Help for the innocent victims of conflict

Salisbury Journal:

9:00am Thursday 18th September 2014

IN a debate in the Commons last Friday, Gordon Brown referred to a photograph in the genocide museum in Kigali, Rwanda.

Content to let negotiations run their course

9:00am Thursday 4th September 2014

The commentaries that accompanied Mr Carswell’s resignation from the Conservative Party and his joining UKIP, dwelt on what a thoughtful and principled man he is.

Willing footsoldiers indulge in violent acts

Salisbury Journal: Desmond Swayne.

10:41am Thursday 28th August 2014

Last week I attended a service at Westminster Abbey to give thanks for the lives of those men and women who have died in the line of duty helping to relieve the needs of others.

Bloodletting has many historical precedents

9:00am Thursday 21st August 2014

I THINK commentators are doing an enormous disservice by referring to the terrorist grouping ISIS as “Islamic State”.

People of Gaza being used as a human shield

9:30am Thursday 14th August 2014

I HAVE received a large number of letters and emails about the truly desperate situation in Gaza and what the Government is doing about it.

Why PM’s question time must be retained

Salisbury Journal: Desmond Swayne.

10:40am Thursday 7th August 2014

ED Miliband’s suggestion that a people’s question time be substituted for the current format of the weekly session of Prime Minister’s questions does not appeal to me.

Government alleviating housing worries

3:24pm Wednesday 30th July 2014

A COUPLE of days before the Commons broke up for the summer a group of sixth form economics students from Ringwood School visited the Palace of Westminster and I had half an hour or so with them.

No easy answer in assisted suicide debate

Salisbury Journal: Desmond Swayne.

11:11am Thursday 24th July 2014

LORD Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill, which would allow assisted suicide, was read a second time in the House of Lords last week. Unlike the House of Commons, the Lords debate – but do not vote – at second reading. Given the volume of business to get through in the Commons, the bill is unlikely to be debated there at all. It is too soon therefore, to assess how much support there is in Parliament.

Fine line between interference and defence

10:03am Thursday 17th July 2014

NOTWITHSTANDING a significant number of hostile emails, I make no apology for the fact Parliament has spent a significant amount of time dealing with the new Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill.

Positive drainage action will reap benefits

9:42am Thursday 10th July 2014

AT the beginning of May I used this column to set out my reasons for believing the way forward for managing the water levels in the Avon Valley between Fordingbridge and Christchurch was the creation of an internal drainage board. Such a board used to exist years ago, prior to the Environment Agency taking over responsibility for the river.

Problems will not go away by themselves

10:28am Thursday 3rd July 2014

LAST week I was asked to address the annual meeting of Amnesty International New Forest on the principal threat to human rights and what we can do about it. This is what I said: For most of the 20th century the principal threat to liberty arose from the collectivist ideologies which set too low a value on individual rights and property, as against the priorities and demands of the state. In this respect communism and national socialism were not dissimilar. Likewise, the enormities inflicted by Stalin and Mao rank with those of Hitler.

All should be equal when it comes to law

3:06pm Thursday 26th June 2014

THE law requires the suppliers of goods and services to treat all their customers equally, irrespective of race, disability, sex or sexual preference.

Current conflicts have their roots in history

3:58pm Wednesday 18th June 2014

FOR most of us, until last week, ISIS was either the Oxford University student magazine or an Egyptian goddess.

Temper robustness with a degree of humility

3:36pm Wednesday 11th June 2014

I AM always surprised when a spat between ministers becomes a news item.

Catering facts offer some food for thought

4:27pm Thursday 29th May 2014

DUM de dum, what shall I write about this week? After all, I’m tired of all that commentary and hyperbole about the election results.

Bill enforces country's immigration laws

2:27pm Thursday 22nd May 2014

LAST week I attended the closing ceremony of the parliamentary session at which Parliament was prorogued until June 4.

