Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Campaign reply - World Cancer Day

A number of constituents have contacted me about World Cancer Day and the Cancer Research UK drop in event in Parliament on 6 February.

I am committed to helping do all we can to fight against this terrible disease.

The event is in my diary and I will certainly attend, Parliamentary business allowing.

Campaign reply - Assisted dying: A family’s perspective on why the law urgently needs to change

I have recently been contacted by a number of constituents asking me to attend a parliamentary drop-on event which calls for legalisation of assisted dying.

I appreciate concerns raised on this very sensitive issue. Coping with terminal illness is distressing and difficult both for the patient and their families. These cases are truly moving and evoke the highest degree of compassion and emotion.

I have a great deal of sympathy for people on both sides of this issue. I have considered my own views very carefully before reaching a conclusion. My personal belief is that I could not support any legislation that would legalise assisted dying. There are many factors that bring me to this view.

The law, which already makes provision for such circumstances, is working, and does not need changing. Assisting or encouraging suicide is a criminal offence under Section 2 of the Suicide Act 1961 for which the maximum penalty is 14 years’ imprisonment. However, the Director of Public Prosecutions (“DPP”) has discretion not to prosecute in certain compassionate cases. 

Guidelines published by the DPP are primarily concerned with advising the Crown Prosecution Service on the factors they need to consider when deciding whether it is in the public interest to prosecute a person for assisting or encouraging another to commit suicide.  The DPP’s policy offers important and sensitive guidance on when to prosecute, but makes clear that assisting a person to die is still illegal and anyone doing this faces the risk of a murder charge if prosecuted.

If, as a society, we made assisted suicide legal, we would in my view, be fundamentally changing the very foundation of our civil society. We would be legitimising the fears and anxieties of so many sick and vulnerable people who worry that they are a burden on those around them and on society more widely. As a compassionate society, our response to suicidal feelings must never be a lethal injection.

For every person that we might consider to have a clear and settled wish to end their lives, there are countless others who are vulnerable, despairing and often lacking in support who may feel under pressure – internal or external – to go through with this decision.

This is the main reason that no major disability group favours a change in the law. This Bill legitimises the idea that suicide is a solution for disability and severe sickness. Where assisted suicide is legal around the world, the data shows that those who choose suicide are almost invariably disabled. They need assistance to live, not assistance to die.

Those who support assisted dying often point to safeguards as the remedy to this problem. But, as years of debate on this issue in the House of Lords has shown, there is no safeguard that would be sufficient to stop a person who feels a burden on their family, friend or caregivers from ending their life; nor can doctors accurately assess this, or worse, pressure or abuse which does regrettably exist, in certain cases.

This is why none of the Royal Medical Colleges support a change in the law. In fact, the British Medical Association, the Royal College of GPs and the Royal College of Physicians, actively oppose such a change for that very reason. Legalising assisting dying would fundamentally change the nature of the doctor/patient relationship. A doctor is not a detective and cannot reasonably be expected to investigate all of the relevant social factors involved in such a grave decision. That would take a close, consistent and long-term relationship which very few doctors have with their patients today. Any suggestion that this fundamental problem can be lessened by the arbitration on by a High Court judge is similarly groundless, as the judge would have even less knowledge and capacity to judge whether pressure, overt or covert, had been placed on the individual.

I am also concerned that, as has been the case in other countries, legalising assisted suicide would lead to demands for legalisation of other forms of euthanasia – for example in Belgium, where in 2002, a euthanasia law was passed for adults, in 2014 – a law was passed enabling children to be euthanized. In Oregon – upon which this assisted suicide law is based - the extension of their assisted suicide law is currently being considered.

In Britain, we lead the world in palliative care. Our response to the physical and emotional pain of terminal illness must be to show compassion by extending and developing this further. Not by letting people die when they most need encouragement and assistance to live.

My view is that if we were to legalise assisted dying we would be crossing a line that would lead to the devaluing of life. This is not something I am prepared to support. Therefore I will not be attending the event.

Campaign response – Will you support The ONE Campaign?

There has been much discussion about our international aid budget lately. Some constituents who are keen to see the money being put into good use have emailed me to ask if I would support the ONE Campaign, which urges the government to guarantee that all UK aid is effective, transparent, and targeted at ending extreme poverty.

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

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

Foreign aid also provides added value to our security and trade policies. Foreign development assistance can often make an important contribution towards in supporting stability and sustainable development for the recipient country, leading to better foreign relations and prospect for a more preferential trade deal with them.

It is in our interest to maintain our foreign aid policy because it also helps to promote UK interests abroad and ensure our position as the world’s leading soft power nation is secure.

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

But I also see the importance of holding the government to account on this matter, which is why I am pleased to inform my constituents that I will be supporting the ONE Campaign and will continue to ask the Department for International Development to give the British public a full account of the way our overseas aid budget.

