Monday, 27 January 2020

Campaign reply - Clean air and healthy lungs in St Austell and Newquay


Thank you to those constituents who have written to me as part of a campaign titled ‘Clean air and healthy lungs in St Austell and Newquay’.

I will support measures to tackle air pollution and smoking and improve the care received by thousands of people in St Austell and Newquay who live with a lung condition.

I will certainly endeavour to attend the Taskforce for Lung Health’s parliamentary reception on Monday 27th January 2020, Parliamentary business allowing, in order to find out more about what I can do to support this cause.

Campaign response: ‘Will you join Crisis in Parliament and help end homelessness in 2020?’


Thank you for those constituents who have recently contacted me as part of the campaign ‘Will you join Crisis in Parliament and help end homelessness in 2020?’

I am happy to attend the drop in event on 25 February, Parliamentary business allowing and see what more I can do to support people out of homelessness.

I am clear that one homeless person is one too many, and that we need to find genuine solutions that actively support these people out of the situations they find themselves in.

Campaign reply: End Our Pain "Please help severely ill children still being denied NHS access to medical cannabis"



I have been contacted by a number of residents as part of the campaign End Our Pain "Please help severely ill children still being denied NHS access to medical cannabis".

As per earlier contact on this matter, constituents may be interested to know that the Home Secretary last year confirmed that there will be a review on the scheduling of cannabis.

This step is in no way a first step to the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use and the government has absolutely no plans to legalise cannabis and the penalties for unauthorised supply and possession will remain unchanged.

However, if the review identifies that there are significant medical benefits then the Government does intend to reschedule.

As a Parliamentary Private Secretary for the Department of Health I am aware of these matters, but am not in a position where I can attend events or sign letters asking the Government to review its policy.

In a February 2019 commission, the Home Secretary asked the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) to:

‘provide an outline for an assessment framework. This should set out how the ACMD will assess the various impacts of rescheduling cannabis-based products for medicinal use to Schedule 2 under the 2001 Regulations, and the data sources (including those provided by the Home Office and DHSC) the ACMD will use by November 2019?’

In December 2019 the ACMD provided an outline assessment framework for the assessment of the impact of rescheduling cannabis-based products for medicinal use, and will use it to provide a full report assessing the impacts of the rescheduling of CBPMs to Schedule 2, by November 2020. I have linked to the framework below:


I will view the results of this report with interest and trust that the government will then act based on the outcome.

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Response to multiple campaigns on refugee children/unaccompanied refugee children



In recent weeks I have received a number of different campaign emails from constituents concerning Child refugees and the Lords amendments to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill on the issue.

I refer them to my most recent responses of 9 and 16 January.

Constituents will now be aware that the Withdrawal Agreement Bill has passed through both Houses and is awaiting Royal Assent before it becomes Law.

I would like to remind them that I did not vote against the Commons and Lords amendments on child refugees because I do not want the UK to offer safe routes to sanctuary to child refugees. On the contrary, I have always made clear that I want our immigration, asylum and refugee policies to demonstrate compassion to those to most need our help. For instance I am immensely proud of our country’s record of giving sanctuary to thousands of Jewish children and families fleeing from the Holocaust during the War.

The Government also has strong record on supporting the most vulnerable children. The UK has granted protection to over 41,000 children since the start of 2010.

In 2018, the UK received over 3,000 asylum applications from unaccompanied children – 15% of all asylum claims from unaccompanied children across the EU – making the UK the third-highest intake country in Europe.

Intake in the year ending September 2019 rose to over 3,500. 

I voted against the amendments because the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which seeks to facilitate a smooth and orderly Brexit and allow the Government maximum flexibility to negotiate with the EU, is not the right place for an amendment that would effectively tie the Government’s hands even before the negotiations commenced.

Furthermore, our helping child refugees should not be considered a primarily Brexit issue. I certainly do not want to see it be politicised to the same degree as Brexit has been. The principle of showing compassion to child refugees that something that MPs across the benches can agree on.

The Government has made it abundantly clear that it remains absolutely committed to seeking an agreement with the EU which will enable unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in an EU Member State to be reunited with specified family members in the UK, where it is in the child’s best interests, and for children in the UK to be reunited with family members in an EU Member State in equivalent circumstances.

I would also like to address the popular misconception that Section 17 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act as it originally stood guaranteed the family reunion rights of unaccompanied children.

