This week I have been in our local area, having meetings with businesses, schools, community groups and constituents and preparing my speeches for the Conservative Party Conference, which will start this weekend.
This year’s Conference comes in a delicate and exciting moment for our party. We had the privilege to have been chosen by the voters to deliver Brexit, the most important and challenging decision that our country had in its modern history. It will be important not to betray the will of the people who voted to leave the European Union, having an honest discussion on the Brexit they want. This Conference will also be useful to exchange views with colleagues and party members that are the backbone of the party, to find a conversion on the common grounds and the values that we share.
Talking about conference season, the Labour Conference in Liverpool showed once again that a once reasonable party has been handed to Momentum and the hard left, a movement so extreme that makes trade unionists look almost like Blairites! It was fun to read about proposals to “nationalise the internet”, a call for a “general strike”, lefties shouting to #BoycottTheGuardian because it’s too centrist. On the other hand, it was worrying to listen to the decrepit Marxist economic recipes of John McDonnell, a man very far from the idea of “kinder politics”: his hard-left plan would cause a sky-rocketing deficit that our children will inherit.
I attended the launch of “Plan A+” the Brexit proposal presented by economists of the Institute of Economic Affairs. It’s a forward-looking arrangement similar to the Canada model, with the elimination of tariffs, the restoration of our sovereignty, a smooth border with Ireland and an immigration system based on the skills we need.
On Thursday evening during a public meeting at Tingley Working Men’s Club, I have launched the CAR (Crime Analyst Report) project with the Tingley and Ardsley Neighbourhood Watch group. CAR will be a collection of data from local residents to be crossed with crime reported to the police in order to find out more on criminality and anti-social behaviours in the area. The first pilot project will last six months. I’d like to thank David, Marion, Rob and all the Neighbourhood Watch group that worked relentlessly to set up this meeting and worked with my office to design the website and define this project. The meeting was well attended by residents keen to work together to improve the area where they live.
This week the Morley Arts Festival 2018 was launched, and this weekend our town centre has been full of activities and entertainment, from the “Takeover fest ” to the indie book fair. I want to publicly thank the Festival Chairman, Cllr Bob Gettings MBE JP and all the volunteers and performers involved in the event. Morley has an amazing history and has been home of many artists, it is great to see it lively and full of ideas.
On Wednesday, I was invited by Moin Valli to visit his group’s local optician practice in Outwood. They are launching a campaign to underline the importance of children’s eye health in the Personal Child Health Record (the ‘red book’). I have signed their petition, supported by the British Association of Optometrists, and I invite you to do the same.
Friday morning, I visited Outwood Primary Lofthouse Gate, to meet with the students and the staff and celebrate the school Parliament election winners. It is always inspiring to meet children and discuss democracy with them. I always treasure their fresh vision and authenticity, listening to their feedback and their ideas. This school, as many in our areas, is having fantastic results and students, teachers and parents should be proud of their achievements and of their hard work.
Later in the morning, I hosted my Memory Café in Outwood Memorial Hall. It was a well-attended event and a good opportunity for people living with dementia and their carers to spend a nice morning with tea and cakes, chatting or navigating through the memorabilia. I could never thank enough the wonderful volunteers that help me make this possible.
On Saturday, I presented the certificates to the children participating in the Summer Reading Challenge at the library in Drighlington. Over 80 children took the challenge, which is called “Mischief Makers” and is based on The Beano comic, celebrating its 80th anniversary. During my childhood, I loved reading The Beano and it’s great to see the newer generations still being fascinated by this great British classic.
Finally, my pothole patrol line is now active. You can Whatsapp me on, 07838339411, with the location and a picture of the pothole along with your full details. I will highlight it to the local council and update you with their response.