04 JUL 2019

MP renews petition to government on school funding

On Tuesday June 2 2019, I presented a further public petition of just under 500 signatures to Parliament on behalf of residents of Woodcote and surrounding villages with schools feeding into Langtree School.

The petition was the next stage in a series of petitions on behalf of local secondary schools and the schools that feed into them to put pressure on Government to review school funding and to establish once and for all the various issues raised and to ensure that there is a fair distribution of funding for schools across the constituency. In May I presented a similar petition on behalf of Gillotts School and residents of Henley. This petition incorporated those resident in Woodcote and in surrounding villages.

A public petition presented by an MP in the House of Commons is a formal procedure. An MP is able to make a statement explaining what the petitions is about and formally placed the petition into the petitions bag. A reply from a Government Minister is generally expected.

I said:

'In May I presented a petition on behalf of Gillotts School and residents of Henley and as a result other people in the constituency wanted to make their views known too. The headteacher of Langtree School, Simon Bamford, had raised his concerns with me and we agreed to do another petition to give voice to these concerns. I want to make clear to Ministers the strength of concern in the constituency. As many people will know I have been concerned about issues of school funding for many years and these petitions add strength to my arguments."

Over time John has asked questions of Minsters, arranged meetings for teachers and governors with Ministers, and been part of the f40 schools funding group which campaigns for fairer funding in education.

I added:

"I have become increasingly frustrated at what seems to be contradictory information and data published and want to bottom this out. Historically the National Funding Formula has disadvantaged rural schools and often successful schools which is simply unfair. Some improvements have been made but this needs to go further. I appreciate that there are areas where additional funding is needed to support underprivileged children but there also needs to be recognition of the costs associated with rural areas."

Public petitions are recorded in Hansard (the Official Report of the proceedings of Parliament) and the full text of the petition is sent to the Government department responsible for the subject matter of the petition. It would normally receive a response from the department within two months of it being presented and this too is recorded in Hansard.

NOTES:

PETITION READS

To the House of Commons

The Petition of petitioners of residents of Woodcote, Oxfordshire and friends of schools in the surrounding area

Declares that a funding review is needed in relation to schools in the Henley constituency; further that this school funding review should address how funding increases will be made in relation to schools in the Henley constituency in real terms beyond the amounts already being spent on schools and how to eliminate the gap between the best and lowest funded schools in the constituency; further that there must be a review of areas of inflationary pressures and situations where schools provide additional services such as social care, or deal with criminal behaviour to examine the real costs of providing education; further that there must be an assessment into the extent and access to capital funding; further that the Basic Entitlement must form an appropriate percentage of the National Funding Formula used locally; further that the Department and Treasury must ensure that small primary schools in the constituency remain integral to their communities.

The petitioners therefore request the House of Commons to ask the Department of Education and the Treasury to conduct a review of school funding in Henley that addresses the issues stated above, in advance of the Comprehensive Spending Review; and further requests that the findings of this review are communicated to the House of Commons.

And the petitioners remain, etc

ENDS

Video link to presentation of petition in the Chamber: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2mJgigipPk&t=54s

For more information on Public Petitions present by MPs see https://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/sign-a-petition/paper-petitions/

For information on the f40 Group http://www.f40.org.uk/


02 JUL 2019

MP welcomes Berinsfield as Garden Village project

Following a competitive process the Government has announced that Berinsfield is one of the 19 successful bids for Garden village status.

I welcomed this news and said:

'This is good news for the village which has long suffered from under-investment. The community is a strong community well supported by a good Parish Council with which I meet periodically. They work hard to get the best that they can for the community and need support in doing so. This status will help in providing much needed infrastructure and facilities. I look forward to keeping in touch with the community as plans are developed.'

Berinsfield was an extension of RAF Benson and used during the war to train bomber pilots. After the war it was sold to the then rural District Council where a council estate was built. It has long needed more recent investment. The garden village status will mean that the Government will provide South Oxfordshire District Council (the Local Planning Authority) with £150,000 of capacity funding in this financial year to help progress the design and delivery of the Garden Village which carries costs beyond those typically incurred by planning authorities. This capacity funding will ensure that the village will have the resources to fulfil their growth ambitions by procuring dedicated project teams, holistic mater-planning and the key studies needed to anticipate and offset the impact of housing growth.