It did not. It simply required the Government to seek to negotiate an agreement with the EU – section 17 did not guarantee the rights of these children and it is not possible to do so without an agreement with the EU.

The Government has repeatedly stated its commitment to seek an agreement.

It is important to note that any future agreement with the EU is a matter for negotiations, and not within the gift of the UK Government alone.

Similarly, the new Clause 37 of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill does not remove any such rights.

Moreover, Clause 37 goes above and beyond the previous obligation in section 17 in that it provides a statutory guarantee that Parliament will be updated on the Government’s policy regarding family reunion for unaccompanied children within two months of the Bill's passage, giving Parliament the opportunity to provide scrutiny to the progress of the Government’s negotiations with the EU to seek an agreement on child refugees.


Campaign reply - “It's Time to Stand For The Trees and ReThink HS2, before it's too late.”


Thank you to those who sent me a copy of the campaign email entitled “It's Time to Stand For The Trees and ReThink HS2, before it's too late.” My concern is that it appears that an opinion has been formed on a prejudged perspective. This is always  difficult as no amount of explanation or facts will shift opinions.

HS2 Ltd have taken more care and trouble over the routes and the impact it has than any other railway ever built in the UK and possibly in the world. They care. They are obliged to under the remit given. For instance, HS2 has focused on the "green corridor"  which will deliver the project that "respects" the natural environment. That covers all manner of issues besides trees, but it demonstrates the care and trouble being taken. For example, it has taken great care to move animals, such as the Great Crested Newt, away from the line and created  new habitats.


On trees, HS2 will plant seven million new trees - a mix of species including holly, hazel, dogwood and oak. This is double the number that might be felled.

One aspect of this campaign that troubles me is that train travel is one of the most environmentally friendly travel options and it seems perverse for any environmentalist to oppose it.

We must also bear in mind that there is growing concern over build costs and the government is urgently reviewing this. It might not go ahead. I will take a keen interest in following this if only on cost grounds as I am content with other aspects of the project originally inspired by the last Labour government – other than the oft repeated routine failure to estimate likely final costs.

For those who have troubled to send me a copy of the campaign email I believe it shows your keen interest in our environment. My interests are similar for I have long since been involved with various environmental groups such as Greenpeace and Ocean Conservation hosting events in Parliament and lobbying ministers on a range of related issues. I also take practical steps by organising events in the constituency. Campaign emails have become part of our democracy but far more telling is what we all actually do to improve our environment. With that in mind I would be delighted if you would join me and my team of volunteers on beach cleans and the like. Details of upcoming events can be found here: https://www.stevedouble.org.uk/

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Newspaper column 22 January - Flybe


Last week was dominated by issues around Flybe, both concerning their overall operation and then once that was resolved the decision on the future of the destination airport for the crucial Newquay-London air route.

I was concerned about the issues surrounding Flybe and the financial challenges they were facing. When I heard of the situation last Monday I make contact with Government Ministers and raised the issue in Parliament at the first opportunity.

As co-Chair of the Regional Airports All Party Parliamentary Group I am very aware of how crucial Flybe, as the UK’s biggest domestic carrier, is to the future of our vital regional airports like Cornwall Airport Newquay – where they account for more than 70% of passengers who go through the airport. I am pleased this was recognised and swift action taken by the government to ensure that Flybe could continue to operate.

The daily route linking Cornwall to London is backed by the Government through a Public Service Obligation. I was pleased to have it confirmed that this was secure as the Aviation Minister stated in response to my question in Parliament.

However, we also need to look at why airlines such as Flybe are struggling. The UK has the highest Air Passenger Duty (APD) in Europe and one of the highest in the world.

The aviation industry is taking action to reduce emissions and they need our support, not to be taxed out of business. If they cannot invest in new, cleaner aircraft they will continue to use the older more polluting ones.

We need to work with the industry towards net zero in 2050 not crash the economy in the process. I have been campaigning for the past three years for the government to reduce APD, particularly on domestic flights where passengers are charged on both legs of a return journey. I am pleased that as part of the arrangements made with Flybe the Government has committed to review regional aviation connectivity including a review of APD.

Once the wider issue on Flybe’s continued operation was confirmed, on Friday we heard about decision to switch its London route from Newquay back to Gatwick.

