January 29, 2016

Parliament returns after Christmas Recess

John writes for the Buckingham and Winslow Advertiser & Bucks Herald.

May I begin by wishing all readers a very happy and prosperous New Year. Here in Westminster, 2016 started in a suitably busy fashion; the House returned on Tuesday 5th and it did so with gusto. Colleagues were debating a number of issues including flooding, mental health, the European Council and Saudi Arabia, and the House did not adjourn until 2.29am. Needless to say, some colleagues looked rather bleary-eyed later that day at PMQs.

Closer to home, I have already enjoyed a number of constituency engagements this month and recently met with the NFU, and local cattle farmers, to discuss the ongoing issue of Bovine TB in and around Buckinghamshire. I also had the pleasure of attending a meeting with the Federation of Small Businesses during which I spoke with, and took questions from, prominent local businesspeople. Buckingham is home to a great number of SMEs and it was a delight to engage with so many people who are passionate about developing their own businesses, as well as the local economy.

January also saw an urgent meeting of Buckinghamshire MPs with Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, along with representatives from Buckinghamshire County Council. The meeting took place in Speaker’s House and provided the opportunity to discuss the severe funding cuts which could potentially be inflicted upon BCC. The Council is already facing some of the toughest budgetary constraints in its history; suffice to say my Buckinghamshire colleagues and I want to ensure that our county is not unfairly penalised and will continue to support BCC in any way we can.

Although it pains me to end on such a sad note, I would like to take the opportunity to pay tribute to my childhood hero, the late David Bowie. I was shattered to learn of his death; from the age of 11, Bowie was my musical hero and he was, without doubt, the most creative, innovative and exciting rock star I ever saw or heard.