Stuart Scott-Ely, Chairman of Berinsfield Parish Council said

"Most in our community are in general support of the need for additional space to grow. We urgently need a better mix of housing tenure to meet the changing needs of our existing aging population plus more local employment opportunities, shops, infrastructure and starter homes for our younger parishioners. The village has long been promised a major regeneration package including a new primary school, health centre, sports centre and community hub. This announcement Berinsfield is to receive Garden Village status is welcome news. We look forward to working with SODC's regeneration team to progress the new vision and masterplan for Berinsfield so that our village may grow sustainably for future generations whilst being respectful of our wonderful setting within the Oxfordshire countryside."

I added:

"I congratulate SODC on their winning bid and look forward to seeing the development of Berinsfield come to fruition. It is a community for which I have long had great fondness, going back to my days as their County Councillor."


02 JUL 2019

MP congratulates business on stock exchange success

The local Thame business, ULS technology, has been included in this years' London Stock Exchange '1000 companies to Inspire Britain'. This London Stock Exchange Group's flagship publication profiles the 1000 most dynamic and fastest growing SMEs across the UK. This is the sixth annual edition of this ground-breaking report. SMEs are the heartbeat of our economy, driving jobs and growth. Their dynamism plays a huge part in the UK's ability to innovate and export, and, in doing so, creates high-quality jobs for the next generation.

I said:

'I was delighted to receive notification of this achievement from the London Stock Exchange. SMEs are at the heart of business across this constituency and this shows what value they can add locally and nationally. I have written to the company to congratulate them. I hope this can be taken as an encouragement to other companies in the area.'

'1000 Companies to Inspire Britain' is an annual celebration of some of the fastest-growing and most dynamic small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK. As well as identifying 1000 companies, the annual report examines in detail the opportunities and challenges facing SMEs and looks at the sectors and trends that will shape the future of the UK economy. This year 144 companies in the South East of England are included in the list.

https://www.lseg.com/resources/1000-companies-inspire/1000-companies-inspire-britain


20 JUN 2019

John Howell MP celebrates Thank a Teacher Day

This Thank a Teacher Day, Wednesday 19th June, I paid tribute to teachers across the Henley Constituency, whose hard work means that more children are gaining the education they need to get on in life. The day is an annual opportunity to celebrate the huge difference teachers make to their students' lives and recognise how their hard work has improved standards in schools across the country.

66 more schools in Oxfordshire are now rated good or outstanding than in 2010, whilst 1.9 million more children are attending good or outstanding schools nationally. Thanks to the dedication of our teachers, children's reading and writing skills have improved, with 82 per cent of 6-year olds reading well now compared to only 58 per cent in 2012. These higher standards in our schools will transform children's chances in life, and are impossible without the work of teachers, teachers' assistants and support staff who all play an important role in delivering a world-class education for every child.

I am committed to supporting teachers and am pleased to see that the workforce has grown by 10,000 since 2010. I am also pleased to see a new Retention and Recruitment Strategy which will attract more people into teaching and ensure their workloads are reasonable. The Strategy will make it easier to become a teacher, reward teachers financially for staying on and launch a new two-year package of training and support for teachers at the beginning of their career, backed by £130 million year.

I said:

"I have a rolling programme of visiting the schools in my constituency and am impressed time and time again at the work that our teachers do. An inspirational teacher has a profound effect – not only on students' academic achievements, but on their self-confidence and ambition too. Great schools are made by great teachers. I am consistently struck by the dedication of teachers working in schools across the Constituency, doing all that they can to help all our children can fulfil their potential."


17 JUN 2019

MP and The Henley College hold evening on Apprenticeships

On 13 June 2019 I and the Henley College joined forces to host an evening to take forward The Henley College's Apprenticeship Programme.

