Playhouse deserves national acclaim

12:44pm Wednesday 16th April 2014

WITH Parliament now in a two-week Easter recess, I welcome the opportunity to spend time with my family in the evenings, but also the extra time to accept some of the many midweek constituency invitations, which Westminster commitments so often prevent me from accepting.

Salisbury a great site for a new university

3:38pm Wednesday 9th April 2014

THIS weekend, my attention was drawn to David Willets’ speech about the role of universities in higher education “cold spots”.

Surgery reinforced my views on care

2:14pm Wednesday 2nd April 2014

AT the end of last week, I spent time at Three Swans Surgery and was grateful for the opportunity to sit in on a weekly case review conference and listen to local GPs.

Significant step forward in pensions market

1:51pm Wednesday 26th March 2014

EVENTS at Westminster last week were dominated by the Budget statement, which was particularly good news for savers and those close to retirement.

Fairer school funding from 2015

1:42pm Wednesday 19th March 2014

IT was good to be in the House last Thursday for an unexpected announcement on school funding.

Grateful for chance to meet patients

12:30pm Wednesday 12th March 2014

FOLLOWING my debate on the future of the A303, which, as anticipated, provoked a considerable range of reactions, it was back to a busy programme of constituency engagements.

Debate secured on A303

4:30pm Thursday 6th March 2014

IN Westminster this week I secured a debate on the future of the A303.

No credible alternative to universal credit

2:12pm Wednesday 26th February 2014

THIS past week has seen a great deal of debate around welfare reform and food banks, with critical comments from the newly-elevated Cardinal Nichols and a letter signed by a number of Anglican bishops.

Please come to me with any flooding issues

3:50pm Thursday 20th February 2014

The last week has been dominated by news of the damage caused by floods and debate around the response of the Government and Environment Agency to the crisis.

Practical issues in implementing smoke ban

3:54pm Wednesday 12th February 2014

It has been a busy week with a return train journey to Westminster on Sunday evening to join the MPs’ panel on BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour.

Engage in discussion with our EU partners

10:11am Thursday 6th February 2014

LAST week saw the conclusion of the Immigration Bill’s passage through the Commons, and with it discussion of a controversial amendment to allow the deportation of foreign criminals.

Let small businesses get on with their work

10:00am Thursday 30th January 2014

THE dividing lines between the opposition and the Conservative Party were brought into sharp focus over the weekend, when Ed Balls confirmed his intention to raise taxes if Labour wins the next election.

MPs are not consulted on planning matters

3:43pm Wednesday 22nd January 2014

A FAIR proportion of my time in Westminster is spent fulfilling my duties as a Parliamentary Private Secretary in the communities and local government department – even more so this week, as it was our turn to field departmental questions on Monday.

Proposals welcome to curb benefits tourism

3:21pm Friday 17th January 2014

ONE of the hot topics frequently in the headlines over the new year period has been the possibility that many tens of thousands of migrants could come to this country from Romania and Bulgaria.

Cuts will not weaken our flood defences

4:14pm Wednesday 8th January 2014

THE first full week of the new year is always difficult as the challenges that lie ahead come into focus. I was pleased to hear a clear statement from the Prime Minister about protecting pensions to 2020.

My new year hope for hard-working families

7:00am Wednesday 1st January 2014

THE approach of 2014 brought the customary range of predictions about the prospects for the economy and the likely challenges facing the Government as well as rash assessments as to the outcome of the general election as a consequence.

Ending the year on a positive note

10:26am Friday 27th December 2013

THIS year has been busy and eventful – both nationally and in Salisbury but I feel it is ending on a positive note.

Busy week in the run-up to Christmas

9:37am Wednesday 18th December 2013

I JOINED manager Kevin Taylor and his team last Friday morning at Salisbury’s Royal Mail delivery office. It was pleasing to hear that Salisbury has achieved the highest quality rating in the south-west, at 94.7 per cent.

Greatly improved outlook for economy

11:26am Wednesday 11th December 2013

THE week kicked off with an exceptionally busy constituency surgery.

Lowering the burden on struggling homes

12:12pm Wednesday 4th December 2013

AS Christmas approaches and the weather grows colder, I welcome this week’s news that the government has taken action to reduce energy bills.

In favour of an open approach to foreign affairs

11:53am Wednesday 27th November 2013

ON Monday the Foreign Secretary delivered a statement to the House on Iran. An agreement has been signed that will mean Iran will stop enriching uranium beyond five per cent and it will “neutralise” its stockpile of uranium enriched beyond this point.

Return of GPs to centre of healthcare provision

2:10pm Wednesday 20th November 2013

THERE have been some welcome announcements over the past week concerning the Government’s intent to give over 75s a named GP responsible for coordinating their care.

Tackling the root causes of reoffending

8:03pm Wednesday 13th November 2013

ON Monday I was pleased to have the opportunity to speak in the second reading of the Offender Rehabilitation Bill. The key provision of this legislation is to create a new supervision period for offenders released from short custodial sentences.

Time to look at which green taxes work

1:56pm Wednesday 6th November 2013

IT was my pleasure last Sunday to be present at the superb We Will Remember Them concert at the City Hall – an entertaining and fitting tribute to the sacrifice of our Armed Forces – past and present.

