TIM LOUGHTON: Happy to be back

Tim Loughton
Tim Loughton

Great to be back writing my regular column for the Herald.

It was encouraging to have so many people talk to me whilst on the campaign trail about something I had written here or in my monthly constituency e-newsletter.

The new Parliament sat formally on Monday to elect, or in this case re-elect, the Speaker of the House of Commons.

Traditionally after being nominated the candidate is dragged reluctantly to the Speaker’s Chair reflecting the hazard of the job where at least two previous Speakers have had their heads removed in office.

Unlikely to happen now but Speaker Bercow certainly is not one to eschew controversy!

The Commons is currently buzzing with enthusiastic new boys and girls, including many without Scottish accents, finding their way around, trying to secure offices and being sworn in.

There is a formal induction scheme which is much more comprehensive than the five minute chat on security from a policeman and a Betty Boothroyd video that we received on arrival back in 1997.

The State Opening of Parliament takes place on May 27 with the Queen setting out the new Government’s programme for the forthcoming year.

For me it is business as normal, catching up with cases from the campaign and restarting my street and formal surgeries.

One fun event this week was the Great British Tennis Weekend at a heaving West Worthing Club.

Having been invited for a light lunch and a knock about, I found myself paired up with Greg Rusedski and pitched against the club professional and a director of the LTA in front of a large but fortunately sympathetic crowd.

No pressure then – but at least I scored some points.

On Friday I spoke at a well-attended Federation of Small Businesses lunch at Northbrook College in praise of apprenticeships.

We have had some great success stories locally with 2.2 million new apprentices since 2010 and almost 3,000 in the constituency alone.

With encouraging data showing how apprentices improve productivity and enhance career earnings, and the Government planning 3 million more places, this is a win-win programme that all businesses need to look at.