Good afternoon all. It’ll come as no surprise that animal welfare, especially pet welfare, is an important issue for me. So last week it was great to sit down with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove to discuss animal welfare opportunities post-Brexit, pet ownership and children’s food nutrition.
For some time now, I have been speaking out against European puppy smuggling and Brexit provides us with the opportunity to end this cruel practice. Puppy smuggling is where animals are snatched from their mothers then taken all over Europe to supply the demand for puppies. This often happens at a very young age before they are properly socialised. Policies like this, and many others, couldn’t be achieved while in the EU and I will continue to work closely on these issues going forward and keep you updated with their progress.
I am fortunate enough to sit on the Committee for Exiting the European Union and last week we scrutinised the committee’s report on the progress of Brexit. As one of only 7 out of 21 members who voted for Brexit this report further illustrated the unbalanced nature of the House of Commons and the committee when it comes to leaving the European Union. I will continue to vote against any recommendations which simply attempt to delay or frustrate the Brexit process.
We have seen tactics like these used time and time again since the referendum by MPs, and others, who still don’t believe that we should leave the EU and believe that the British people made the wrong decision. We must leave on time and not remain half in, half out. As it says in the 2017 Conservative party manifesto "Britain can emerge from Brexit, look beyond it and launch into the future with confidence." Let’s get on with Brexit and do what we were elected to do. I will continue to be a voice for the benefits of Brexit from the backbenches.
On Tuesday I met with representatives from the Taiwan representative office in the UK. It was depressing to hear how China has been using its influence to tell companies like British Airways how to do business. BA has now, unfortunately, caved to the Chinese Governments demands to refer to Taiwan as being part of China. Taiwan is a self-ruled and most importantly democratic island and should be allowed to exist without threat from China’s one-party state.
Education is vitally important and on Tuesday I co-chaired the All-Party Group for Education in Westminster. It was great to meet with Robert Halfon MP, former Minister at the Department for Education and the current Chair of the Education select committee, to hear about his committee’s agenda and the great work they have been doing on apprenticeships and skills.
Last week I also sat down with Veterans for Britain, we discussed defence issues post-Brexit and how it is vitally important for the security of our country to remain an independent “tier one” military power as we leave the EU. We should always be willing to work with our European friends on security issues, especially around the threat of terrorism, however, we need to remain an independent force which is capable of defending ourselves and our allies if need be.
Finally, in Westminster, I met with the local Wakefield charity Penny Appeal who are doing some great work in over 30 countries providing poverty relief. They are helping to transform lives and empowered communities around the world, helping to break the poverty cycle and build brighter futures. Well done to Adeem and the rest of the team at Penny Appeal.
It is always a great pleasure, having an office on the High Street, to see how vibrant the city centre of Morley is. Last Friday I visited some of the many stores that make Queen Street great. I welcomed a new fish and chips shop that opened just recently and a new dog grooming business. Businesses are a major instrument in changing people’s lives, in creating wealth and jobs and can also facilitate changes in policy. I was delighted in meeting with the owners of Hecky Pets, which helped to get almost 40 signatures to my petition to ban the importation of puppies and kittens, showing a real commitment to animal welfare. Our town centre is even more beautiful thanks to the wonderful work of the volunteers of Morley in Bloom and I am happy to announce that I will nominate Morley for the Great British High Street Awards.
Infrastructures are fundamental to increase trade opportunities, social mobility and to connect people. Last week I had a very informative meeting with representatives of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and of Leeds City Council in relation to the project for the new White Rose rail station, which will connect the people of Morley and Leeds to the shopping centre and to new jobs, education and training opportunities. The aim of the project is to grant an accessible station for all users, to take cars off the road improving traffic and air quality, to help to attract new investments in the area, to serve the commuters of Churwell, and to increase the connectivity benefits of future projects such as the HS2, the Northern Powerhouse Rail and the new Leeds Bradford Airport Parkway. Fighting for better transport and roads locally was one of my five pledges at the last general election and I was very pleased to hear the details of this project, which will use the current Leeds to Dewsbury section of the TransPennine Route. All the local residents interested can participate in the engagement period open from the 2nd to the 27th July or have their say online by visiting yourvoice.westyorks-ca.gov.uk.
On Friday evening, I had my rotating surgery in Thorpe village hall, discussing a wide range of issues with constituents. Should you be interested in booking an appointment or for any concern you might have, please feel free to contact me on email@example.com.
During the weekend I participated in a Brexit Panel organised by ThinkNorth in Leeds. It is always interesting to discuss the different sensitivities with my colleagues within the Conservative party, but it is even more engaging to hear the voices of young students and to respond to their challenging questions. Delivering Brexit is one of my main political goals and I was glad to feel representative of the views of many.
On this last sunny Saturday, I opened the Lofthouse Gate Primary Academy Summer Fair. It was great to meet parents, pupils and the staff in such an informal atmosphere. Schools in our constituency are doing a fantastic job and I was delighted to read recently that two Trusts based in Morley and Outwood - Rodillian and Outwood Grange - were ranked first and second as the best-performing school groups nationally by the Education Policy Institute. This fantastic achievement is a testimony to the fantastic work of teachers and staff, to the support of the parents and to the hard work of the students.
Finally, last Saturday it was Armed Forces Day. I joined the armed forces charity SSAFA and the Churwell Community Choir for a charity event at the White Rose Centre, to commemorate the service of men and women in the British Armed Forces. Their contribution to our safety should never be forgotten and I am honoured to be able to say that through casework I have helped a number of veterans on a range of different issues.
Thank you for taking the time to read my weekly summary and as always if you have any issues that you would like to discuss please don’t hesitate to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org, 0113 345 0380 or 01924 695 655