I appreciate many will be disappointed at losing the link to Heathrow. As someone who worked hard to secure the landing slots as Heathrow for the Newquay route this time last year, I share the disappointment. However, in the light of the events of last week the priority has to be securing the viability of the airline for the future whilst securing the best arrangements possible for Cornwall.

The package of new routes and additional flights, including a daily link to Amsterdam, together with securing the four times a day link to one of the major London airports provides the best available option for Cornwall. It also allows passengers to plan their flights to and from London after March.
I have been working hard behind the scenes for some time to seek to keep the route at Heathrow but having met with representatives of Virgin, the major shareholder in Flybe I have had to accept that the proposed changes provide the best way forward for both the airline and Cornwall. I know there had been growing frustration among many passengers at not being able to book flights for the spring and summer. At least now this uncertainty is removed and people can plan and book their journeys.

I will continue to work with all concerned to ensure the best outcomes for Cornwall Airport Newquay and the Cornish 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 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

Monday, 20 January 2020

Campaign reply - Please take action on baby loss


Thank you to all those constituents who got in touch asking me to attend the baby loss charity Sands All Party Parliamentary Group event on baby loss in Parliament on 27 January.

I am very supportive of this issue, but sadly am required to be in the Chamber of the House of Commons in my role as Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Department of Health and Social Care at this time, so will be unable to attend.

I will use my role in the Department of Health and Social Care to continue to address this important matter on behalf of the many families affected.

Please attend the next APPG - Tuesday 21 January 2020



Thank you  to those who sent me a copy of the campaign email regarding the  All Party Parliamentary  Group (APPG) for Ancient Woodland and Veteran Trees.

My interest in protecting our environment and improving it are well known and I continue to work with conservation groups such as Greenpeace and the Ocean Conservation APPG.

There is much to do in this area and one I have focused on is the reduction of single use plastics and the prevention of plastic pollution in waterways, oceans and countryside. We should see shortly the introduction of reverse vending machines to increase recycling rates of plastic bottles – millions are sold each day in the UK. All these measures help protect, improve our environment as well ensuring the removal of harmful and unsightly litter.

The APPG for Ancient Woodland and Veteran Trees is another worthy cause and whilst I will endeavour to attend the AGM I am already fully committed with other Parliamentary business.

For those who have troubled to send me a copy of the campaign email I believe it shows your keen interest in our environment and with that in mind I would be delighted if you would join me and my team of volunteers on beach cleans and the like. Details of upcoming events can be found here: https://www.stevedouble.org.uk/

Campaign response – Please repeal the Minimum Income Requirement and bring families together

Recently a number of constituents have written to me about their concerns for the minimum income requirement British citizens must earn in order to be able to bring their non-EEA spouses to join them in the UK.

Since July 2012 the UK’s Immigration Rules have required non-EEA nationals to satisfy a financial, ‘minimum income’ requirement in order to secure a visa to join a British/settled spouse or partner in the UK.

Though the government at the time contended that financial requirement supports integration and prevents a burden being placed on the taxpayer, since the introduction of the minimum income requirement, there have been several legal proceedings against it.

In 2017 the Supreme Court found that the minimum income requirement is acceptable in principle. It ruled that the government policy strikes a fair balance between the interests of those wishing to sponsor a spouse to settle in the UK and of the community in general. It ensures that taxpayers are not required to support those settling in the UK on Family visas and the policy promotes integration.

However the Court did require the Government to make some changes to the Immigration Rules and associated policy guidance.

Amended Immigration Rules and policy guidance came into effect on 10 August 2017.

Since then, if an application cannot meet the financial requirement through the five sources specified in the Immigration Rules, decision-makers (i.e. Home Office officials and caseworkers) are instructed to consider whether there are “exceptional circumstances” which could or would render a refusal decision a breach of human rights (ECHR Article 8).

If the decision-maker considers that refusal would result in a breach of the Article 8 rights of a relevant party, they must grant the application, even if the financial requirement is not met.

The Government has recently commented this subject: “We continue to keep the family Immigration Rules under review and make adjustments in light of feedback on their operation and impact.”

At the same time, I fully understand the strength of feeling in this matter and I have always made the case that at the Home Office needs to take into greater consideration the interest of the family in its immigration decisions.

After Brexit we will be regain the ability to build a fairer and more compassionate immigration system. Where there are genuine and good reasons for immigration in the UK, such as for family purposes, we must look to ensure that any unnecessary obstacles are removed so that we will continue to be welcoming and open nation.

