The New Year Has Been A Busy One Already For Me

The New Year has been a busy one already for me. Iím launching a campaign soon to encourage young people to take up careers in engineering and science Ė but the hard work is going on now, meeting all the academies and institutions for engineering I can think of.
The debate about our membership of the European Union has moved up a gear. Iím delighted that those who have been silent too long Ė probably including me Ė about the need to remain within the EU are speaking up at last. Iím certainly not uncritical of the EU and many things need to change, but itís clear that outside it our influence and economy would be at even greater risk. Leaving the EU would mean lost jobs in Worcestershire Ė itís that simple. This is an issue Iím sure Iíll return to in future columns.

Constituency work has gone on over the Christmas and New Year period. Most of this has to be confidential so I canít share it with you in any detail, but one long running scandal ended very happily last week. A constituent who had suffered possibly the worst injustice I have seen in my twenty years as an MP eventually won his argument.

He should never have been put in the situation he was in the first place, and it shouldnít have taken my repeated intervention to sort it out, but it did, and now itís been resolved. Itís successes like this that make an MPís life so rewarding, even if the details must always remain private.

A long running campaign I launched some years ago to remove travelling circuses (the overwhelming majority of which do NOT use wild animals, by the way) from some burdensome bureaucracy introduced by the last government eventually succeeded. I think circuses are a really important way to introduce young people to performing arts, so I am delighted about that too.

And then, as Robin Walker wrote last week, the government agreed to a statutory code of conduct for the ďpubcos" who own thousands of British pubs. This code is crucial to ensure the survival of many pubs that have been badly treated by the pubcos. It was the select committee I chaired in the last parliament, and which Robin sits on now, that really drew attention to this issue. So thatís a victory for the select committee system and for the pubs themselves.


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