Nick's Week

There's still a fortnight to go before Christmas, but I've already had five festive lunches or dinners, with more to come.  By the time I get to the day itself, I can barely look at turkey!

After a visit to a charity fair in Walberton and lunch in Findon on Saturday, I went to Petworth to see their Christmas lights being switched on.  It was encouraging to tour their shops and see new and diverse businesses opening in the town in spite of the economic climate.

This followed a busy Friday in the constituency where, in addition to my usual surgeries, I went to Slindon C of E Primary School.  I met members of the School Council and enjoyed answering their very challenging questions.

Later, I met Adam and Rosie from Duncton C of E School who quizzed me about climate change.  I was incredibly impressed with their knowledge and understanding of the issues.

After that I went to join a celebration of the recently finished works at Burton Mill Pond.  The site is a particularly beautiful part of the South Downs and we were all delighted to see, after a local battle, that the end result has not spoilt the landscape.

On Sunday, in addition to ploughing through the usual Ministerial red box, I appeared on the BBC's Politics Show to discuss Police and Crime Commissioners.  The presenter and quite a few people who watched the programme commented on the picturesque backdrop of Arundel's streets - a reminder of how lucky I am to represent this constituency.

On Monday I appeared on BBC2's Newsnight to discuss a new report on the summer riots.  I argued that the rioters weren't the victims - those were the people who lost their property to mindless and inexcusable vandalism and looting.

On Tuesday I replied to two Commons debates, one on sport and crime, the other on police stations.

As I write, I'm on the train back from a Ministerial visit to Sheffield where I saw a restorative justice programme in action, ahead of a speech I'm giving this week to the Magistrates' Association.

This Friday, I'll be back in the constituency for meetings and surgeries, including collecting a cheque for the St Barnabas Trust, and I'm looking forward to two more Christmas dinners! 

Christopher N Howarth