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Welcome to the forty ninth 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

Corby Urgent Care Centre Update

Tom in Corby & East Northamptonshire

Lobbying Campaigns

Tom in the Press
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TOM IN WESTMINSTER
Today, I was very pleased to be able to contribute to the Second Reading of the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill. This Bill was introduced by one of my parliamentary colleagues, Chris Bryant MP, and seeks to make assaulting emergency workers such as police, fire and ambulance workers a statutory aggravating factor. This would mean that when a person is convicted of assault, the judge must give consideration to the fact that it was committed against an emergency worker as an aggravating factor when determining the sentence for the particular offence. This Bill is something I wholly support, and I believe that our emergency workers do a fantastic job, working tirelessly to help us all and keep each and every one of us safe, and it is right to send the important message that assaults on our emergency workers will not be tolerated, with proper punishment for those who break the law.
 
As someone whose parents were both police officers, I am very aware of how important it is that those who go out and are protecting us, day in, day out, receive proper protection as they go about their daily work, and I was pleased to bring that personal dimension to the debate. In my remarks, I also highlighted how I have seen the vital work our emergency services do first hand, such as a few months ago, when I spent a night out on patrol with local police officers in Corby. Going out on this night shift was an eye opening experience, particularly seeing the challenges and risks these police officers face on a daily basis, and how volatile some situations can be.  
 
I very much welcome the awareness that this debate has brought to this issue - our emergency services do so much for our local communities and they really do deserve the best protections the law can give them. In my speech, I set out a particular area where I believe the Bill could be improved, around verbal assault and a seeming loophole in the law as it currently stands, as highlighted locally by the treatment of one of our excellent local police officers, Candice Liverpool. 
 
Going forward, I will continue to do all that I can to ensure the Bill passes into law - our emergency services workers are the best of British and we must make sure the law is the best it can possibly be, in order to back them to the hilt.
 
You can see my speech,
here.
On Monday, during Home Office Questions, I pointed out how the Minister is currently considering an application to bring closer together fire and policing functions in Northamptonshire, put forward by Stephen Mold, the Police & Crime Commissioner for the county, and I commended that to him in the strongest possible terms. I then asked what benefit he sees that sort of amalgamation bringing to the delivery of emergency services on the ground. In his reply, the Minister said that he sees a major benefit in increased accountability and transparency for the people of Northamptonshire, and that there may also be significant financial benefits just from the efficiencies that such services can find together. He added that he has found from going around the country and talking to forces, in areas such as Northamptonshire, that are doing great work on collaboration, that there is so much potential. You can see my question and the Minister’s answer, here.
On Monday, during a Statement on the future of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran in light of President Trump's announcement that he would not certify to Congress that Iran are complying with the deal, I asked the Minister if his understanding was the same as that of the EU High Representative: that no one country has the authority to veto the deal. In his reply, the Minister said he thought it was, in that we were all signatories to the deal, and he added that no one wants to see one party come out of it unilaterally, but if one did and others thought the same, that would undermine the deal. He continued to say that the Government very much wants to keep the provisions of the JCPOA going, as it provides a degree of certainty about Iran’s nuclear programme, and it does not close off other opportunities to deal with issues. The Minister added that at the meeting in New York, Foreign Minister Zarif made it clear that his state had issues too, and he indicated that if the agreement was thrown up in the air and there was a renegotiation, Iran wanted to bring many other issues into the conversation. He also explained his view was that we should keep the JCPOA and make sure that we are open to talking about those different issues; he continued to say that he did not get the impression from Secretary of State Tillerson that he was averse to continuing conversations with Foreign Minister Zarif. Finally, the Minister said that this would give us the opportunity to make progress with the many different voices in Tehran and to move forward with those who foresee a different future for Iran if there are changes in its relationships to its neighbours in the region, to the benefit of all and the security of the rest of the world. You can see my question and the Minister’s comments, here.
On Monday evening, I was pleased to be able to contribute to the debate about the Nuclear Safeguards Bill. During my contribution, I highlighted how I am regularly asked by constituents what progress is being made on Brexit, and I pointed out that this Bill represents perhaps our first substantive policy debate at Second Reading on an issue that matters to our constituents on a day-to-day basis.
 
