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Welcome to the thirty eighth edition of my Westminster Report.
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Tom Pursglove MP's Westminster Report

It's a huge honour and a privilege to be your Member of Parliament for Corby and East Northamptonshire.

Welcome to my Westminster Report, where you can find out more about what I've been doing as part of my Listening Campaign, both in Westminster and across the constituency.

As always, if I can ever be of any help to you, please feel free to contact me at any time using the following details:

Address:
Tom Pursglove MP
House of Commons
London, SW1A 0AA

Email:
pursglovet@parliament.uk

 

Telephone:
020 7219 8043

I also hold weekly advice surgeries around the constituency, and as I said in the run up to the General Election, I remain committed to being Corby and East Northamptonshire's voice in Westminster and not Westminster's voice in Corby and East Northamptonshire.


Now, for some of what I've been getting up to, both locally and in Westminster!

With best wishes,




Tom Pursglove MP
Member of Parliament
Corby & East Northamptonshire


Address:
Tom Pursglove MP
House of Commons
London, SW1A 0AA

Email:
pursglovet@parliament.uk

Telephone:
020 7219 8043

Website:
www.votepursglove.co.uk
Contents:

Introduction

Tom in Westminster

Tom in Corby & East Northamptonshire

Lobbying Campaigns

Tom in the Press
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Last Wednesday was an awful afternoon and my thoughts and prayers are with all those who were affected and their families - particularly those innocent people who lost their lives in such tragic circumstances, and those who were seriously injured in the attack.
 
It is situations such as this which really highlight the bravery of our police force, and the excellent job that they do in keeping us safe. It was devastating to learn that PC Keith Palmer lost his life; doing his job in protecting Parliament, and last Thursday, tributes were rightly paid to him in the House. The sacrifice he made in the service of others must never be forgotten.
 
The Prime Minister summed up the situation extremely eloquently in her Statement the following day and I associate myself with every word that she said - our democracy will never be silenced, or our values defeated.

TOM IN WESTMINSTER
Last Monday in the House, during Education Questions, I spoke about how, the Friday before, I visited Oundle School, which makes a huge contribution to the wider community. I then asked the Secretary of State what role she sees leading independent schools playing in helping to enhance educational opportunities in their localities. In her answer, the Secretary of State outlined that the Government believes that they can play a significant role. She added that, as part of the “Schools that work for everyone” consultation, the Government has had excellent discussions with the independent schools sector, and is looking forward to bringing those to a conclusion. You can see my question and the Secretary of State’s answer, here.
On Thursday, during International Development Questions, I asked the Secretary of State if she agreed that as we leave the European Union, we have a unique opportunity to help to eradicate extreme poverty through free trade opportunities. In her reply, the Secretary of State said that she absolutely agreed, and with it being a very significant day – Article 50 being triggered - it was right to raise this issue. She added that we know through all our work, that to move countries from aid dependency we have to give them economic empowerment and prosperity. She further added that free trade is one aspect of that, along with the other work that the Government does on bringing commerce and new trading opportunities, but education as well, to countries around the world. To my mind, this is one of the most exciting opportunities Brexit presents to make a real difference to the lives of some of the poorest people in the world - you can see my question and the Secretary of State’s answer, here.
Last Wednesday, during Cabinet Office Questions, I asked what steps the Minister’s Department is taking to maximise opportunities for UK industry through cross-Government procurement. I then further asked if the Minister had any early sense of how the new procurement guidelines are bedding down, which Ministers introduced to ensure greater use of British products in public sector projects – something I campaigned hard for. In his response, the Minister said I was right to point out that it was this Government who introduced new guidance to make sure that we could support the UK steel industry wherever possible. He added that this has been well received by the industry, and that he hopes to be able to write to me, quite shortly, with the results of where we have got so far. You can see my question and the Minister’s answer, here.
Last Wednesday, during a Statement on Aviation Security, I commented that Ministers are absolutely right to be uncompromising when it comes to passenger safety. I then asked what consultation was carried out with the airlines before the new regulations were made. In his reply, the Secretary of State said that the Government has been in regular contact with the airlines, and that they had talked to them about the implications of the change. He added that he last had conversations with a number of the airlines the previous afternoon, as did the Aviation Minister, so there has been regular contact with them, in order to get the regulations, and the implementation of them, right. You can see my question and the Secretary of State’s answer, here.
Last Thursday, during International Trade Questions, I highlighted how the United States is the UK’s single biggest export market. I then asked what early discussions the Minister has had with his new US counterparts about trying to secure a timely new trade deal. In his response, the Minister agreed that I was absolutely right to identify the United States as our single biggest trading partner, with 23% of the UK’s exports going to the United States. He then added that the Government are waiting for confirmation of when we can start having conversations. You can see my question and the Minister’s response, here.  Thereafter, during Topical International Trade Questions, I asked what early consideration Ministers are giving to product standards, as part of the EU ‘exit’ discussions. In his reply, the Minister said that the subject of product standards is incredibly important, and he added that the Great Repeal Bill will bring across a great deal of existing EU regulations including product standards rules. You can see my question and the Minister’s response, here.
On Wednesday, the Prime Minister triggered Article 50, beginning the process of the United Kingdom’s formal withdrawal from the European Union. I was present in the Chamber during the Prime Minister’s Statement, in which I thought she outlined a clear and concise plan for Britain’s future outside the EU. I also think it is important to recognise that the Prime Minister made it very clear that we are leaving the European Union, but we are not leaving Europe, and in the future, the UK hopes to enjoy a deep and close relationship with the EU – working together on the basis of friendship and cooperation, and as close friends and neighbours. You can see the Prime Minister’s Statement, here. I do think that, now, regardless of whether people voted ‘Leave’ or ‘Remain’, the British people democratically voted to leave the European Union, and it is time for us all to come together and work constructively for the best ‘exit’ possible.
On Tuesday, I attended a meeting with several representatives from Pancreatic Cancer UK. Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of any of the most common cancers, and is the 5th largest cause of cancer deaths in England.  This is a cause particularly close to my heart, owing to my grandfather passing away from the disease and during the meeting, stark figures such as these were pointed out to me, and it was highlighted how late diagnosis is a major problem. Pancreatic Cancer UK are a charity which aims to fight cancer on all fronts; including support, campaigning and research. They also run the only UK-wide pancreatic cancer dedicated support line, staffed by specialist nurses to provide information, respond to concerns, and to offer support. To find out further information about the great work of this charity, please visit www.pancreaticcancer.org.uk and I will continue to actively support their work in Parliament.
TOM IN CORBY & EAST NORTHAMPTONSHIRE
Further to my special bulletin last week, on Monday, I met with Carole Dehghani, the Chief Executive of Corby Clinical Commissioning Group, to discuss the situation surrounding the Corby Urgent Care Centre. I was pleased to be able to host this meeting, having called for it last week. Not only was I able to secure a further verbal confirmation that the Urgent Care Centre will not be closed as of the 31st March, but I was able to press again, my view, that any outstanding contractual issues should be resolved as a matter of priority, and that discussions should be forthcoming, with a view to reaching agreement. 

