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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.
11:59am Wednesday 27th November 2013
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.
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.
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.
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?
2:32pm Wednesday 16th October 2013
2:07pm Wednesday 9th October 2013
1:41pm Wednesday 2nd October 2013
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.
11:23am Thursday 19th September 2013
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).
3:15pm Wednesday 4th September 2013
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.
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.
2:24pm Wednesday 31st July 2013
11:29am Wednesday 17th July 2013
I HAVE had a few vitriolic emails this week from constituents outraged by yet another intrusion of the “nanny state”, with the Government seeking to ban packed lunches from schools because it disapproves of what parents put in them.
12:55pm Wednesday 10th July 2013
THE Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) report for consultation on a significant increase in MPs’ pay was most unwelcome because, on balance, my colleagues prefer to be modestly paid and tolerated, than well-paid but hated.
4:41pm Wednesday 3rd July 2013
12:11pm Wednesday 12th June 2013
3:16pm Wednesday 5th June 2013
IT is more than three years since I last wrote in this column about our stretch of the lower Avon valley where there are two sites of special scientific interest; these are ‘Ramsar’ sites, which is the highest designation of environmental importance.
5:37pm Wednesday 29th May 2013
I HAVE regular correspondents on the subject of Islam; some are internet ‘trolls’ who send me emails filled with complete drivel that they have picked up from nasty right wing websites quite as ‘wacky’ as the Islamists they bang on about.
5:35pm Wednesday 22nd May 2013
4:51pm Wednesday 15th May 2013
3:15pm Wednesday 8th May 2013
10:09am Wednesday 1st May 2013
WHEN I last wrote about Abu Qatada in November last year, it was on the back of quite a few emails from constituents demanding that the government proceed to deport him anyway, in defiance of the courts.
7:43pm Wednesday 24th April 2013
3:23pm Wednesday 17th April 2013
4:10pm Wednesday 10th April 2013
1:15pm Wednesday 3rd April 2013
I WRITE fresh from the packed Easter Day service at my parish church, where we enthusiastically sang a magnificent choice of triumphal Easter anthems including my favourite, Thine be The Glory, Risen Conquering Son.
3:31pm Monday 1st April 2013
5:12pm Wednesday 20th March 2013
2:56pm Wednesday 13th March 2013
1:00pm Wednesday 6th March 2013
4:13pm Wednesday 27th February 2013
4:07pm Wednesday 20th February 2013
9:04am Thursday 14th February 2013
THERE should be no doubt of the government’s commitment to the NHS. In the toughest financial climate we have faced in years, it has been increasing the NHS budget by £12billion more than was planned, with more money going to the front line and less spent on management and bureaucracy: there are 4,000 more doctors than at the last election; and 8,000 fewer managers.
11:51am Wednesday 6th February 2013
EVERY now and again someone will write, or come to my surgery, to discuss the possibility of reopening the old railway line from Lymington to Ringwood and beyond (although one haulier wanted me to have it turned into a road).
3:49pm Wednesday 30th January 2013
11:53am Wednesday 16th January 2013
11:32am Wednesday 9th January 2013
1:22pm Wednesday 2nd January 2013
THE police log of the events that took place at the gate of Downing Street when the chief whip had his now infamous altercation, states that Mr Mitchell was threatened with arrest under the provisions of the Public Order Act.
3:00pm Wednesday 19th December 2012
I HAVE been inundated in the past few days by emails: one of those campaigns where lots of people send you an identical email generated by a campaign website; this time it is on the government’s draft Communications Bill.
4:59pm Wednesday 12th December 2012
5:17pm Wednesday 28th November 2012
LAST Thursday my colleague Sir Tony Baldry MP was summoned to the House of Commons by the Speaker to answer an urgent question on the failure of the Synod of the Church of England to approve the consecration of female Bishops.
4:48pm Wednesday 21st November 2012
12:47pm Thursday 15th November 2012
4:06pm Wednesday 7th November 2012
AS someone who, in 1975, voted to withdraw from the Common Market, it is quite galling to be lectured about the need to cut the EU budget by members of the Opposition who, when in government, oversaw a 47 per cent rise in that budget, and furthermore, who simply gave away £2billion of the UK’s annual rebate which Mrs Thatcher secured for us.
3:31pm Thursday 1st November 2012
12:40pm Wednesday 24th October 2012
IT was déjà vu when I saw the Telegraph headline on Friday trumpeting its discovery that 27 MPs were claiming expenses for the cost of staying in London during the week while at the same time letting properties that they own (and, presumably, could have stayed in instead).