This is not simply an abstract issue, but one that affects people’s lives and livelihoods – it is relevant to keeping the lights on and to the jobs of thousands of people directly employed in the nuclear sector. This issue is also relevant in the context of supply chains - for example, tons of steel is used in nuclear projects, and is therefore also important to those whose jobs are throughout the supply chain; a point I thought it was crucial to highlight during the course of the debate.
 
I also highlighted how this Bill is important because of the Article 50 requirements, and that it is vital, for both wider business and the sector, that there is as much certainty and continuity as possible, which is what this Bill seeks to achieve. I added that, as a country, we will continue to adhere to the high, internationally recognised, standards set down, and it is excellent that the Government supports their replication as we leave the EU. I also maintained that it is in our interests to have sensible strategic cooperation in the future on these matters with our European neighbours.
 
This Bill has several aims - it will ensure that the UK continues to meet its international obligations on nuclear safeguards as they apply to civil nuclear material through the International Atomic Energy Agency; to maintain the UK’s reputation as a responsible nuclear state that supports international nuclear non-proliferation; and to protect UK electricity supplied by nuclear power. During the debate, I maintained that we should all be supportive of this Bill, as it is one of contingency and establishes a framework we can fall back on, should the concluded negotiations not allow us to remain an associate member of EURATOM. Ultimately, we lead on research, innovation and science, and we bring a lot to the table – this should not be disregarded lightly, and who knows what the negotiations will yield, but it is right that we get this in place.
 
You can watch my contribution to the debate,
here.
On Tuesday, I had a very productive meeting with Paul Maynard MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rail, Accessibility and HS2, regarding the Midland Mainline from Corby to London. This was an excellent opportunity for me and several colleagues, whose constituencies are also along the Midland Mainline from Corby to St Pancras, to raise a number of issues that have been brought to our attention by constituents, as part of the ongoing consultation on the future franchise agreement. In particular, I made it very clear to the Minister that, going forward, we need the service to continue to be as quick, and to look towards improving journey times too. I also highlighted how we need more services to and from London, and also more services running northbound from Corby. These are key issues which have been highlighted to me by local people and I will continue to keep pressing these points. In fact, I have also written to the Minister this week, thanking him for the meeting and endorsing the submission to the consultation made by Corby Borough Council, which encapsulates these points.
On Tuesday in the House, during a Statement on International Investment, I asked the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy if he would say a little more about the role of the Government's new flagship Industrial Strategy in helping to harness international investment into the UK - good for jobs, prosperity and opportunity for people across the country.  In his reply, the Secretary of State highlighted that one of the strengths of the UK’s economy is our reputation for innovation and discovery through the application of science, and the Government’s Industrial Strategy deepens our commitment to that. He added that we have seen the biggest increase in public investment in research and development for more than 40 years. The Secretary of State pointed out that part of the Government’s strategic approach means establishing companies that make use of that technology, and having a regime under which companies that do use that technology can be confident about taking in foreign investment, is part and parcel of the positive, mature, regime that we want to establish. You can see my question and the Secretary of State’s answer, here.
Last Wednesday, I was delighted to go along to the annual Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP) Awards in Westminster.  Corby recorded the highest reductions in anti-social behaviour last year across Northamptonshire and much of the credit for this must go to the work of Corby CAP and in particular, Karen Pentin and Laura Shaw of Corby Borough Council.
 
