Death and taxes

3:55pm Wednesday 9th April 2014

As Benjamin Franklin said: nothing can be certain except death and taxes.

The people of Ukraine ought to be able to choose their own future

12:33pm Wednesday 12th March 2014

ONCE again a military crisis overseas is dominating the parliamentary agenda, and while there is no military mission proposed, nor any appetite for military action, a very clear message must be sent to the people of the Ukraine that they should choose their own future, and to Russia that there will be consequences to such blatant violation of international sovereignty.

Working with Defra and the MoD

3:57pm Wednesday 12th February 2014

THIS month has seen a steady flow of good economic news, both nationally and locally.

Time to plan for new year

4:17pm Wednesday 8th January 2014

AFTER a lovely local Christmas, it is time to reflect on the past 12 months and plan for the new year.

Reflecting on changes

11:28am Wednesday 11th December 2013

AS the year draws to a close it is time to reflect on some of the local and national changes which have taken place during 2013.

Three themes to this month

2:12pm Wednesday 20th November 2013

THERE have been three main themes to the last month.

My new post as a whip

3:23pm Wednesday 16th October 2013

A CHANGE is as good as a rest, they say, but I am not sure I am going to get much rest in my new job as a Government Whip.

Syrian debate in Parliament was absolutely right thing to do

4:02pm Wednesday 18th September 2013

IT was absolutely right that Parliament was recalled this month to discuss the Syrian crisis.

Jobs should go to 'home grown' talent

2:21pm Wednesday 21st August 2013

RECESS means local visits – and a quick family holiday in Cornwall with the children.

Children’s online dangers

4:41pm Wednesday 24th July 2013

WITH the children home for the holidays, like all parents I worry about their health and happiness. Is the sunscreen strong enough? Why do they think strawberry ice cream counts as one of their “five-a-day”?

Focusing on health, transport and online child protection

10:47am Thursday 27th June 2013

THIS month I have focused on three things on which I have campaigned actively over the last three years; local health, transport and online child protection. As the new MP for Devizes, I was acutely aware of the loss of basic health services across my constituency caused by the closure of all minor injuries units in the area I represent.

In a world of their own...

3:47pm Wednesday 29th May 2013

ANOTHER month and another pile of Westminster-centric stories dominated the news, confirming my view that politicians and journalists often live in a world of their own making.

Politicians must learn lessons from history

11:58am Wednesday 1st May 2013

THIS parliamentary session was marked by the death of Baroness Thatcher and I felt very privileged to attend the parliamentary church service in her honour.

I welcome welfare reform

1:13pm Wednesday 3rd April 2013

I AM proud of Britain’s welfare state. I am proud of our National Health Service.

An important month for Wiltshire

2:44pm Wednesday 13th March 2013

THIS was a very important month for Wiltshire.

Morale high in Afghanistan

8:57am Thursday 14th February 2013

IT was a busy January which kicked off with a private trip to Gunjur in the Gambia, a village which has been twinned with Marlborough for more than 30 years.

Getting on with the job

11:30am Wednesday 9th January 2013

A HAPPY new year to all my constituents. I hope Christmas passed peacefully.

Ensure your voice is heard on crime

11:27am Thursday 15th November 2012

DID you know that there is an election today?

A lot of human intelligence goes into mail process

3:07pm Thursday 25th October 2012

THE letter is not dead. That was the message I received during my visit to the Royal Mail Delivery Office in Devizes this month to see the changes being taken to improve efficiency across the postal service.

Coffee with Claire is a success

1:01pm Wednesday 19th September 2012

I TOOK advantage of the summer recess to get out and about across the large expanse that makes up the Devizes constituency on my caffeine-fuelled Coffee with Claire tour.

Great summer of sport is not over yet

10:53am Thursday 23rd August 2012

THIS has been a magical few weeks, as the whole country came together in support of Team GB and the sheer audacious scale of the Olympic events and achievements took our collective breath away.

Standing up for this great country

12:59pm Thursday 26th July 2012

BEFORE the recess, Parliament was locked in debate over Lords Reform which is important in the Westminster bubble but not so much in the real world. However I would rather a focus on what the country needs rather than spend hours debating constitutional matters so I have continued to focus on three things.

Standing up for this great country

12:56pm Thursday 26th July 2012

BEFORE the recess, Parliament was locked in debate over Lords Reform which is important in the Westminster bubble but not so much in the real world. However I would rather a focus on what the country needs rather than spend hours debating constitutional matters so I have continued to focus on three things.

A view from down under

7:20am Thursday 28th June 2012

THIS week’s column should be called “A View from Down Under”, as I am writing it while in Australia as a guest of its Ministry for Defence.

Constituency gets in shape for Jubilee

11:10am Thursday 31st May 2012

FINALLY the sun came out, which makes the business of getting round the Devizes constituency – one of the largest in England and in my view the most beautiful – even more enjoyable.

Inquiry into online child protection

5:24pm Wednesday 2nd May 2012

THIS month we launched the final report of our cross-party Independent Parliamentary Inquiry into online child protection.

