South Cambridgeshire Constituency News, April 2019

Since my last newsletter, the twists and turns in the Brexit debate have continued apace.

The Prime Minister’s withdrawal agreement was rejected by Parliament for a second time, Article 50 has been extended (briefly) and MPs have finally been allowed to express their own views on a range of possible outcomes, having originally been denied that opportunity. By the time you read this, the situation will have inevitably changed again! Although limited space prevents me from providing a more detailed explanation here, I have been providing rolling updates on my website so that constituents are up to date at all times – especially about the votes I am casting on their behalf. If you have not already taken a look, please do take a minute to have a look at the updates.

By way of headlines, I will never support “no deal,” I don’t believe the Prime Minister’s negotiated deal is good enough and I will continue to support my constituents having the final say on any deal, versus remaining in the EU.

I know the votes I cast will not always meet with universal approval, but I give you my assurance that I will exercise my duties with the utmost seriousness and always act in the best interests of my constituents and country throughout these turbulent times.

Away from Brexit, there’s still the day job to do as I continue to focus on issues affecting South Cambridgeshire. I know that many communities are concerned about hare coursing and its devastating impact. On the 5th March, I met with the Prime Minister’s Special Advisor on Environment, Lord Randall, to make the case for new and improved legislation to deal with this scourge. Along with the Police and Crime Commissioner and Superintendent James Sutherland, I outlined my concerns that hare coursing was not only increasing but that the measures for dealing with it had ceased to be effective.

Lord Randall agreed to look for legislative and other opportunities to bring about change, including the possibility of sentencing guidelines for courts and increasing the penalties available to them.

Cambridgeshire Police has a dedicated Rural Crime Action Team which does an excellent job but it is clear that both the police and the courts lack the powers to deal with hare coursing.

The police are having to rely on legislation from the nineteenth century to bring prosecutions and without sentencing guidelines for the courts and increased penalties, all too often the legislation does not provide an effective deterrent. I was pleased that Lord Randall was so prepared to listen to our concerns and work with us to bring an end to hare coursing and the increased levels of crime associated with it.

I am determined to bring about the positive change that is needed and I will provide an update in future newsletters.

Earlier this month, I visited Long Road Sixth Form and Cambridge Academy of Science and Technology to talk about my role as an MP.

It’s fair to say that I was kept on my toes by a demanding audience! I answered questions about my decision to leave the Conservative Party, Brexit (of course!), how to heal divisions in society, education funding, Donald Trump and the possible outcome of the next general election …to name but a few!

From sixth form students to our youngest pupils, I was particularly moved by the story of five year old George, who has been leading the fight against litter in Duxford and gathering litter whilst donning a superhero cape!

I was so inspired by his commitment to the local environment that I joined him and other residents of Duxford for some litter picking one Saturday morning.

George is a great reminder of how local action on the ground can bring about positive change in our villages – well done George!

A sure sign that spring has sprung is the annual Thriplow Daffodil Weekend.

I visited on the Sunday, the sun was shining, the sausage sarnies were great and everyone was having a great time. If you’ve never visited, I’d recommend you make it a must next year. For my (cat owning) sins, I was called on to provide my “expertise” to judge the Family Fun Dog Show!

As I arrived in Thriplow, I couldn’t help but notice that after a busy and serious week in a Brexit dominated Westminster, residents had been able to keep their good humour with their choice of road signs for the event. Well done to everybody involved in such a successful weekend!

If there is anything you would like to talk to me about, my upcoming surgeries are:

“By appointment surgery” will be on Thursday 2nd May, 3-5pm at my office in Hardwick. For an appointment, please call my office on 01223 830037.

“Drop in” surgery will be on Saturday 8th June, 10.30-12.30pm at Woodview Farm Café, Mill Hill, Potton Road, Gamlingay SG19 3LW. No appointment necessary.

More details can be found on the ‘surgeries’ page on the website.

In the meantime, if you would like to contact me, please email or call my office on 01223 830037.

See you next month!