Jumping ship for wrong reasons

Salisbury Journal:

3:39pm Wednesday 8th October 2014

THIS week my colleagues are tweeting horrible things they’d rather do than defect to UKIP – jumping naked into a barrel of wasps particularly caught my eye.

Being held accountable for actions

Salisbury Journal:

10:31am Thursday 11th September 2014

The apparently simple job of replacing the Clerk of the Commons is rapidly descending into farce.

Right tone for WW1 centenaries

9:30am Thursday 14th August 2014

MONDAY was a big day.

Growth supports science park

Salisbury Journal:

10:06am Thursday 10th July 2014

IT was a privilege to be at the naming of HMS Queen Elizabeth at Rosyth on Friday. Who says the UK doesn’t make things anymore?

Britain must live by its wits

2:05pm Wednesday 11th June 2014

LAST week was a time to salute and give thanks for our D-Day heroes. Seventy years ago the quintessence of evil in the form of Nazism that had swept across Europe was being doggedly beaten back at great cost. We must never forget.

Pessimism reflects our climate

3:45pm Wednesday 7th May 2014

BRITAIN’S habitual pessimism reflects our climate.

Defence and security of Britain will be downgraded

3:42pm Wednesday 9th April 2014

IT was a great pleasure to visit Crockerton Primary School on Friday.

I've got Georgia on my mind

12:31pm Wednesday 12th March 2014

THE invasion of Crimea by Putin’s Russia looks eerily like the annexation of South Ossetia from Georgia in 2008.

Crime a specialist form of villainy

3:58pm Wednesday 12th February 2014

ON Friday I had two meetings with farmers in my constituency concerned about, among other things, flooding and rural crime.

We will see if lessons can be learned from flooding

4:16pm Wednesday 8th January 2014

THE flooding really has been extreme, even in my constituency, which lacks major rivers and is far from coastal.

Mandela made world a better place

11:26am Wednesday 11th December 2013

ON Monday Defence Questions was booted into next week by a whole-day Commons tribute to Nelson Mandela. I attended the well done speeches of the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition.

Aim to review green levies

2:11pm Wednesday 20th November 2013

ALL of a sudden winter appears to be with us.

In support of transparency

3:14pm Wednesday 16th October 2013

THE government has locked horns with two of the great powers in the land: the press and charities. It’s attempting to impose rules on both establishments which are, predictably, resisting. But implicit in any independence is responsibility and here lies the problem.

Jury service age rise a good idea

2:19pm Wednesday 21st August 2013

I DEFINITELY support proposals to raise the limit for jury service to 75.

Improved crime figures welcome

4:38pm Wednesday 24th July 2013

NO complacency, but it does seem the economy is moving from rescue to recovery.

The engine room of the UK economy

10:51am Thursday 27th June 2013

SMALL and medium sized businesses are the engine room of the UK economy in a way that does not apply in most other European countries.

Hear, hear to cutting deficit

3:46pm Wednesday 29th May 2013

I COMMEND the Government for continuing to cut the deficit that shot up during the Gordon Brown spendthrift years.

Universal credit will encourage move into work

11:57am Wednesday 1st May 2013

THIS week sees the start of Universal Credit (UC), a huge change in the way we do benefits and a big moment in the history of the welfare state.

Don't engage in conflict without a plan to mop up afterwards

1:12pm Wednesday 3rd April 2013

MOST of my Easter recess is taken up with overseas ministerial visits. This week it’s Libya, where I’ve already been as the first UK minister in Tripoli since last year’s elections.

Hell hath no fury...

2:45pm Wednesday 13th March 2013

DAVID Cameron has given a boost to apprenticeships.

People must be told the truth about what they're buying

8:59am Thursday 14th February 2013

THE Francis report on the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust makes for grisly reading.

Taking stock of achievements

11:31am Wednesday 9th January 2013

THE antidote to mid-term blues is a stocktake of what you’ve achieved so far and a forward look to the couple of years before you face the voters.

Postive changes in armed forces

4:55pm Wednesday 12th December 2012

I OFTEN say, only partly in jest, that I am the MP for the British Army, given that there are at least 10,000 uniformed personnel plus their families living in the Devizes Constituency.

Free vote is gay marriage clincher

4:54pm Wednesday 12th December 2012

I’M told more than 300 dogs are abandoned every day.

Qatada laughs at taxpayers' expense

11:29am Thursday 15th November 2012

HOW is the release of Abu Qatada conducive to the public good?

Town saddened by soldiers' deaths

12:59pm Wednesday 19th September 2012

The death of two soldiers from 3 Yorks in a “green-on-blue” incident at the weekend has greatly saddened the garrison town of Warminster where they were based.

A case of the flip-flops

11:15am Thursday 23rd August 2012

A SEVERE case of the flip-flops is afflicting the Opposition, or maybe it’s just amnesia.

Pitfalls of the A36

1:03pm Thursday 26th July 2012

I WAS last on a motorbike more than 30 years ago. But local journalist Mark Kimpton is a serious biker and road safety expert and the offer of a tour of the pitfalls of the A36 on the back of his BMW was too good to miss.

A36 continues to take its toll

7:10am Thursday 28th June 2012

THE A36 continues to take its toll. Responsibility for roads in our area is split between the Highways Agency, a function of central government, and Wiltshire Council.