Pensioners will not lose cash with so-called granny tax

11:48am Thursday 5th April 2012

PARLIAMENT is “up” for Easter but my local work continues unabated and at the moment I am dealing with three main things.

Be proud to British

11:19am Thursday 8th March 2012

IT may be the good weather, or a run of good economic news, or the fact that, in London at least, the Olympic spirit is starting to come alive, but I really do think we have many reasons to be proud of being British.

Freezing weather is thought-provoking on homeless issues

12:18pm Thursday 9th February 2012

THIS week, I joined a group of dedicated volunteers in bedding down on the floor of St. Mary’s Church in Devizes to raise money for local charities supporting the homeless.

Flu won't stop me talking...

10:36am Thursday 12th January 2012

MPs return to Parliament this week with a full slate of debates and meetings.

We were 'a bit shocked to see Ed Balls dressed as Father Christmas...'

10:11am Thursday 15th December 2011

IT’S beginning to look a lot like Christmas around Westminster this month with cards flooding in.

MPs must get out of the Westminster bubble

11:14am Thursday 17th November 2011

THE last few weeks have reinforced my view that MPs must get out of the Westminster bubble and listen to their constituents whenever possible as this is the only way to assess local concerns and see the impact government policy is having on the ground.

An unexpected promotion

12:24pm Thursday 20th October 2011

* AS Parliament resumes after the conference recess, the naval-gazing debates on internal matters seem to have attracted more attention than the important legislative agenda. We had a debate on the use of hand-held devices in the Chamber where I spoke in favour of tweeting; and a long overdue debate on MPs’ pensions which finally means they will be reformed in line with the rest of the public sector.

Planning proposals are a hot topic

4:05pm Wednesday 21st September 2011

THE last few weeks have been rather frenzied, reflecting the need to pack in as much Parliamentary business as possible before the conference recess.

Police and magistrates should be applauded

11:37am Wednesday 24th August 2011

THE scenes of rioting and mayhem endlessly replayed on the global TV screens have sent shivers through our society.

Working in the constituency

10:27am Friday 29th July 2011

THE start of the Parliamentary recess last week was rightly postponed in order to deal with the unfolding events of “Hackgate” and, while the grubby practice of phone hacking is clearly widespread, MPs from all parties have worked tirelessly to expose the issues and demand answers.

Spotlight shone on Big Society

12:37pm Thursday 30th June 2011

* JUNE had a Big Society flavour with a highlight being the Forum I held in Devizes where more than a hundred people from all over Wiltshire came to hear the Minister, Nick Hurd, speak and answer questions on the topic.

Chance to catch up on constituency work

1:11pm Thursday 2nd June 2011

THE Whitsun parliamentary recess has given me a chance to catch up on local visits and constituency casework. Recent highlights were the presentation of a Quality Council Award to the town council in busy Durrington, a fascinating visit to Collingbourne Ducis school where I joined pupils in a solar system Discovery Dome (if we had technology like that while I was at Grove County Junior School I might not be so terrible at physics) and several visits to Ludgershall to attend an academies conference at Wellington Academy (of which I am a proud governor) and review the future development of the Castledown Business Park.

Handball finals? Why not?

4:02pm Wednesday 4th May 2011

WE spent Easter basking in the wonderful Wiltshire sunshine, giving thanks at a glorious Easter service at All Saints’ Church, Broad Chalke, and navigating the vagaries of the Olympic ticket website. It was like buying a lottery ticket – and I am told that the chances of winning the lottery are better than getting a cheap seat for the opening ceremony – but with all the excitement of the unknown.

No to AV

12:22pm Thursday 7th April 2011

IT was a pleasure to attend the launch of the Wiltshire No to AV campaign in Salisbury.

Welcome budget changes

12:14pm Thursday 7th April 2011

THE last few weeks in Westminster have been even more hectic than usual, given the Budget and the Libyan crisis, both of which led to hours of important debates.

Concern for local services

1:17pm Thursday 10th March 2011

MY postbag is as full as ever and many questions concern the funding for our local services.

MPs have to learn to pick their spots

9:50am Friday 11th February 2011

NEW MPs have to learn to pick their spots.

It's a privilege to serve

7:10am Thursday 16th December 2010

I am halfway through signing my first “official” Christmas card – featuring wonderful artwork from children at Netheravon Primary School – and it is a good moment to take stock of my first few months in Parliament.

Military focus on meetings

11:19am Thursday 18th November 2010

THE last month in Parliament has been unsurprisingly dominated by the Comprehensive Spending Review.

Bulford and Tidworth sites should be safe

7:10am Thursday 21st October 2010

LAST week gave me a fleeting taste of career progress when I was temporarily promoted to parliamentary private secretary to the minister leading the debate on Britain’s financial contribution to the European Union, Justine Greening.

Tough choices pave the path to prosperity

5:42pm Thursday 23rd September 2010

WE are now in our “Conference Recess” so I am spending most days in meetings in the constituency.

View from the Commons - September 2

5:34pm Wednesday 8th September 2010

IT has been a few weeks since Parliament rose for the summer recess, and we head back to Westminster next week.








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