Newspaper column 30 January 2019 - The EU Citizens Settled Status Scheme

This week will again be a significant time in Parliament as we will once again be considering the way forward for delivering on the decision of the EU referendum and leaving the EU.

I have previously made my position on this issue clear in this column, and as votes will be taking place on Tuesday evening, which falls after the print deadline for the paper, I will await the outcome of events this week and if appropriate comment on them in the paper next week.

However, there were some significant developments on the UK’s preparations for leaving the EU last week with the launch of the EU Citizens Settled Status Scheme, which opened for registration last Wednesday.

This scheme allows EU citizens who currently live and work in the UK to register to remain here. It represents a generous offer to EU citizens and is an important step towards guaranteeing their legal rights after we leave the EU, deal or no deal.

It is important that we send a clear message to all EU citizens currently resident in the UK: you are welcome to stay and we want you to stay.

In Cornwall, EU citizens contribute to many of our industries, from tourism to agriculture as well working in the public sector such as the NHS. I was therefore pleased last week to add my name to an open letter from the Cornwall Leadership Board to all EU citizens in Cornwall that we want them to know they are welcome to stay.

This scheme will enable them to continue making these important contributions to our economy while allowing the Government to respect the results of the 2016 referendum by taking back control of our immigration policy.

The scheme is open to all EU citizens and their family members currently residing in the UK subject to certain criteria.

The Home Office has promised a fast and straightforward online application process.

The original fee of the scheme was set to at £65 per application, with a reduced fee of £32.50 for under-16s. However following discussions with stakeholders the Government has announced that the application fee will be waived so that there is no financial barrier for any EU nationals who wish to stay.

If any St Austell and Newquay residents or employers have any questions regarding their application for Settled Status, they are welcome to get in touch with my office via the details below and I will be more than happy to do my best to assist them.

I am pleased that the government have taken this important step, in good time ahead of us leaving the EU, and that whatever happens in the coming weeks EU citizens can easily secure their right to remain and continue to contribute to our communities and local economy.

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:

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Campaign response - 'Brexit debate on Tuesday'

Some constituents  have contacted me with a campaign  email entitled Brexit debate on Tuesday” asking me to support amendments that will delay Brexit and discount a ‘no deal’ outcome.

I note the genuinely held views of those who are concerned at the possibility of the UK leaving the EU without a deal. However, many of the concerns expressed are based on speculation, assumptions and worst case scenarios. Many of these predictions are made by the same people who have be consistently wrong in the past including when they predicted a recession and mass job losses if we voted to leave the EU. However, since the referendum in June 2016 the UK economy has continued to grow with record levels of employment, inward investment and tax receipts to the Treasury.

Phrases such as “Crashing out of the EU” are unhelpful and wide of the mark. A great deal of preparation has already been made to ensure that if we do leave without a deal. The legislation (article 50 and the EU Withdrawal Act) passed long ago and with a significant majority of the House voting for it makes provision that if we are unable to agree a deal with the EU then we leave on WTO terms. It is not my preferred option and let us all believe the EU (as is their custom) will negotiate with the UK in a meaningful way in the closing days before we leave on 29 March. If not the path forward has been established.

My reasoning for supporting Brexit during the referendum and last election is because I firmly believe it is the right path for the UK to take. However, more importantly, it is not just my view, it is the democratic decision of the British people in the referendum, including a majority of almost 2-1 of voters in our constituency. That decision must be honoured. Change will bring its challenges, it always does, but I am confident that the UK is well placed to face those challenges and set a course for prosperity in the future.

Whilst I note your concerns they are based on the scenarios set out by those who having lost the argument and the referendum continue to spread gloom. The best way I can represent all constituents is by honouring the pledges I made during the referendum and the last election that I would do all I could to ensure the UK leaves the EU and becomes a sovereign nation again. That after all is the wishes of the clear majoity in the constituency.

Campaign response - 'Vote against a deal'

Some constituents have written to me with a campaign email that opens with " As you will be aware, the House of Commons will soon be asked to vote once again on the Brexit deal negotiated by the government."

In the recent vote I did not support the proposed deal. Any deal has to honour the spirit of the referendum result and thus my vote against it.

It may be a deal comes forward that achieves that and it will be sensible for the UK and the EU to have a mutually beneficial agreement. In the absence of that then article 50 already sets out that we leave with no deal. Whilst that is not my preferred option it is an agreed and appropriate way forward.

The EU's standard practice of brinkmanship is well known. If they choose to offer something worthy of support then so be it. If not the road is clear for no deal.

Campaign Response - Amendment E to Withdrawal Agreement

A few constituents have sent a campaign  email asking me to vote for Amendment E tabled by Yvette Cooper.

