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View from the House – 17 November 2017

Palace of Westminster from across the Thames

WELCOME back to my regular View from the House for Tamworth Informed; however this time covering the last fortnight.

There was a short recess at the end of last week. I’ve heard that this is a traditional recess which comes from when the State Opening of Parliament would take place in November and ‘appropriate’ time was required to make sure the Palace of Westminster is in its best shape for the ceremony. We’re British. We enjoy unique and age-old tradition.

Although there was a recess in Parliament, it was back to Tamworth for me to crack on with constituency work as per usual. Last week saw the build up to the various remembrance ceremonies which took place around Tamworth. I was fortunate enough to attend three ceremonies this year at the Hall of Memory on Hospital Street, the Aldergate Club and the Prince of Wales on Hockley Road as well as the main service at St Editha’s. It is always moving to see so many people, year on year, turning out in support of our Armed Forces.  In fact the numbers seems to grow every year and last weekend outside St Editha’s the square was packed.  And inside every pew, kneeler and spare in of space was take up.  It was the most powerful reminder that our veterans and the service personnel today are never forgotten.

November generally is a solemn time to remember those in our Armed Forces both past and present. Recently I have been investigating how we can develop a suitable memorial in Tamworth for those that have died on active service post-1945. If this is possible, and I believe it is, this will become a most fitting tribute to the brave men and women of our forces. I am talking to local services and veterans groups about it as well as the Ministry of Defence. If you have a view, or would like to help, please contact my office on 01827 312778 or email [email protected].

At one of my recent surgery days a gentleman brought to my attention the issue of leaflet/mailing spam to the elderly. In this instance his mother had unfortunately been scammed by a fake raffle letter which looked relatively official and even stated her address. This is quite shocking and even more disgraceful that the organisation was registered in France so currently it is impossible to have your address removed from overseas registers. I’ve written to the Advertising Standards Authority and the Minister with responsibility for this area to see what more the Government could be doing about this deceitful behaviour. If you receive spam leaflets with ‘to the occupier’ etc. and would rather not, then make sure you register with the Mail Preference Service to ensure your details are removed from any UK register https://www.mpsonline.org.uk/.

Brexit, if you hadn’t guessed already, continues to play a big role in the debate. This week we had the Committee Stage (where amendments are debated on legislation) on the EU Withdrawal Bill. The Bill seeks to remove and replace certain pieces of EU law that affect us today so that come 1st April 2019 there won’t suddenly be a big black hole in our legal system. The two days proved to be long but thoughtful debates. Most of us left the Parliamentary Estate around midnight on both nights. There will be six more days of debate on this Bill. As long winded as it may seem to some, it is only right that our Parliament has its say in a democratic way and I am confident that the right outcome will prevail at the end – a strong Act of Parliament that withdraws us from the EU but which preserves the rights of our community intact

On Friday I took some students from Landau Forte Sixth From for a tour of Parliament. I very much enjoy giving constituents tours around our Parliament – most for their first time – and believe it to be a crucial part of making the place feel more connected to Tamworth and local people. If you would like a tour please do not hesitate to contact my office on the details above and we can make sure I show you around.  The whole tour takes about two hours after which you can have a wander around historic central London, or do a bit of shopping, or both!

As ever, have a great weekend.

Chris