It has not been the happiest couple of weeks, dominated by the sad and unexpected loss of my mother after a short illness. It has been a struggle to pick myself up from such a loss, but we carry on.
We now approach the Summer recess from Parliament but there has been much on the agenda over the past few weeks, both in Westminster and locally. It is strange to watch and read media output when you see and hear what is really happening from the inside.
You would think that there is crisis in government, that the Cabinet is divided and that the PM is at risk. Nothing could be further from the truth, as one ‘old hand’ told me recently – there is less tea room chatter about leadership bids than usual! Theresa May is the right Prime Minister, particularly to see us through the crucial Brexit negotiations.
Brexit negotiations dominates thinking, as it should, and I have been keen to meet local fishermen’s representatives and groups campaigning for a proper Exclusive Economic Zone in accordance with international norms. Reports from ministers gives me huge confidence that we will be restoring the 200 mile limit/median line exclusivity under a new Fisheries Policy. This could lead to a new renaissance of local fishing from Ramsgate and Broadstairs as we leave the EU. I intend to be at the forefront of delivering this future for our fishermen.
I’ve had local meetings with various groups. One in particular was with Headway East Kent, a support charity for those who have suffered brain injury. Service users related to me the difficulties they have in obtaining benefits they are entitled to, as their physical condition is often largely unimpaired but they have far from full functioning to be able to find and retain a life in work. Again, I intend to champion their cause.
Another new local group have concerns that the drug and gang culture too often seen in London is rearing its head in Thanet. I will be hosting a summit in the autumn to make progress with the council (TDC & KCC) and local police.
I have been impressed with RiverOak Strategic Partners’ (RSP) consultation roadshows which have now seen 2,000 local residents. I know this is an issue that divides some communities and is a topic regularly featuring in my inbox, but what we have is an ambitious and well thought through plan that could deliver much needed jobs and investment to our area. As is well documented, I am fully in favour of an aviation future for Manston.
I was pleased to facilitate a tour of Parliament for some Canadian residents, the great, great, great grand-daughter of Augustus Pugin. The family had visited St Augustine’s Chapel and Pugin’s house in Ramsgate the week previously. The Parliamentary reception for the King of Spain King Felipe VI was a also unique event to be a part of.
Have a great start to the Summer holidays.