Karen has worked tirelessly with retailers, building links and increasing their understanding of their responsibilities for the sale of alcohol, while Laura has delivered a wide range of alcohol education in secondary schools across Corby. It’s clear that CAP is making a real and lasting difference to young people and the communities where they live, and I was delighted to see them win an award for these sterling efforts in our area.  A huge well done to all involved!
On Wednesday, during a welcome Statement on the Regulation of Property Agents, I asked the Minister if he was able to reassure the House that any clampdown on excess service charges will not have an adverse impact on rents - something I know would be of concern to those who rent in our area.  In his response, the Minister pointed out that when we talk about the ban on letting agents’ fees and making the system fairer, the industry has talked about an increase in rents as a possible impact, but said that this did not come to pass in Scotland, where measures have already been taken. He added that we want to introduce fairness across the system, and he hopes that that will ultimately mean lower charges and lower fees for tenants. You can see my question and the Minister’s response, here.

The PM published an open letter yesterday, promising to make it as easy as possible for EU citizens to obtain settled status in the UK - something I know locally people feel strongly about.

The letter explains that the Government is in touching distance of an agreement on citizens’ rights. And, it promises that the process for EU nationals to register to stay in the UK will be streamlined – with EU citizens having a direct say over how it will work.

This is a very welcome update, which you can find, here.

On Wednesday in the chamber, during international Development Questions, I highlighted that we should rightly be proud of the enormous holistic contribution that the UK has made in responding to the Syria crisis, particularly in terms of aid, and I then asked what effort has been made in parallel, and what credit the Secretary of State gives, to the remarkable charitable effort that has taken place, and I further asked what it has achieved. In her response, the Secretary of State said that I was right to make a point about the charitable contribution that has been made across the United Kingdom to all the aid efforts for Syrian refugees, and she outlined that there are many examples of that happening in which we have all been involved. She added that the situation continues to deteriorate, and that DFID and the Government continue to provide all the support that is needed. She also said that through our aid match scheme, we are providing help directly to many of the charities, as well as contributing to the relief effort. You can see my question and the Secretary of State’s answer, here.
Last Monday in the House, during Work and Pensions Questions, I highlighted how several of my constituents have raised with me the importance of ensuring that assessment centres are as accessible as possible. I then asked the Secretary of State what steps the Department is taking to ensure that, on an ongoing basis, accessibility is checked regularly and improvements are made where necessary. In his reply the Secretary of State agreed this was a good point and added that DWP officials visit assessment centres to check them against accessibility standards. He further added that, after I flagged up concerns about the parking drop-off points at the Peterborough centre, improvements have been made. You can see my question and the Secretary of State’s answer, here.
On Wednesday, I attended a joint meeting with Simon Fisher, our local National Farmers Union (NFU) representative, several local farmers, and some of my parliamentary colleagues from Northamptonshire and the other nearby counties. This meeting was a very useful opportunity to hear more about local concerns and to speak to farmers about the daily challenges they face, and hear about their ideas for the future of the agriculture industry. It was useful for both me and my colleagues to hear these concerns so that we are able to feedback to Ministerial colleagues directly, particularly on the issues of rural crime and getting the policy right for the sector as we leave the European Union.
Last Monday, during a Statement about the collapse of Monarch Airlines, I asked what steps the Secretary of State was taking to make sure that there is no loss in capacity and that excess slots that have now become available are allocated as quickly as possible. In his response, the Secretary of State said that the fact that there is now some debate over the value of the slots as they are taken up by other airlines, shows that there is a queue of operators waiting to move in where Monarch has vacated. He added that we have already heard from Jet2 that it is looking to pick up some of the slack that Monarch has left behind, and he further added that he has no doubt that we will see others moving in very quickly as well – particularly as the sector is thriving. I also think it is worth noting the unparalleled comprehensive effort that the Government has made to ensure safe return to the UK of all Monarch customers caught up in this situation, and all involved should be commended for it. You can see my question and the Secretary of State’s answer, here.
Last Wednesday, during Cabinet Office Questions, I asked the Minister if he had given any consideration to the issue of education in schools around electoral fraud - for example, double voting; concerns about which have emerged after the General Election. In his response the Minister said that the Government are, of course, determined to engage the many young people in schools in the democratic process. He added that recently the Government established a National Democracy Week, in which he hopes that all Members will take part, and I most certainly plan to do so. The Minister also highlighted that it is vital for democratic participation that we encourage young people to get involved as early as possible, and to be educated in our democratic processes. You can see my question and the Minister’s answer, here.
TOM IN CORBY & EAST NORTHAMPTONSHIRE
In the coming weeks, the British Steel Pension Scheme is putting on a number of roadshows around the country, to discuss the future of British Steel Pension Scheme investments. The roadshow will be coming to Corby on the 31st October, and will be held at The Core at Corby Cube, George Street, NN17 1QG. There will be three different sessions during the day from 10am – 12pm, 2 – 4pm and 7 – 9pm, and there is also a helpline (run by a body independent of either the Trustees or Tata Steel) which is available to scheme members. The helpdesk numbers if you’re a pensioner are 0808 168 8709 (or +44 (0) 1206 585 361 if you’re calling from outside the UK), or if you’re not a pensioner, 0800 085 7264 (or +44 (0) 113 823 1344 if you’re calling from outside the UK), and lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm. Many local people are British Steel Pension Scheme members and so I thought it would be helpful to promote this event, in order that they can go along to ask questions and make their views known.
Last Friday, after meeting with constituents at my weekly advice surgeries in both Irthlingborough and Corby, I went along to a meeting with Jay Davenport, the new Principal of Manor School Sports College in Raunds. During this meeting, I heard about Mr Davenport’s fresh plans and ideas for the school, and spoke with him about how I could help the school deal with the pressures that new housing growth in the town is bringing, and the importance of developer contributions in helping to ensure that the school's buildings keep pace with the growth in pupil numbers.  I then went on to a meeting at East Northamptonshire Council with David Oliver, the Chief Executive of the Council, Cllr Steve North, the Leader of East Northamptonshire Council, and my colleague Peter Bone MP. As ever, this meeting was a useful platform for us all to have a catch up, and to speak about the issues directly affecting East Northamptonshire and to discuss possible solutions and how we can best work together, going forward.
On Saturday, I was very pleased to be able to go along to Uppingham School Sports Hall to see squash in action, in recognition of it being World Squash Day. It was a great morning, and it was good to see lots of people trying it out for the first time. There were sessions for both children and adults, and this event was part of a campaign to raise awareness about squash by James Roberts, from Corby, who is currently working on a campaign to get some squash courts built in the town - an initiative I will continue to support and help in any way that I can.
 
