South Cambridgeshire Constituency News, July 2018

As I write, the sun seems to have been shining for weeks and the England football team have made it through to the World Cup semi-finals. Summer has arrived – come on England!

In my last newsletter, I explained the action I had been taking to respond to the appalling train service being provided to constituents by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) trains. Since then, I have continued to keep the pressure on GTR and the Department for Transport – I have raised further questions in the House, including raising the issue at Prime Minister’s Questions and just last week questioning the Rail Minister again about the chaos. My website has a dedicated page on the GTR issues and continues to be updated regularly with new information.

Details of the compensation being offered to passengers are now being announced. The compensation will be designed to refund season ticket holders up to one month where they have suffered severe disruption. This is what I called for in my question in the House in early June as soon the problems became apparent.

However as the chaos has continued for far longer than we could have anticipated, I have been asking for more than that. I believe it must also compensate non season ticket holders and factor in the consequential loss suffered by commuters, such as increased parking charges, taxi fares etc. Along with other MPs, I have written to GTR and I am also in touch with the Office of Road and Rail about this too.

As GTR try to get to grips with the dismal service they have been providing, their new emergency timetable will go live on the 15th July. If GTR cannot deliver their assurances that their services will improve then they must lose their franchise – Government agrees.

I am very sorry that GTR’s failures have resulted in so much inconvenience and upset to so many. I continue to be very grateful to the constituents who have contacted me and to the Royston and Villages Rail User Group who have been such a strong advocate for rail users.

Last month, I was pleased to meet with local farmers and the National Farmers Union to talk through a number of issues – pictured above.  Agriculture is such a vital part of our local economy, so when Government launches the new Agriculture Bill shortly to shape farming outside of the EU – it must listen to the needs of our famers. They play a critical role in producing our food, looking after the environment and supporting our rural economy.

I’m also working hard to find a way to amend the law to strengthen police powers to deal with hare coursing. This crime is abhorrent and devastating for those affected and the current legislation is out of date and no longer fit for purpose. My reward will be accepting three offers to help with harvest! So many combines, so little time… Thriplow, Eltisley and Boxworth, I’ve got my wellies and secateurs ready!

Last month, it was lovely to be able to join the Cambourne Eid Fair and the Meldreth fete. Although much of my week is spent in Westminster, I am always pleased to get back home for some light relief and to support local communities.

Things got a bit competitive at the Meldreth fete! I joined the ladies team for the tug of war and I am delighted to report that for the second year running, we won! (It was never really in doubt…) You can’t beat a bit of friendly rivalry and I’m already in training for next year!

The Cambourne Eid Fair was another great community event – fabulous (spicy!) food and a real sense of celebration. Well done to everybody involved in making this such a success!

Looking ahead, I’ll be meeting with Royal Papworth Hospital to discuss the future use of the site after they move to Addenbrooke’s. I know this remains an important issue for people in the village and I’m keen to discuss all the options for the future use of the site with them. I’ll provide an update on this in my next newsletter.

If there is anything you would like to talk to me about, my next “drop in” surgery will be on Saturday 4th August (11am -1pm) at Steeple Morden Village Hall, 29 Hay Street, Steeple Morden SG8 0NQ where no appointment will be necessary. The following surgery will be by appointment and will be in Barrington (venue will be confirmed on my website) on the 7th September between 3 and 5pm.

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!