I will monitor closely the impact the minimum income requirement has on families in the constituency and speak up in support of them where possible.

Campaign response – Animal cruelty sentencing




Thank you to constituents who have got in touch with me about the proposals being put forward by the government to increase maximum sentences for animal cruelty from 6 months to 5 years in England and Wales.

They told me that they “welcome the commitment by the government to pass legislation to increase the maximum sentence for animal cruelty from 6 months to 5 years” and ask if I would support the passage of this legislation and work to ensure that its passage prioritised.

I am pleased to inform constituents that I will be giving the Government my backing on this matter and I will be seeking to speak to ministers about prioritising the passage of the legislation.

I welcome the strong commitments to improving Animal Welfare as set out in the Queen’s Speech in December. In addition to introducing tougher sentences for perpetrators of animal cruelty, the government is also committed to consulting on improving the welfare of live animal transport and to banning the keeping of monkeys as pets and the import and export of hunting trophies.


Thursday, 16 January 2020

Campaign reply - Animal cruelty sentencing


Thank you to those who have sent me a copy of a campaign email regarding animal cruelty sentencing.

Animals are mentioned many times in the Conservative manifesto and as an animal lover I welcome the actions proposed. The document sets out :

Animal Welfare:

High standards of animal welfare are
one of the hallmarks of a civilised
society. We have a long tradition of
protecting animals in this country,
often many years before others follow.
Under a Conservative Government, that
will continue – and we will continue to
support such efforts overseas.

We will introduce tougher
sentences for animal cruelty.

 We will crack down on the illegal
smuggling of dogs and puppies.

 We will bring in new laws on animal
sentience.

 We will end excessively long
journeys for slaughter and fattening
– one of the many benefits of
leaving the European Union.

 We will bring the ivory ban into
force and extend it to cover other
ivory-bearing species, and ban
imports from trophy hunting of
endangered animals.

 We will ban keeping primates as pets.

 We will bring forward cat
microchipping, giving cat owners
peace of mind and increasing the
measures we have available to tackle

I have already led a Westminster Hall debate calling for banning of live animal export for slaughter and will continue to support legislation that improves the lives of animals and was delighted to hear the Prime Minister make reference to banning this during Prime Ministers Questions.



Campaign response – Letter from your constituent



Thank you to the constituents who have contacted me about child refugees and possible amendments from the Lords on this issue.

I have been always been clear that we need a new immigration system that is robust and effective while being compassionate to those who most need our help.

For instance I am immensely proud of our country’s record of giving sanctuary to thousands of Jewish children and families fleeing from the Holocaust during the War.

I will be meeting with representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in London this week to discuss this issue and I look forward to working with them and other agencies to ensure that the UK’s policy on child refugees is fit for purpose.

I refer constituents to my most recent response to a very similar email campaign titled “Email your MP: Save refugee family reunion”:

“I fully understand how important and emotive an issue like child refugees is to many, and I welcome the Government’s confirmation that its policy on child refugees has not changed and that it will continue to do all it can to enable children to claim asylum and be reunited with their families. It is in both the UK and the EU’s interest to continue cooperation on asylum matters after Brexit.

In response to a Labour MP’s questioning on this matter during the Second Reading of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, the Prime Minister said in the House Commons:

“We remain absolutely committed to ensuring that this country will continue to receive unaccompanied children. We have led Europe and received thousands already—this country has a proud record—and we will continue to do so.”

The UK has made a significant contribution to protecting vulnerable children, providing protection to more than 39,500 children since the start of 2010. In 2018, the UK received the third highest number of asylum claims from unaccompanied children in the EU.

The Government remain fully committed to relocating 480 children under section 67 (also known as the Dubs Amendment) and are continuing to make progress to achieve that objective.

Answering another MP’s questioning, he added:

“We remain proud of our work in receiving unaccompanied children. We will continue to support fully the purpose and spirit of the Dubs amendment, but this is not the place—in this Bill—to do so. The Government remain absolutely committed to doing so.”

In Boris Johnson I see a Prime Minister who will be more liberal, open and compassionate when it comes to immigration, asylum and refugees matters, than many previous Conservative Prime Ministers.

I also agree with him that the Withdrawal Agreement Bill is not the right place to debate family reunification of child refugees or asylum seekers. The Bill is narrow in scope – it is fundamentally about facilitating as smooth and effective a Brexit as possible.

