of Protection of Trust law to safeguard our children have written to me to seek my support of the NSPCC’s Close the Loophole Campaign.
                           
They informed me although the law may protect children in the classroom, as it stands it is inadequate in protecting children against other adults in positions with similar power and influence, like a sports coach or youth group leader can legally use their position to groom children in their care.

For instance, police are currently unable to investigate more than 650 complaints made to councils about adults having sex with teenagers in their care made between 2014 and 2018 because of this legal loophole. The NSPCC has said that it is aware of many cases of young people whose lives have been negatively impacted by adults abusing their position of power.

Keeping young people safe and protected from abusive behaviour of adults is important to me, and that is why I am happy to say to my constituents that I will be supporting the Close the Loophole campaign. I have now contacted the NSPCC’s public affairs team to inform them of my willingness to work with them to address this issue in our justice system.

More information about the NSPCC’s campaign and how you can get involved can be found on their website: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-we-do/campaigns/close-the-loophole/


Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Statement on the attempt to block a No Deal Brexit

Yesterday the Government was defeated in the vote on amendment 7 to the Finance Bill in relation, which limits the Treasury power to make tax-related changes in the event of a no deal Brexit.

Many of my constituents have expressed their concern about the progress of Brexit followings yesterday’s events and what implications it may have for our departure from the European Union.

Clause 89 of the Finance Bill enabled the Treasury to alter regulations around taxation that currently involve the EU without consulting Parliament. Amendment 7, tabled by Yvette Cooper and voted for by 303 to 296 MPs, withholds these powers unless either the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal has been passed, Article 50 has been extended or MPs have voted to approve a no-deal Brexit.

In theory, this amendment has the potential of making more difficult for the Government to mitigate the damage of no deal. If the Treasury is unable to alter the wording of tax regulations that mention the EU, they might no longer be able to collect certain taxes, for example.

Upon closer examination of the amendment however, it is clear that its provisions only apply to minor tax laws and do not prevent the taxes from being raised, as had previously been expected. That means its actual impact on the government’s powers to raise and collect taxes are going to be relatively minor.

It is important to note that in and of itself, the amendment carries no legal provision to prevent us leaving the European Union without a deal.

The legal positions remains that we will be leaving the EU on 29th March this year, whether or not we have reached an agreement with the EU. The only way to change this would be through a specific act of Parliament – legislation of this nature can only be moved by the government.   

Whilst I am not in favour of a disorderly Brexit and would prefer to leave with an agreement that provides as smooth a transition as possible. However, the withdrawal agreement, as it stands, does not fundamentally deliver on the legitimate outcome of the 2016 referendum. No deal does not necessarily mean that we are worse off, if we are given time and resource to manage an orderly Brexit on WTO terms. I am pleased that the Government is clearly making preparations in readiness for us to leave the EU with or without an agreement.

Those who support the amendment and argue no deal must be ruled out now appear to be in disagreement with each other over what the alternative might be: Are they going to vote for a withdrawal agreement to prevent a no deal, or are they going to try to reverse the will of the British people by extending Article 50 or worse still, calling for a second referendum?

In my view those who supported this amendment have been reckless in seeking to hinder no deal preparations. However, I am content that their actions will amount to very little impact. Please be assured that I will continue to fight to ensure we deliver on the referendum and leave the EU at the end of March.


Newspaper column 9 January 2019 - The Meaningful Vote


This week Parliament sits again following the Christmas Recess.

It has been good to be able to be home in Cornwall over Christmas and New Year, not only to be able to have time with family and friends but also to be out and about in the constituency and attend a number of local events.

Thank you to everyone who has been in touch with me recently or has come to speak to me either at my local advice surgeries or when you have seen me around.  I am always so grateful for the welcome Anne and I receive and the kind words of encouragement we so often hear from local people. It is always important to me to hear from you, the people who elected me, so that I am able to effectively represent you in Parliament.