Further to that meeting, yesterday, I was delighted to hear that Corby CCG, Nene CCG and Lakeside+ Plus Limited, had announced that they have come to an agreement under which Lakeside+ Plus Limited will continue to operate the Corby Urgent Care Centre and will continue to provide its existing service to NHS patients until at least the 30th September 2017.  It is very pleasing that common sense has prevailed and please see above a copy of the letter that I received from Carole Dehghani, advising me of these latest developments.  Moving forward, and as I have consistently said, I believe the Corby Urgent Care Centre is a vital part of our health infrastructure in North Northamptonshire – not least in relieving pressures on the A&E at Kettering General Hospital – and is a much valued and well used local service.  Corby residents, and those in the surrounding areas, can be assured that I will always stand up for this vital facility – together, we will never stand by and allow this service to face threat of closure, or downgrading.  In fact, I want to see this model adopted and emulated elsewhere, not just in Northamptonshire, but across the country, as it is undoubtedly class leading and a beacon of best practice.

 
I was very disappointed to hear on Wednesday that the planning application for Warth Park, which sought permission for two distribution buildings, on land south of Meadow Lane in Raunds, was approved by the Planning Management Committee. This was despite a superbly well-run local campaign, and local residents’ very strong feelings being expressed that this application should be refused. At the beginning of the month I presented a petition on the floor of the House on behalf of Raunds and Stanwick residents, objecting to this application, having written back in January to East Northamptonshire Council, setting out local concerns and urging that local wishes be respected. There were also objections submitted by both Raunds Town Council and Stanwick Parish Council, as well as local opposition demonstrated at a well-attended protest walk. Although it is entirely right that locally elected councillors on the Planning Management Committee are the ones to make these decisions, I really am extremely disappointed that the concerns of local people have not been properly listened to, despite the decision being far from unanimous.
I have recently received communication from Deloitte regarding Little Stanion. After writing to gain further clarification about when Silentpride Ltd is due to come out of administration, I have received a response outlining that the proposal to exit administration is now with creditors for their consideration, with a view to meeting to approve the proposal on the 7th April. If this meeting is successful, the administration could end within six weeks of that date. Rest assured that I will continue to keep a close eye on this situation and I will post regular updates here.
I have recently received communication from the Department for Exiting the European Union, thanking me for sending a copy of the Steel All Party Parliamentary Group’s 2020 Vision for Steel Report to Ministers for their consideration. The report outlines a number of key measures for Ministers to focus on to get the deal right for steel as we leave the European Union, such as utilising the opportunities that large infrastructure projects present to buy British; making sure the industry has a level playing field to compete on, with robust action on steel unfairly 'dumped' on our market; and ensuring that steel is at the heart of the Government's flagship Industrial Strategy. In the letter, the Department assured me that they would take these points into consideration and would welcome any further analysis and input from the Steel APPG – which is encouraging to hear, and I know that I, and APPG colleagues, will undoubtedly follow this offer up.
It has recently been brought to my attention by a number of constituents that the local services which provide support to people who are suffering from dementia are under threat. These services also provide vital respite for those who care for relatives with dementia, and are highly valued locally – something I know from my visits to our local Dementia Cafes. I have therefore written to Dr Paul Blantern, the Chief Executive of Northamptonshire County Council, Carole Dehghani, the Chief Executive of Corby Clinical Commissioning Group, Jon Wardell, the Chief Executive of Nene Clinical Commissioning Group, and Helen Crawford, the Service Manager for the Alzheimer’s Society in Northamptonshire, to request a meeting in order to discuss this important issue, and to try and identify a way in which funding can be found to secure the future of these valuable services.  I hope that they will be agreeable to a meeting and I will be sure to provide further updates in due course.
LOBBYING CAMPAIGNS
As you might be aware, I am now responding to standard campaign emails via my website, here.  For ease, I also wanted to share the links to the most recent replies, which you can find below:

Breeding and Sale of Pets 09.03.017.pdf


Local Bus Services 15.03.2017.pdf


Israel Apartheid Week 15.03.2017.pdf


Cost of Children's Funerals 20.03.2017.pdf



Private Renting Solutions 20.03.2017.pdf


 
TOM IN THE PRESS
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