I will be voting against it for a number of reasons:

Its true motivation is to delay and hinder both parliament and Brexit – the last thing the country needs.

It would seriously weaken our negotiating positon with the EU – an irrational and totally unproductive move.

Article 50, passed by a big majority in the House set out that in the event of not securing a deal with the EU we would leave with no deal and whilst that is not my preferred option it clearly establishes the way forward.

Perhaps more importantly it would override centuries of well establish Parliamentary procedures and ultimately undermine the stability of our democratic institutions that have served our nation well and been respected the world over. Anything that seeks to damage that is unworthy and thus it fails on all accounts.

Monday, 28 January 2019

Campaign response - Independent guardianship for unaccompanied and trafficked children

 Recently a number of constituents have emailed me to share with me their concerns about the Modern Slavery Act and its support provisions for trafficked children.

The Government has assured MPs that it is committed to tackling every form of modern slavery, including child trafficking. The Government has secured commitment from other governments and institutions, including the UN, the Commonwealth and the EU, to tackle modern slavery, and has successfully lobbied for the establishment of the first ever UN Sustainable Development Goal to end modern slavery. It is also working bilaterally with priority countries to deepen law enforcement cooperation.

The Prime Minister has announced a new taskforce to accelerate progress on tackling human trafficking and modern slavery. At the same time £33.5 million of development assistance funding was also pledged to tackle slavery in countries from where we know victims are regularly trafficked to the UK.

In July 2018 the Home Office announced a review of the Modern Slavery Act which will incorporate the section on Independent Child Trafficking Advocates (ICTAs). This review will be published in spring 2019 and will inform the adoption of any additional methods to protect and support trafficked children.

A Home Office spokesperson has said that following this review the department will be looking to introduce “expert ICTA regional co-ordinators” to work with professionals already providing support for victims who have a figure of parental responsibility. They also said that: “This revised model has been developed in close collaboration with Barnardo’s. We continue to gather the views of trafficked children themselves, ICTAs and a range of other stakeholders as we develop the service.”

As this is an important matter for many of my constituents, I will be monitoring the progress of this independent review closely. In addition, I will be seeking to speak about this issue in Parliament and engage with Home Office ministers directly to seek an update on the review when the opportunity arises.

Campaign reply - 'Please fight for our nature'

A number of constituents have written to me with an email entitled “ Please fight for our nature.”

Whilst parliament and the media  have a strong focus on Brexit, the work for me as a backbench MP, continue across a whole raft of activities and agendas. This campaign in support of nature is a welcome and worthy proposition.

The Agriculture Bill, Fisheries Bill and Environment Bill all under the guidance of Michael Gove is an ideal opportunity to set  parameters. Michael has excellent green credentials and has proved himself both a listener and a doer. My experience in talks with him on various matters concerning the environment and beyond has always been positive; his help, advice and support on plastic waste reduction which poses such a threat to wildlife was invaluable. Whilst I commend his stance to date there is more that can be done.

One development here in the Duchy which could prove a vital breakthrough in the progress towards green transport (transport accounts for around one third of Co2 emissions in the UK) is the prospect of commercial extraction of lithium - a key material used in batteries. With the prospect of the electric car becoming the norm very soon, lithium will be in high demand. Further, Boeing has made further announcements about its all electric aircraft – again the greening of our transport is under way and in my role on the Transport Committee I continue to promote green transport as part of the strategy towards a better environment for us all.

We are set to leave the EU on 29 March and will then be free to set our own laws and regulations to ensure that nature and our environment is protected and supported for the benefit of everyone.

Campaign reply - 'Article 50 Delay'

A number of constituents have written to me with an email entitled “ Article 50 delay.”

Frankly I could not agree more. I will not support an extension of Article 50.

Leaving the EU was set out long ago and voted for overwhelmingly by the House by triggering Article 50 in March 2017, thus:

If a deal cannot be struck then Parliament has already legislated through the EU Withdrawal Act that we will leave with no deal. Only primary legislation could change that. Leaving with no deal is not my preferred option but it is a perfectly acceptable one if it comes to it. The notion that we should delay is at best unhelpful and at worst designed only to frustrate the clearly expressed views of the electorate in the referendum.

I continue to do all I can to ensure we leave with the EU on 29 March with a deal that honours the referendum result or on WTO terms.

Newspaper column 23 January 2019 - Further negotiation on Brexit

Last week we certainly had an eventful week in Parliament. 

On Tuesday the government lost the vote on the EU Withdrawal Agreement. As I have previously set out I do not believe this ‘deal’ delivers on our commitments in the 2017 election to deliver a full and clear Brexit and therefore I voted against the deal. 