Next Tuesday sees the ‘meaningful vote’ in Parliament on the EU Withdrawal Agreement, ahead of our leaving the EU on 29 March.

After having considered the Deal when it was first presented to Parliament in November I was clear that as it stood, I could not support it.

This was primarily due to the ‘backstop’ in the deal, which could leave our country without a set date to cut all ties with the EU, at the mercy of unelected bureaucrats in Brussels to determine when we could finally leave. This would also undermine our negotiating position in agreeing a future deal and I believe would particularly leave our fishing industry in a vulnerable position. As such, the deal would leave us in a no-man’s land of being neither in nor fully out, as well as keeping us indefinitely in the customs union which goes against our 2017 manifesto commitment. 

In the weeks since the Deal was first announced, the EU has given no sign it will be altering its position. Whilst the Prime Minister has been seeking reassurances from the EU, these do not change the fundamental flaws in the agreement. Therefore, as it stands I can confirm that when the Deal comes to the vote in Parliament next week I will not be supporting it.

As the Prime Minister has said many times previously No Deal is better than a bad deal and is still an option. I am pleased to see that the Government is now making the public aware of the preparations that have been put in place for such an outcome should it be necessary. Indeed, should Parliament not be able to agree on a Deal, then No Deal is the default legal position. A great deal of work has already taken place to prepare for a no deal Brexit and it wrong to present this as some sort of cliff edge we are not prepared for.

Whilst leaving without an agreement is not the preferred outcome, it is not something we as a country should be afraid of. However, I believe that in the run up to March we will see an escalation of scare-mongering for what Brexit and a no-deal Brexit will mean from those who wish to overturn the democratic decision our country made in 2016.

It is important to note that these doom-mongers have been proved to be wrong time and time again. Whether that be those predicting an immediate economic crash should we vote to leave in 2016, or the more recent claims that our drinking water and medicinal supplies are at risk with a no deal outcome (something which the NHS has specifically denied), these people have been proved wrong again and again. I hope people will see these attempts for what they are. Whilst there will of course be challenges should we leave without an agreement in place, we also need to be positive that we are well placed to cope, and the more preparations that are put in place then the smoother our exit will be.

My hope remains that if the Withdrawal Agreement is voted down next week, that the Prime Minister will then return to the EU and get a better deal that delivers on the referendum result and does not tie us indefinitely to the EU. If she can secure this then I will be pleased to support it. However if the EU continue to be unwilling to change their position then we should make clear to the EU leaders that we will be leaving and if that means leaving without a deal then so be it.

I remain committed to delivering of the result of the referendum and doing all I can to ensure we leave the EU in March in the most positive way possible.


Campaign response - 'Suggestion For Wording of 2019 EU Referendum'


A number of you have written to me about Wording of 2019 EU Referendum on Brexit. I acknowledge the strong feelings held by many on both sides of the debate and whilst I have genuine interest in all points of view expressed I also need to see it in light of my own convictions and the overwhelming support given to Leave in the constituency during the referendum.

There is no necessity to have a second referendum. This is a deeply flawed premise and therefore whatever flows from it, is equally flawed. We were all asked a simple question – one that everyone could understand and weigh for themselves. People chose. Leave won the argument. It was the biggest democratic turnout in our thousand year old democracy. The people have spoken and now it is incumbent on all politicians to act on those instructions. As a candidate at the last election I made clear my intention to pursue a meaningful Brexit – and received an increased majority – the largest the constituency has ever known. The idea that I should now support asking those same people if they knew what they were doing is not a serious proposition.

The salient point that comes through in emails, letters, meetings and whilst I am walking around the constituency is that above all else – above politics, money, the economy and so on, is that people want their country back; sovereignty; secured borders; our own law making – and I agree.

All the complex flow charts and arguments and “new points of view” can and will never change that.


Campaign response - 'Leave means Leave'

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Campaign response - “Stop the madness or at least let have a 2nd people vote!!!”