Inference damages our credibility

2:20pm Wednesday 14th May 2014

SEVERAL people have emailed me to express their alarm about US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer’s bid for our own British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and to demand Government intervention to prevent such a takeover.

We have to recreate self-reliant initiatives

6:17pm Friday 9th May 2014

BACK in February I used this column to update readers on my efforts to secure proper management of water levels in the lower valley of the River Avon between Fordingbridge and Christchurch and I included a letter I had sent to Owen Paterson, the Secretary of State at the Department of the Environment, in which I asked for another meeting to review the situation.

Concerns raised over sharia law

3:04pm Wednesday 30th April 2014

SEVERAL constituents have contacted me recently to raise their concern about the implementation of sharia law in the UK.

Aiming to uphold religious freedom for all

3:18pm Wednesday 23rd April 2014

THE Prime Minister’s article in the Church Times and his Easter Message to Christians in a video clip following an Easter reception at 10 Downing St represent a break with recent history.

I would abolish the entire expenses system

12:46pm Wednesday 16th April 2014

MOST of the letters and emails I received about the Maria Miller affair were rather better informed than some of the commentary on the broadcast media.

It's our allies that need to raise their game when it comes to Russia

2:08pm Wednesday 2nd April 2014

THE only country ever to adopt a policy of unilateral nuclear disarmament is the Ukraine: in 1994, by signing the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, it gave up what was the world’s third largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in return for a guarantee of its territorial integrity.

Poor response to budge from Labour party

1:53pm Wednesday 26th March 2014

DEMOCRACY thrives with a healthy opposition to ask awkward questions about what the Government is doing, to challenge it to justify its decisions, and to campaign against unjust, or undemocratic policies.

Science in badger debate is inconclusive

2:53pm Wednesday 19th March 2014

I SAT through the third badger debate within a year in the Commons last Thursday.

Immigration figures 'an excellent story'

4:36pm Thursday 6th March 2014

THE migration statistics for the year ending September 2013 which were published last week gave rise to some pretty dramatic headlines.

Bishops get back to your vestries

2:28pm Wednesday 26th February 2014

I WONDER if I am living on the same planet as the 26 Bishops of the Church of England who wrote to the Daily Mirror last week.

Whipping the car smoke ban vote is like herding cats

4:05pm Wednesday 12th February 2014

ON Monday we had a “free vote” (at least Conservatives and Liberal Democrats did).

Big cheeses over-rode democratic discussion

10:12am Thursday 6th February 2014

FORGIVE me for returning to the subject once again, but it makes my blood boil and I simply have to get it off my chest.

Living within our means is the way forward

10:02am Thursday 30th January 2014

IN the 1980s I used to teach my economics students that there were three different ways of measuring the size of our economy: by measuring the output of goods and services (national product), by the total expenditure on all those goods and services (national expenditure), or by adding up all the incomes paid for producing those goods and services (national income).

Our defences are a force to be reckoned with

3:52pm Wednesday 22nd January 2014

AS a serving officer in our reserve forces, I was rather taken aback by the comments last week by the former US defence secretary Robert Gates, who said that we could no longer be considered a full military partner with the US because of the reductions in our own defence capability, consequent upon expenditure cuts which are part of the Government’s deficit reduction strategy.

EU referendum over House of Lords reform

3:33pm Friday 17th January 2014

EVERY sitting parliamentary day (with the exception of Friday) begins with an hour of question time, with each department of state answering questions once a month. Last Tuesday it was the turn of the Deputy Prime Minister.

Proud to be allied with Scotland

4:19pm Wednesday 8th January 2014

LAST week, while skiing in the French Alps, I shared a chairlift with a Scotsman wearing a kilt.

We're only doomed if we choose to be

7:00am Wednesday 1st January 2014

THE beginning of the year, and even more so the period after Christmas and just before new year, is full of predictions about the future, and usually doom laden ones.

Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority should be scrapped

9:38am Wednesday 18th December 2013

I HAVE had the luxury of replying to the indignant emails, complaining about the proposed 11 per cent pay rise for MPs, by saying: “Not me guv” and telling them to write to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) instead.

I nearly fell off my seat...

11:37am Wednesday 11th December 2013

LAST week when the Prime Minister returned from China, I nearly fell off my seat when an Opposition spokesman complained that he had gone there at all, let alone for a second time.

Joy that referendum decision is en route

4:00pm Wednesday 4th December 2013

TO my absolute joy – and amazement – the EU Referendum Bill completed all its remaining stages in the House of Commons last Friday, after a marathon four full parliamentary days of debate in the main chamber in addition to the very lengthy committee stage.

We are making Britain less of a magnet to migrants

11:59am Wednesday 27th November 2013

I HAVE been receiving a number of emails from constituents fearful of invasion by hordes of Bulgarians and Romanians.

Portsmouth shipyard closure is complex issue

2:02pm Wednesday 20th November 2013

I HAVE been receiving a trickle of emails over the last ten days or so complaining about the decision to close the shipbuilding yard in Portsmouth, owned and operated by the defence manufacturing giant BAE Systems, while retaining their yards in Scotland.

We must remember

8:01pm Wednesday 13th November 2013

WAS asked by one of our Royal British Legion branches in the Forest to deliver the sermon at their remembrance service last Sunday. Here is what I said: “What we remember tells us something about ourselves.

Where is the Christian atttribute of charity?

2:39pm Wednesday 6th November 2013

AS soon as I heard a news item last week reporting that a senior judge, the President of the Family Division no less, had proclaimed that England was no longer a Christian country, I knew that the outraged emails would come flooding in.

High energy costs? Put on another layer

1:40pm Wednesday 23rd October 2013

LAST week a Downing Street spokesman backed off what appeared to have been earlier advice that, if people wrapped up against the cold a bit more, they could reduce their energy bills. Why withdraw such perfectly sensible advice?

Reshuffle only adds to sum of human misery

2:32pm Wednesday 16th October 2013

I DISLIKE reshuffles for a number of reasons.

Migrants were just seeking a better life

2:07pm Wednesday 9th October 2013

BAD weather prevented divers from recovering the bodies from the sunken wreck at Lampedusa.

Why we must reduce our reliance on carbon

1:41pm Wednesday 2nd October 2013

A FEW weeks ago I wrote that some emails had prompted me to reach for a copy of Mackay’s 1841 tome Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.

Making progress on treatment of women

2:35pm Wednesday 25th September 2013

THE issue of banning the niqab (the full face covering worn by some Muslim women) exploded into my emails last week. I am always taken aback at the passions aroused on this question in the market towns of the New Forest, where I am quite sure one has never been seen.

Royal Mail needs to move with the times

11:23am Thursday 19th September 2013

I REMEMBER when a ten bob postal order on your birthday left you feeling like a wealthy man, but now all it would buy you is a second class stamp.

The madness of crowds

2:28pm Wednesday 11th September 2013

IN response to more than 250 emails in the last week, I have dusted down my copy of Charles Mackay’s excellent book Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, first published in 1841 (but in human nature little changes).

We may have made the workd a more dangerous place

3:15pm Wednesday 4th September 2013

ON Friday morning last week, when I heard the news reports of the parliamentary proceedings on Syria the day before, I began to wonder if the reporters had been on another planet.

HS2 will solve the real problem of too little capacity

12:16pm Wednesday 28th August 2013

EVER since I used this column back in February to declare my support for HS2, I have acquired the dedicated services of a number of assiduous constituents who search out news items which throw doubt on the project, and send them to me.

Don't let protestors call the shots

2:14pm Wednesday 21st August 2013

THERE is a right to peaceful protest which is a proud part of our political inheritance, and it is a liberty that, as a politician, I believe it is my duty to defend – even if I might disagree with the particular views of protesters themselves.






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