Firstly my apologies to constituents writing to me in the past week if replies to emails have not been as quick as usual.
Also I am aware that my June newsletter is not yet out and it is now July!
As you know I look at all my 200-plus emails a day personally but I have just taken on the role of running the campaign of Andrea Leadsom for leadership of the Conservative Party.
My life is no longer my own for the crucial early days whilst we concentrate on garnering the votes of my fellow MPs – not the easiest electorate in the world!
Normal service will be resumed shortly and by the time you read this we will know if my candidate has done well or not amongst fellow MPs.
What I do know is that Andrea Leadsom is one of the most authentic people in politics I know. I, in fact, recruited her to the Conservative Party as a fresh-faced teenager when we were both at Warwick University back in 1981, and I have followed her career in politics and as a close friend ever since. She will make a great Prime Minister for our country for the really challenging times ahead.
Away from the leadership contest I spent a really uplifting day on Friday at two of the schools in my constituency who are both backing the United Nation’s excellent ‘Send My Friend to School’ campaign.
Eastbrook Academy Primary and Worthing High School had both prepared hundreds of paper backpacks and told me what they would like to see taken to school by the 53 million children around the world who are currently missing out on schooling.
I was interrogated in front of a whole assembly at Worthing High with a whole series of questions about how the UK is helping to reduce this 53 million figure down to zero. It was double that just ten years ago, so progress is being made.
It was great to see just how much research the students had carried out and it really hit home how lucky they all are to be able to take school for granted whilst millions of their peers abroad are denied that right due to war, poverty, religion or a host of other reasons.
On Monday I joined a cross-party group of MPs who met the RMT union to discuss their position in the continuing crisis that is Southern’s rail service, or lack of it.
An emergency timetable is now about to be introduced, which I think can only make matters worse, but the unions are not budging on their complete opposition to the change of the role for guards, despite the fact it has operated without problem on many other trains since the 1980’s.
Despite all our best endeavours I fear there is still no sign of an early resolution to this appalling situation.
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