A number of constituents have written to me with a campaign email entitled “Stop the madness or at least let have a 2nd people vote!!!”

The decision to leave the EU was always a contentious matter with opinion divided between political parties, families, spouses and communities. Recognising that, listening to and having regard for those views has helped me reaffirm my own long held view that we must leave the EU – for the good of the UK and not least to honour the referendum result. Looking at suggestions for a second referendum I  disagree with both the sentiments, statements and the arguments put forward. The country is  not “in a complete mess”  and I perceive that in an attempt to persuade themselves and others of the merits of a second referendum a negative narrative is being fostered in the hope it will repaint the reality that is the UK:

Record numbers in employment.
Record level of minimum wage
Record sums going into the NHS
New schools and roads of the Duchy and more on the way
Record levels of inward investment
Record tax receipts to the Treasury – business is doing well

And all this despite the Remain forecast that 500,000 to 800,000 jobs would be lost immediately if the UK voted to leave the EU.

If any of us decide to rely on negative and frankly false stories then no wonder you feel concern. Where the word “risk” is used replace it with opportunity and let us remember that change is always a challenge. There will be a transition period as we leave the EU. There will be challenges but that has to be seen in light of the opportunities that await us.

Much is said about our economic future and whilst I firmly believe we will prosper, countless constituents are in touch saying even if that is not the case they want to see the UK become a sovereign nation again. We can have both.

The arguments around a second referendum have been played out many times before and I have commented on it before:


One further thought is that just as many feel so strongly about a re-run of the referendum or simply want to remain in the EU so there are overwhelming numbers of those who write with an opposing view. I copy below an extract of an email I recently received from a Leave voter complaining about the current situation and their displeasure:

Told consistently that I didn't know what I voted for. I did know!
Accused of being ignorant!
Accused of being a racist!
Subjected to being accosted in the street by ' people's vote' activists!
Told that we will  not have medicine, food and security with no deal! All lies!
Still, to this day, been continually harassed by 'project fear'


However you voted in the last election or the referendum and whether you agree or disagree with my long established stance on leaving the EU and no to a second referendum I will always be pleased to hear from you and do my best to take your views into account whilst at the same time honouring the promises made at the last election and during the referendum.



Monday, 7 January 2019

Campaign response - Stop UK Aid Funding Palestinian Terrorism

Recently I have been contacted by constituents concerned about the alleged misuse of UKAID to fund activities carried out by the Palestinian Authority related to terrorism.

They informed me that “the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance (IMPACT) reported that school books encouraged Palestinian children ‘to sacrifice their lives in the name of religion’ and glorified martyrdom and violent resistance … Additionally, the UK government continues to deny the link between payments to Palestinian terrorists, guilty of the most heinous crimes and UK aid, including payments to two men who murdered Kristene Luken and brutally attacked British citizen Kay Wilson”

These are serious allegations and warrant a full response from the Government and time for Parliament scrutiny.

My constituents may know that I am vocal supporter of UKAID. I am proud of our commitment to spend 0.7% of our budget in international aid, which is helping to build a safer, healthier, more prosperous world for people in developing countries and in the UK.
However, any misuse of the aid budget undermines trust in taxpayers’ trust in the government ability to deliver on our international humanitarian commitments.

I have already written to the Secretary of State for International Development to draw her attention to this matter and will be informing my constituents of her reply in due course.  

I will also do my best to be in the chamber for Louise Ellman MP’s Ten Minute Rule Bill on this matter on Tuesday 8 January 2019, subject to other parliamentary commitments I have on the day.

I would like to thank my constituents for drawing my attention to this important matter

Campaign reply - Grey Squirrels


A number of constituents have written to me regarding the welfare of grey squirrels.

All wild life deserves to be treated wherever possible in a kind and considered way. There are of course exceptions such as the eradication of vermin.