Bridging divide between north and south

5:02pm Thursday 31st October 2013

SELDOM does a week go by without a meeting or discussion that gives me genuine pause for thought. Last Friday, a passionate and well-informed group of local Christian Aid supporters put the case for transparency in corporate tax affairs.

Postive steps being taken in Salisbury BID

12:04pm Wednesday 23rd October 2013

THIS time last week, many parents will have had an enforced day off work due to the teachers’ strike.

A303 is back on the political agenda

3:05pm Wednesday 16th October 2013

ONE issue has dominated the last seven days. A decade after the first dualling project bit the dust, mired in costly public enquiries and legal challenges from environmentalists and archaeologists, the A303 is back on the political agenda.

Back to Parliament for the run-up to Christmas

2:53pm Wednesday 9th October 2013

THIS week it was back to Parliament, where I am looking forward to the ten weeks running up to Christmas, one of the busiest and most productive times in the parliamentary calendar.

Housing help is boost for armed forces

11:55am Wednesday 2nd October 2013

THIS week I attended the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, where there were several key announcements on policy issues that really matter locally.

Gaining headlines at party conferences

2:57pm Wednesday 25th September 2013

LATE September means party conference season where MPs visit seaside towns, or in my case Manchester, to meet with party members.

Impressed by schools' debate team

4:01pm Wednesday 18th September 2013

BEFORE I head off to Manchester, I relish the opportunity during the conference recess to engage with the full spectrum of events and issues across the constituency.

Fighting for the future of Porton Down

1:49pm Wednesday 11th September 2013

IT was my pleasure to join Wilton Chamber of Commerce for their networking lunch last Friday.

Sobering events in Syria

3:50pm Wednesday 4th September 2013

LAST week produced a sobering debate in Parliament, and the outcome of the vote and the ongoing crisis in Syria has continued to dominate the headlines.

Action in Syria must have clear objectives

12:01pm Wednesday 28th August 2013

THE news last week that chemical weapons have been used in Syria was chilling.

Positive signs of recovery

2:18pm Wednesday 21st August 2013

WITH recess still in full swing, time in the constituency has passed in a flurry of meetings, events and advice surgeries.

Delay surrounding new UTC causes concern

4:29pm Thursday 15th August 2013

THIS week’s announcement of the decision by Wiltshire’s chief constable to delay the conversion of the Wilton Road police station into Salisbury’s University Technical College until 2015 will undoubtedly have caused concern among those who hoped to start there in 2014.

Hospital grant is great news

12:06pm Wednesday 31st July 2013

THIS week started with a trip to London to attend a meeting at the Department of Health on palliative care for children.

Recess from parliament is no ‘holiday’ for MPs

4:37pm Wednesday 24th July 2013

PARLIAMENT’S summer recess began last week and consequently I have had no shortage of constituents eager to “congratulate” me on my six-week ‘holiday’.

It's vital that work pays more than benefits

11:22am Wednesday 17th July 2013

THE NHS has been in the news this week at a number of levels. It is important for me to connect the contours of national debate with what is going on in Salisbury and south Wiltshire.

I support Gove's drive to raise school standards

11:50am Wednesday 10th July 2013

LAST weekend was a busy one and also a momentous one for the UK. It was very encouraging for British sport to see the triumph of both the British Lions and Andy Murray in tense and exciting games.

A week of cultural events around Salisbury

3:32pm Wednesday 3rd July 2013

THIS is invariably a busy time of year both in Parliament and in Salisbury.

Not about police pocketing money

10:42am Thursday 27th June 2013

MANY people’s first reaction on hearing of the closure of Wilton Road’s police station will be a great sadness. I understand and share that sentiment.

Syrian conflict is not black and white

1:24pm Wednesday 19th June 2013

THIS week’s news has been dominated by coverage of the G8 summit. The two main subjects discussed were how to tackle the civil war in Syria and tax evasion by large corporations – both topics that have attracted a heavy mailbag from constituents in recent weeks.

I welcome proposed changes to GCSEs

12:18pm Wednesday 12th June 2013

THIS week Parliament started with a statement from the Foreign Secretary responding to weekend allegations that the data-gathering centre GCHQ in Cheltenham circumvented the law to gain information on UK citizens.

Proud to have Dstl in my constituency

2:58pm Wednesday 5th June 2013

PARLIAMENT reconvened this week following the Whitsun recess.

We need to protect our innocent people

3:44pm Wednesday 29th May 2013

THE united condemnation of the barbaric murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich last week has raised important issues about how a civilised country like ours protects innocent people from random acts of evil.

Wishing our new mayor stamina and good humour

4:49pm Wednesday 22nd May 2013

AFTER many hours of negotiations with ministers, I am delighted that the past week brought final confirmation from Michael Fallon MP, the Business Minister, of the £8m Regional Growth Fund investment to start building work on the new Porton Down Science Park.

Stars Appeal is great aid to our hospital

4:40pm Wednesday 15th May 2013

I WAS delighted to see Salisbury District Hospital’s campaign to raise funds for a second CT scanner get off to a successful start.

The calm after the council election storm

3:27pm Wednesday 8th May 2013

THE dust has now settled after last week’s local council elections and a large number of new and returning councillors are getting down to the serious business of representing the electorate at city and unitary levels.

We are fortunate to have those who stand in local elections

11:54am Wednesday 1st May 2013

WITH the Parliamentary session finishing last week we eagerly await the Queen’s Speech and the new session beginning on May 8.

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