I voted against the amendments on child refugees not because I am against the resettlement or family reunification of child refugees, but because I believe that it would be wrong to bind the Government’s hands in any way as it seeks to negotiate an effective Brexit.

There will be many future opportunities to discuss the very important issue of child refugees, such as the various stages of the Immigration and Social Security Bill, and to build on the work that our country has already done to help refugees and refugee children.

Since 2016, Britain has resettled more refugees from outside Europe than any other EU state and we will continue to do all we can to help the world’s most vulnerable.

The newly announced Global Refugee Resettlement Scheme, which builds on the incredible achievement of resettling over 20,000 vulnerable refugees through the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme(VPRS) and Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme (VCRS), will help thousands more people fleeing conflict and persecution, including children, to build a new life in the UK.

It might be of interest to constituents that in the previous Parliament, I sat on the Bill Committee for Angus MacNeil MP’s (SNP) Private Member’s Bill on Family Reunion of Refugees and had meetings with groups like the British Red Cross and the UNHCR to understand the need for vulnerable refugees around the world to be reunited with their family members in the UK. In the past two years I have also been working with a cross-party group of MPs including Tim Farron MP (Liberal Democrats) and Kate Green MP (Labour) on various immigration, asylum and refugees issues, through my participation on the All Party Parliamentary Group on Migration and on the RAMP Project.

The UK has a proud history of welcoming and supporting those who are most in need of protection. I will continue to engage with the issue of children refugees and work with MPs from other parties to make sure that we are giving safe sanctuary and pathway to family reunification for refugees, while restoring the public’s trust in our asylum and refugee system by ensuring that it is done in a fair and managed manner.”

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Newspaper column 15 January - Community Pharmacies


The first week of the new year in Parliament last week was a busy one, with the Brexit Bill passing through the House of Commons and now undergoing debate in the House of Lords. This was a significant step forward and all is now on course for us to leave the EU at the end of this month.

As well as supporting this momentous Bill I was also pleased to question the Prime Minister in the chamber and again get his support on preserving and enhancing the replacement for EU funding for Cornwall, as well as for our transport and health infrastructure after we have left.

Over the weekend it was great to get an update on the community pharmacist consultation service (CPCS), which was introduced in October 2019. The service enables NHS 111 health advisers to refer patients with minor illnesses to their local pharmacy for assessment and treatment. It is something I pushed for as part of my role as Vice Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Pharmacies, a group of MPs from different political parties who work together to raise awareness of the role of pharmacies, and to promote pharmacists' current and potential contribution to the health of the nation.

Since the scheme began I have been pleased to see that 114,275 patients with minor illnesses or who needed medicines have been referred to a local pharmacist as part of it.

The appointments involved 64,067 urgent medication requests for conditions, such as diabetes or asthma and 50,208 people with a minor illness given clinical advice, such as for a sore throat or earache.

CPCS is funded as part of the £2.5 billion per year in the community pharmacy 5-year contract agreed last year. The role of pharmacists is an important part of the NHS Long Term Plan, encouraging the public to make better use of clinical expertise closer to home, as pharmacists are highly skilled health professionals who have 5 years of training, giving them expert knowledge on how to use medicines to support patients.

At a time where our local hospitals are busy due to increased use brought about by winter pressures, the successful results from the CPCS as shown above will undoubtedly help ease pressure on hospitals such as Treliske as well as community hospitals such as those we have in St Austell and Newquay.

I will continue to do all I can to highlight and promote the work of our excellent community pharmacies, both in Cornwall and across the country, and ensure that they continue to receive their fair share of funding in the future.

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

Campaign response - Email your MP: Save refugee family reunion



Thank you to the constituents who have contacted me about their concerns over child refugees and the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.

I fully understand how important and emotive an issue like child refugees is to many, and I welcome the Government’s confirmation that its policy on child refugees has not changed and that it will continue to do all it can to enable children to claim asylum and be reunited with their families. It is in both the UK and the EU’s interest to continue cooperation on asylum matters after Brexit.

In response to a Labour MP’s questioning on this matter during the Second Reading of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, the Prime Minister said in the House Commons:

“We remain absolutely committed to ensuring that this country will continue to receive unaccompanied children. We have led Europe and received thousands already—this country has a proud record—and we will continue to do so.”

