My Week 22/06/2017
On Monday and Tuesday this week I chaired a conference at Wilton Park in my constituency entitled ‘Time to End TB’.
The event was convened by the Global TB Caucus, a group which I set up nearly three years ago and co-chair with South Africa’s Health Minister.
It brought together UN and WHO officials, leading doctors, scientists and charities from around the world to discuss how to end tuberculosis, the word’s biggest killer of all infectious diseases which claims 1.8 million lives a year.
On Wednesday the Queen’s Speech rightly reflected the terrible tragedies which have befallen this country over the past few weeks, with an emphasis on safety.
The Government will initiate a full public inquiry into the terrible fire at Grenfell Tower to ascertain the causes, and ensure that the appropriate lessons are learnt.
To support victims, the Government will take forward measures to introduce an independent public advocate, who will act for bereaved families after a public disaster.
The need to fight terrorism is also high on our minds. The Queen’s Speech pledged a commission to help stamp out extremist ideology, together with a review of counter-terrorism strategy to ensure that the police and security services have all the powers they need and that the length of custodial sentences for terrorism-related offences are sufficient to keep the population safe.
The issue of police funding has been raised, so it is important to note that the police budget is now protected - as counter terrorist policing always has been - while funding for the security services has been substantially increased.
I was pleased that the Queen’s Speech reiterated the commitment “to ensure that … all schools are fairly funded” and that there was no reference to the plan which suddenly appeared in the Conservative Manifesto to make non-fracking drilling permitted development. Both are significant for us in West Sussex.
I was also pleased that, while a ‘confidence and supply’ arrangement - not a coalition - is negotiated with the DUP, the Queen’s Speech stated that the Government would “make further progress to tackle the gender pay gap and discrimination against people on the basis of their race, faith, gender, disability or sexual orientation.”
On Thursday I will be holding surgeries in Storrington. On Friday I will be attending the Arundel & South Downs Conservative Association’s Summer Lunch, which will be addressed by Tom Tugenhadt MP, and will be speaking at a reception in Arundel in the evening.
On Saturday I will be attending the grand opening of Arun Veterinary Group’s new surgery in Westergate.