This week in Westminster had been shaping up for yet another vote on Brexit on Thursday, rather unfairly dubbed by some as a Valentine’s Day Massacre though it is not exactly clear why.
The Prime Minister has just announced that the next big showdown will now be on Wednesday, February 27, so (continue to) watch this space.
There was plenty going on in the Commons last Thursday though when I managed to speak on no fewer than four issues from peri-natal mental health to rough sleeping to mobile phone roaming charges post-Brexit to the Government’s review of legal aid.
On the last of these I am pleased that the Legal Aid Exceptional Cases Board will now be looking at how it funds legal representation for the families of victims. This is of course particularly topical for the Shoreham Airshow crash inquest due to be held in the autumn.
I spoke in a well attended debate on rough sleeping as I wanted to flag up the innovative work being done by the Lyndhurst Road scheme managed by Turning Tides in partnership with Roffey Homes and Worthing Borough Council using money from a special Government fund.
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Rough sleeping is a very visible problem and the Government has announced a series of initiatives. It is early days but nationally rough sleeping numbers are down by two per cent whereas in Worthing they have virtually halved and this project is something I urged other towns to learn from.
I got some bemused expressions from constituents in Shoreham early on Friday morning when I visited the sorting office and then went out on a delivery round with postie Lee. Despite my best efforts to squeeze various items through miniscule post boxes I had to summon a number of half-awake people to the doorstep, some wondering whether I had now resorted to moonlighting!
We also discussed the campaign I am backing to prevent houses being built with ground level letterboxes – the bane of posties and political leaflet deliverers. Fortunately we only came across one.
Congratulations again to Sir Robert Woodard Academy and a group of very impressive and ambitious students who took part in a bit of ‘speed dating’ with employers to talk about career opportunities. I was asked to take part and unlike most of my colleagues there I was keen to warn people off a career in politics, or at least rushing into one until doing something in the outside world.
I majored on my previous career in financial services and my rather unconventional route to it at university until my very last ‘speed date’ was someone who absolutely wanted to become an MP as soon as possible. What are they teaching them?
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