Careful consideration must be given around the grey squirrel. This non-native species has multiplied into large numbers throughout the UK and has driven out the smaller native red squirrel. Other species are also impacted such as ground nesting birds.

The balance of nature is always something that must be given careful consideration so that it can be maintained in stability. I am content that all these matters have carefully contemplated

Campaign reply - "Please support a new EU referendum."


A number of constituents have written to me asking " Please support a new EU referendum."

The campaign for a 2nd referendum on our membership of the European Union has been well covered. My position on this has not changed, and is very unlikely to do so. However, I lay out below my reasons why I do not support another referendum.

84% of all votes cast at the last election were for parties who said they would implement the result of the referendum. The mandate is overwhelming. The call for yet another test of public opinion is disingenuous. It is led by those who have never accepted the outcome of the referendum and seek to overturn it.

This suggestion of asking people again is often patronising : the argument that people "didn’t know what they were voting for," apart from being hugely demeaning to the 17.4mllion people who voted to leave,  and is quite frankly bizarre. "The voters don’t know what they voted for so let's ask them again!"

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

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

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

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

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

I, 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.


Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Newspaper column 2 January 2019 - Looking ahead to a busy year


I trust you have had an enjoyable Christmas. It was certainly good for me to be able to be at home in Cornwall and spend some time with my family as well as being able to attend a number of local Christmas events and services.

I will shortly be returning to Westminster as Parliament will be sitting again, with what is likely to be an historic session.

As we enter a New Year I wanted to lay out some of my hopes and aims for 2019 and the things I will be working on as your representative in Parliament.

Brexit feels like it has been the backdrop to my whole Parliamentary career and clearly will continue to dominate the coming months. But 2019 will be the year we deliver Brexit. It is enshrined in law that we will be leaving the European Union in March 2019, and I remain determined that leave we will.

I have had cause to be outspoken during the recent debate around the Withdrawal Agreement. I am not alone in my concerns. To me the deal that is currently being proposed does not deliver on the result of the 2016 Referendum. It is not the clean and positive Brexit that Mid-Cornwall voted for and as such it is not something I can support.

Moving away from Brexit, we need to consider where we will be after 29 March 2019 and there are a number of major projects that are coming closer in Mid-Cornwall that I have been working towards.
The planning application has now been submitted for the £80m link road to the St Austell area from the A30. This is a significant step forward in see this important new piece if infrastructure completed and I look forward to continued progress and all being well work commencing towards the end of the year.

Our airport continues to play a vital role in local economy and 2019 should see further progress. In the Spring we will see the return of the Heathrow route. This is great news, particularly for the business community and I look forward to seeing the benefits this will bring to Cornwall. I also hope for more progress to be made on the Spaceport Cornwall Bid, which if successful will see Newquay become the base for the UK’s first horizontal satellite launch facility. With the recent success of partner Virgin Galactic’s shuttle trial, could space tourism be within reach for Cornwall?

I was disappointed to see the Office of National Statistics in December release a White Paper that did not commit to a dedicated Cornish Tick Box in the national census. However I immediately met with the Cabinet Office Minister and have secured a meeting with the ONS and leading members of the Cornish Tick Box campaign in the New Year to continue to make the case and push for a positive outcome. I also look to continue to sit on the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to champion Cornwall and properly realise the ethnic minority status that this body granted the Cornish.

I am sure that 2019 will prove to be another busy, challenging and exciting year in politics. Whatever the coming year brings I will continue to represent you and be your strong Cornish voice in 
Westminster. I will always remember that I am a Cornishman first and foremost and do all I can to deliver the investment and support from government our constituency needs. I will never forget that you, the people of mid-Cornwall are my boss and my priority is to serve and represent you.

As always my door is open throughout the coming year. If you feel I can help with any matter or you simply what to make me aware of your concerns or views please get in touch – email office@stevedouble.org.uk or phone 01726 829379