Apprenticeships give young people a great way to learn while they are working and earning. For employers, apprentices bring passion and energy into the business. The Henley College already provides Apprenticeships in Childcare, Business Administration and Supporting Teaching and Learning. The aim of the evening was to discuss with companies how other apprenticeships could be developed by the college and taken forward with the help of those companies.

The idea was initiated by Jme and I spoke of the richness of the apprenticeship scene in the Constituency. I pointed to the almost 120,000 apprenticeships which existed in the South-East especially in engineering and manufacturing and in the health and public services sectors. The event also heard from Nick Sadler of Goldfinch Studios whose background included the music business as well as films. In addition, Jo Bright of Volvo gave a talk about how she had originally been part of the Volvo Apprenticeship Programme and is now the Customer Relations Head for the UK and Ireland. Finally, Dr Julian Brinsford, who is the Head of Faculty at the college, talked about the development of T levels and industry placements.

The event was compered by Shirley Woodcock who is the college's Head of Apprenticeships and Training. Shirley said:

"This successful event gave The Henley College the opportunity to showcase its current offer and also to discuss its three-year development plan for the future of apprenticeships. We are working with Goldfinch Studios on the development of a new apprentice programme and to further strengthen our relationship with Volvo, Invesco and other local businesses. ."

I said:

"I was very pleased to be part of this event. The Henley College can offer a fantastic array of apprenticeships which provide a real opportunity to school leavers. I would like to see apprenticeships and going to University viewed in equal terms and I am pleased that the Government has introduced the Apprenticeships Levy to help pay for apprenticeships and also the Institute of Apprenticeships and Technical Education so that we can ensure that all apprentices follow high quality and assessed programmes."


12 JUN 2019

Supporting unpaid carers

I have pledged my support to unpaid carers across the Henley constituency as part of Carers Week 2019, running from 10-16 June.

Carers Week is a national awareness week that celebrates and recognises the vital contribution made by those caring unpaid for someone living with an illness, disability, mental health condition or as they grow older. Research released for Carers Week suggests there could be many more people than previously thought acting as unpaid carers to their family and friends - as many as 8.8 million adult carers across the UK.

I attended an event in Parliament to celebrate the valuable contribution carers make locally.

The seven charities driving Carers Week 2019 are calling on individuals, organisations and services throughout the country to improve the lives of carers by getting carers connected to practical and financial support, and are calling for a step change in the way society supports those caring unpaid for family and friends.

The call comes after new research revealed that one in three unpaid carers (35 per cent) are always or often lonely, compared with just one in twenty (five per cent) of the general population.

I said:

"Carers make a huge contribution to our society, providing vital and often hidden support to friends and family members.That is why I am supporting Carers Week 2019 and encouraging individuals and organisations across the Henley constituency to think about what more they can do to get carers connected to support and ensure carers feel valued and supported."

Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, on behalf of Carers Week, said:

"Caring for family or friends can be a rewarding experience, but without the right support it can also have a huge impact on carers' lives. Our research shows that many carers feel alone and are struggling with low levels of wellbeing despite the invaluable contribution they make. It's time carers received greater recognition and support.

"Government, employers, health and care professionals, schools and universities, and each of us individually, all have a role putting carers in touch with practical and financial help."

The charities supporting Carers Week 2019 are Carers UK, Age UK, Carers Trust, Motor Neurone Disease Association, MS Society, Rethink Mental Illness and Sense.

The headline supporter of Carers Week 2019 is British Gas, who will be providing its customers with support and advice on unpaid caring throughout the week, and Nutricia Advanced Medical Nutrition also supporting.

Thousands of events are taking place across the country this week, and thousands of people have already pledged their support for carers online. To find out more about events in the Henley constituency or for further information about caring visit www.carersweek.org


03 JUN 2019

Statement on Neighbourhood Plans in South Oxfordshire

 I can understand concerns resulting from a report in the Henley Standard that the withdrawal of the Local Plan would render all Neighbourhood Plans null and void. However, I do not believe that the situation is as stated. Let me explain why.  In short, it is wrong to say that if the Local Plan is withdrawn, all the Neighbourhood Plans are no longer valid.