The UK has made a significant contribution to protecting vulnerable children, providing protection to more than 39,500 children since the start of 2010. In 2018, the UK received the third highest number of asylum claims from unaccompanied children in the EU.

The Government remain fully committed to relocating 480 children under section 67 (also known as the Dubs Amendment) and are continuing to make progress to achieve that objective.

Answering another MP’s questioning, he added:

“We remain proud of our work in receiving unaccompanied children. We will continue to support fully the purpose and spirit of the Dubs amendment, but this is not the place—in this Bill—to do so. The Government remain absolutely committed to doing so.”

In Boris Johnson I see a Prime Minister who will be more liberal, open and compassionate when it comes to immigration, asylum and refugees matters, than many previous Conservative Prime Ministers.

I also agree with him that the Withdrawal Agreement Bill is not the right place to debate family reunification of child refugees or asylum seekers. The Bill is narrow in scope – it is fundamentally about facilitating as smooth and effective a Brexit as possible.

I voted against the amendments on child refugees not because I am against the resettlement or family reunification of child refugees, but because I believe that it would be wrong to bind the Government’s hands in any way as it seeks to negotiate an effective Brexit.

There will be many future opportunities to discuss the very important issue of child refugees, such as the various stages of the Immigration and Social Security Bill, and to build on the work that our country has already done to help refugees and refugee children.

Since 2016, Britain has resettled more refugees from outside Europe than any other EU state and we will continue to do all we can to help the world’s most vulnerable.

The newly announced Global Refugee Resettlement Scheme, which builds on the incredible achievement of resettling over 20,000 vulnerable refugees through the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme(VPRS) and Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme (VCRS), will help thousands more people fleeing conflict and persecution, including children, to build a new life in the UK.

It might be of interest to constituents that in the previous Parliament, I sat on the Bill Committee for Angus MacNeil MP’s (SNP) Private Member’s Bill on Family Reunion of Refugees and had meetings with groups like the British Red Cross and the UNHCR to understand the need for vulnerable refugees around the world to be reunited with their family members in the UK. In the past two years I have also been working with a cross-party group of MPs including Tim Farron MP (Liberal Democrats) and Kate Green MP (Labour) on various immigration, asylum and refugees issues, through my participation on the All Party Parliamentary Group on Migration and on the RAMP Project.

The UK has a proud history of welcoming and supporting those who are most in need of protection. I will continue to engage with the issue of children refugees and work with MPs from other parties to make sure that we are giving safe sanctuary and pathway to family reunification for refugees, while restoring the public’s trust in our asylum and refugee system by ensuring that it is done in a fair and managed manner.


Thursday, 9 January 2020

Campaign Response - Invitation to the 2020 Open Doors World Watch List launch


My thanks to the many constituents who wrote to me about the important issue of persecuted Christians, with an invitation to the Launch of Open Door’s World Watch List, over the Christmas period.

Having attended launches of the WWL in previous years, I am pleased to inform them that I will be attending this year’s launch event and hosting the Open Doors reception for church leaders in Parliament.

Constituents will be aware that in my speech of July 2019 regarding the Bishop of Truro’s report on the FCO’s support the persecuted Christians, I was proud to highlight the vital and tireless work of organisations like Open Doors in bringing this issue to the public’s attention, year after year. I am sure constituents were as pleased as I was to hear the Prime Minister use his Christmas Message to highlight the worldwide persecution of Christians and the need to take urgent action.

As a former church leader and a long-time champion of the freedom of religion and belief, constituents can have my complete assurance that the plight of the persecuted church will remain high on my agenda for this new Parliament, and that I will continue to work with the government to take action to tackle religious persecution.


Campaign reply - Withdrawal Agreement Bill


A number of constituents have sent me a copy of a campaign email regarding a proposed amendment by Caroline Lucas on Withdrawal Agreement Bill.

Ms Lucas is well known for her opposition to leaving the EU and not honouring the referendum result. In light of the recent general election result it is saddening if not unsurprising that there continues to be attempts to frustrate and confuse the process of leaving.

Hundreds of hours have already been spent debating Brexit and whilst the Bill should go through due process I have every confidence that the matters raised in this campaign email will be fully considered and debated.

Scare stories about plans the government has on the future of the UK outside the EU have always been spurious. Ms Lucas latest contribution is unhelpful.