A couple of Sundays ago, I was invited to go along to an emergency planning exercise in Bulwick, where a number of multi-agency partners, both statutory and in the voluntary sector, from across the county, came together to tackle a couple of challenging scenarios, in preparation for any future emergency in the county.  It was fascinating to see this work at first hand, with all the agencies working together, and testing capability.  Events such as those which were enacted are extremely rare, but it is very reassuring to know that there are such solid emergency contingency plans in place, should the worse ever come to pass - of course, we all very much hope that these plans will never need to be enacted for real.
I have recently received communication from the Department for Communities and Local Government regarding North Northamptonshire Garden Communities, and I am pleased to say that the Government has allocated a further £50,000 of capacity funding to support the delivery of North Northamptonshire Garden Communities. This funding is on top of the original £200,000 allocated back in March, and which I have pressed for, and is particularly good news for Corby, as the Priors Hall development will directly benefit.
I have recently received communication from Highways England, regarding some upcoming essential maintenance work to maintain the A45 East and Westbound between Stanwick and the Raunds Roundabout. This work will take place from the 4th December 2017 to the 27th January 2018, and you can see more information about this, and the arrangements that will be in place, above.
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:

Save the Children's Campaign 10.10.2017.pdf

The Children's Society Campaign 10.10.2017.pdf

Improve Care Home Choice 10.10.2017.pdf

Improve Breast Cancer Outcomes 09.10.2017.pdf

Animals are Sentient Beings 09.10.2017.pdf
TOM IN THE PRESS

Squash Star and Politicians back World Squash Day 2017

PSA World Tour, 13th October 2017

How The Conservatives Can Win The Votes Of Young People

Huffington Post, 1st October 2017
 
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