My Week 19/11/2015

The terrible events in Paris last weekend have dominated the news and discussion in Parliament.  The debate on whether the Commons should now authorise military action against ISIL in Syria has re-opened.

I strongly believe that we must confront and defeat those who are threatening our citizens and committing appalling human rights abuses in Syria and Iraq.

When our neighbours are brutally attacked, and tens of thousands of refugees arrive at Europe’s borders in desperate circumstances, we are reminded that the conflict in the Middle East has consequences for us which we cannot just ignore.

On Friday I will be hosting a ‘digital access summit’ with the South Downs National Park Authority.  We will be discussing how to ensure that rural areas are able to get fast broadband.

The Government is already committed to ensure that 95 per cent of premises will be able to receive superfast broadband by 2017.  Our concern is about rural areas like the South Downs which will miss out - and that it will be many more than 5 per cent of premises. 

Recently the Prime Minister announced that the ‘universal service obligation’ will be upgraded so that fast broadband speeds of 10Mbps will be guaranteed at affordable prices for the hardest to reach homes and businesses.

I am very pleased that the Minister for the Digital Economy, Ed Vaizey MP, has accepted my invitation to speak at our summit.  We’ll be looking forward to hearing from him how the new broadband commitment will be realised.

This weekend my Christmas events begin in Eastergate, Pulborough and Wisborough Green.  On Saturday morning I will also be calling in on the Christmas Market at Grittenham Barn, which is in aid of the wonderful Sussex Snowdrop Trust.

Next week I and other West Sussex MPs will be meeting the Farming Minister to discuss the threat of Bovine TB locally.  On Wednesday the Chancellor will announce his Spending Review.

One good piece of news locally is that he has already confirmed the roads investment programme, so the A27 upgrade is going ahead as previously announced, with work on the Arundel bypass due to start in Spring 2020.

Nick HerbertBroadband, A27 Bypass