Political phrases and the justice system

11:37am Thursday 31st May 2012

“OMNISHAMBLES” and “chillaxing”

Murdochs are "highly cynical"

5:26pm Wednesday 2nd May 2012

* ON Tuesday much doffing of hats and Norman French as Parliament was formally prorogued.

Bullies are characterised by their nose for displays of weakness

11:45am Thursday 5th April 2012

NICK Clegg has gone up a notch in my estimation following his refusal to share airport accommodation with an Argentine delegation even if, by all accounts, it was Britain’s deputy PM who ended up shifting to the cheap seats.

Energy policy needs a close look

10:19am Thursday 8th March 2012

* I’M delighted the government appears to be questioning the orthodoxy that onshore wind turbines are self-evidently a good thing. I particularly object to large amounts of scarce public money going to subsidise these horrible things. They may make a few lucky businessmen very rich but at the cost of blighting what remains of our open countryside, so the public dips out twice over.

Make a Wiltshire town a "Portas Pilot"

12:13pm Thursday 9th February 2012

IT is clear that while some high streets are thriving, others face stiff competition from internet shopping and out-of-town shopping centres.

A union on entirely Scottish terms is clearly not going to be a runner

10:39am Thursday 12th January 2012

THE Westminster government is right to set out terms for powers to hold a binding referendum on Scottish independence.

'It's hardly worth the cost of your Eurostar ticket...'

10:07am Thursday 15th December 2011

IT’S always good to get supportive emails and my inbox has been full of nice messages from residents about the EU negotiations on Friday. David Cameron has certainly earned his rations in defence of the national interest.

Don't forget soldiers when the shooting stops

11:10am Thursday 17th November 2011

I ATTENDED the two minutes’ silence on Armistice Day in Westbury, a remembrance service at Imber on Saturday and Remembrance Sunday services in Trowbridge and Warminster.

"We are poorer for Liam Fox's departure"

12:22pm Thursday 20th October 2011

* THOUGH in the end it was right that he should go, we are the poorer for Liam Fox’s departure. He was an effective cabinet minister who stood up for defence, about which he cares passionately, squeezed the best deal possible out of the Treasury and began to reform the extraordinary ministry over which he presided.

Concern about road safety

4:03pm Wednesday 21st September 2011

TRANSPORT questions in the Commons was an opportunity to opine on the advent of very heavy articulated lorries.

Complaints about exams miss the point

11:40am Wednesday 24th August 2011

WE’VE had record A Level results again and those who say we’re dumbing down have been ritually lambasted by proud parents and the teaching profession.

News from across the pond isn't good

10:20am Friday 29th July 2011

GROWTH figures out this week are distinctly underwhelming. Nevertheless, I’m impressed by the half a million jobs created in the private sector this year. They’re needed to power us out of the deepest recession in living memory and support the general thrust of the coalition government’s approach to the economy and the deficit that threatens it.

Public sector fears must be heard

12:41pm Thursday 30th June 2011

I HAVE had a fair amount of correspondence about pensions, from teachers especially, following the report of ex Labour minister Lord Hutton. As I write, I still hope strike action can be averted. I do not believe it is in anybody’s interests and it will surely achieve nothing. However, I do understand the passions around public sector pensions, not least as I’m anticipating mine and there’s nothing like a bit of self-interest to concentrate the mind.

We owe amputees the very best help

1:15pm Thursday 2nd June 2011

ON Tuesday, I went to Plymouth to meet service providers in connection with a study ordered by David Cameron into provision for people injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. I met two amputees - one who had lost an arm and a leg and one a triple amputee.

Britain’s healthcare outcomes "fall short"

4:04pm Wednesday 4th May 2011

* GOOD news on economic growth spiking the guns of those saying the cuts have been too deep and too fast.

Bankers needing redemption: "The cathedal's appeal would like to hear from you"

1:14pm Thursday 10th March 2011

THE prime minister is right to talk up the enterprise economy.

Prisoners shouldn't get votes

9:52am Friday 11th February 2011

I OPPOSE votes for prisoners on two counts.

To enjoy a free society, you must take responsibility

7:10am Thursday 16th December 2010

IF you enjoy life in a free society you must exercise responsibility as well as expressing your rights.

Miserable weather didn't dampen turnout

11:16am Thursday 18th November 2010

IT was a pretty miserable Sunday for our veterans and young people to be out paying their respects. However, I was impressed with the turnout at the two Remembrance Day services I attended. It seemed to me to exceed anything we’ve had in ten years.

UK will still be at the top of the table

7:10am Thursday 21st October 2010

IT’S 10pm on Tuesday and I’ve been looking through my inbox after a day dominated by the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR). Hardly surprisingly, given the nature of my constituency, it contains a shed-load of opinions, mostly positive, from a variety of defence experts. Concerns, naturally, have been expressed about headcount. I regret any job losses, uniformed or civilian, among my constituents as a result of the SDSR.

Inside it's rather like Doctor Who's Tardis...

5:41pm Thursday 23rd September 2010

ONE of the perks of being a member of the party of government is the opportunity to stride up, full of selfimportance, to the most famous front door in the land.






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