My Week 22/11/2017
Last week I flew to Moscow to speak at a World Health Organisation conference on TB. Opened by President Putin, the event was attended by 75 Ministers of Health from around the world, demonstrating that at last tuberculosis is getting the high level attention it needs.
I returned to the constituency on Friday evening and on Saturday spoke at a Pulborough Conservatives lunch. We heard from a fellow parliamentary candidate, Theo Clarke, who described the shocking abuse and intimidation to which she had been subjected during the election campaign.
On Monday I attended a briefing by a Foreign Office Minister on the situation in Zimbabwe. I visited the country 8 years ago, and re-reading my diary (which you can find on my website here) I was reminded of the terrible self-inflicted wound which Mugabe’s violent land grabs caused, collapsing agricultural production and the economy.
On Tuesday the House of Commons resumed its lengthy debate on the Brexit Bill. This time the lawyers were out in force to discuss the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, so the speeches were even longer.
The Government has made clear that all existing rights will be protected. My view remains that the Bill is necessary to ensure a sensible translation of the huge body of EU law that has applied in the UK for decades into our own law when we leave in the Spring of 2019.
This week I joined my fellow West Sussex MPs Nicholas Soames and Jeremy Quin to take the leaders of Horsham and Mid Sussex District Councils to see the Communities and Local Government Secretary, Sajid Javid, to discuss housing and planning.
Amongst their messages was that we must have the infrastructure to support the increasing housing numbers which we are being required to accept, and that developers should be compelled to use planning permissions they have been granted. I hope we see further action on these issues in this week’s Budget.
Just before the Chancellor speaks, I will be meeting representatives of the Church Commissioners to be briefed on their controversial plans for development between Barnham, Eastergate and Westergate.
On Friday I will be in Steyning, holding my ‘surgeries’ for constituents, meeting the Chief Constable and convening a summit on teenage mental health.
In the evening I will attend a ‘thank you’ event for volunteers in Pulborough, and on Saturday evening I will attend a Conservatives’ event at Coolham where we are looking forward to hearing from the new MP for Chichester, Gillian Keegan.