This was followed by Jeremy Corbyn calling a vote of no confidence in the government on Wednesday in which I supported the government. The government won this vote with the support of the DUP. Something we could not have been sure of if the deal had been voted through.

Meanwhile, as always it was great to get back to Cornwall on Friday. I had the opportunity to visit a number of places involved in supporting our young people.

I was delighted to visit Penrice Academy to speak to pupils and teachers about the need to live more sustainably by reducing the amount of plastic we use and throw away.

I also spoke at the launch of the new Cornwall Careers Hub, which brings businesses and education together to help prepare our young people for the world of work. I also visited the refurbished House Youth Project with Young People Cornwall which provides a large number of support services for our young people.

All of these facilities are providing important and valuable services to help our young people get the best start in life and great credit must go to all the dedicated staff who run these services.

On Monday the Prime Minister returned to Parliament to update MPs on her Brexit negotiationsClearly having lost the vote last week I was keen to hear what the Prime Minister had to say. 

I was pleased that in her statement the Prime Minister made clear that she could not rule out a No-Deal option for Brexit.Ruling out No-Deal essentially ties our hands when it comes to negotiating for Brexit and is not something I could support.

The Prime Minister has also said she is continuing to negotiate on changes to the Irish backstop. The removal of the backstop, or the inclusion of a clause allowing the UK to unilaterally leave, as part of a legally binding clause of the treaty is something that would bring me closer to being able to support the deal.

Finally, I was pleased to see the Prime Minister once again rule out a second referendum and delaying our departure or revoking Article 50. One thing that is clear is that the Members of Parliament who sadly seem set on sabotaging our historic democratic system by finding technical means within the Parliamentary legislation to delay or frustrate Brexit are undermining the trust of the British people in our democracy. 

Delaying our leaving the EU by postponing Article 50 or holding a second referendum does not deliver the Brexit that Mid-Cornwall voted for in 2016 and to me is completely unacceptable. I will continue to do all I can to ensure we leave the EU on time and in a positive and clean manner. 

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:

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Campaign response - 'Beyond bricks: mental health and housing event'

I have recently been contacted by a number of constituents asking me to attend the Beyond bricks: mental health and housing event in the House of Commons on Tuesday 5th February hosted by Mind, the mental health charity, and Clive Betts MP.

This is certainly something I have an interest in attending in order to better inform me on what can be done national and locally to improve the living environments for people with mental health conditions.

I will endeavour to attend the event, Parliamentary business allowing.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Campaign reply: 'The DVLA are stalling on new diabetes monitoring technology .'

A number of constituents have written to me regarding "The DVLA are stalling on new diabetes monitoring technology ."

Diabetes as we all know is a debilitating disease which afflicts the lives of many people. I have direct experience as a close family member has the condition.

The latest monitoring technology has transformed the lives of many people, helping them live better lives with much improved control.

This should be recognised by the DVLA. Whilst offering general guidance for the wide spectrum of the condition is a complex matter, I will be asking ministers and their staff to ensure progress is made to bring the guidance up to date.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Campaign reply - Budgets for children's services

I have recently been contacted by a number of constituents about funding for children services at local authorities.

The decisions on budgets for all services run by local authorities, including Cornwall Council, are rightly local decisions made by councillors and officers.

Clearly there are many pressures on public spending and ever increasing demand in a number of areas including this one.

Ultimately the decision on the level of funding for these services is a matter for Cornwall Council within their £1.4 billion budget.

Clearly we want to see children's services properly funded within the overall level of funding available but it is for Cornwall Council to set the Budget responsibly, which Councillors have a chance to vote on every year.

Cornwall Council is currently going through its preliminary Budget setting plans for the financial year 2019/2020. I would also advise that you contact your own Cornwall Councillor, who will be able to feed in direct to this process.

You can find out who your Cornwall Councillor is by following the below link:

I hope this is helpful in outlining my position on this matter and giving further steps that residents can take to highlight this with Cornwall Council.

Campaign reply - 'Message from constituent'

A number of constituents have written to me with a campaign email on Brexit with the title in the subject line “ Message from constituent”.

The PMs deal was heavily defeated in the house because it failed to deliver on the referendum result in a meaningful way.

Immediately following the vote, the PM threw down the challenge to the opposition parties to hold a vote of no confidence in the government. The government won.

I note the comments on no deal being “ a disaster” but no evidence is provided. On any account I disagree.

There are no circumstances where I will support a call to amend or withdraw article 50. There was overwhelming support in the house to enact it – not least because it honoured the result of the referendum. It is incumbent upon all MPs (whatever their own personal views) to honour the result of the referendum and ensure the UK leaves the EU either with a deal worthy of Brexit or leave on WTO terms. I will do all I can to do just that.

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

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 :

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:

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.