Is there cause for alarm?

First, the South Oxfordshire Local Plan has not been withdrawn. I think it would be prudent to wait and see what actually happens before becoming over-alarmed. I understand that a number of options are being considered.

When can Neighbourhood Plans be prepared?

Second, it is worth remembering that Neighbourhood Plans can be developed before, at the same time as, or after the local planning authority has produced its local plan. To that extent, the Neighbourhood Plans can exist independently where a Local Plan has not been made or has been withdrawn. When brought into force, Neighbourhood Plans do of course become part of the development plan for the neighbourhood area. The starting point for decision making is the development plan. Even where a new Local Plan has not been produced, therefore, the Neighbourhood Plan still forms part of that development plan.

How to deal with conflicts

As the National Planning Policy Framework sets out, permission should not usually be granted where a planning application conflicts with an up-to-date development plan. The question is, therefore, how would the South Oxfordshire Development Plan be regarded?

First, conflicts between policies in the neighbourhood plan and those in the emerging local plan do arise particularly in respect of housing supply policies. Section 38(5) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 requires that the conflict must be resolved in favour of the policy which is contained in the last document to become part of the development plan. In the absence of a new Local Plan, the last document to become part of the development plan is the Neighbourhood Plan and this should have prominence.

In these circumstances, however, you would also have to look at the housing supply figure. This is normally a five year figure but if certain conditions are met this is reduced to three years. Those conditions are:

  • the neighbourhood plan became part of the development plan, or has been updated, two years or less before the date on which the decision is made;
  • the neighbourhood plan contains policies and allocations to meet its identified housing requirement;
  • the local planning authority has at least a three year supply of deliverable housing sites, and;
  • the local planning authority's housing delivery was at least 45% of that required over the previous three years.

Conclusions

For these reasons, it is most unlikely that any Neighbourhood Plans would not carry weight as a legitimate part of South Oxfordshire's Development Plan assuming there is a three year housing land supply. This covers a period of two years during which the Local Plan is expected to be in place. Communities may 'need' to update the Plan when the Local Plan is agreed but we have set out a more simple way of doing this than having to effectively start again from scratch. Any group with a 'made' neighbourhood plan is eligible to apply for a new set of grant and technical support in order to modify their neighbourhood plan. There is no legal requirement to update a neighbourhood plan, however this would stop it becoming out-of-date against the Local Plan if there are conflicting policies.

In relation to Neighbourhood Plans which have passed their first two years or where there is no three year housing land supply, the Plans still carry weight. It would be for an Inspector at appeal to decide on the relative weight given to this policy and others which also carry weight.

So a neighbourhood plan can be brought forward before an up-to-date local plan is in place. There would of course need to be discussion to agree the relationship between policies in the neighbourhood plan, the emerging local plan and the adopted development plan which will have taken place during the examination of the Neighbourhood Plan before the Local Plan had been approved.


23 MAY 2019

Henley MP Petitions Government on School Funding

Yesterday I presented a public petition of just under 1000 signatures to Parliament. The petition called for a review of school funding to settle, once and for all, the various issues raised and to ensure that there is a fair distribution of funding for schools across the constituency.

A public petition presented by an MP in the House of Commons is a formal procedure. An MP is able to make a statement explaining what the petitions is about and formally place the petition into the petitions bag. A reply from a Government Minister is generally expected.

I said

'I have been concerned about issues of school funding for many years and over time have asked questions of Minsters, arranged meetings for teachers and governors with Ministers, and been part of the f40 schools funding group which campaigns for fairer funding in education. I have become increasingly frustrated at what seems to be contradictory information and data published and want to bottom this out. Historically the National Funding Formula has disadvantaged rural schools and often successful schools which is simply unfair. Some improvements have been made but this needs to go further. I appreciate that there are areas where additional funding is needed to support underprivileged children but there also needs to be recognition of the costs associated with rural areas.'

Public petitions are recorded in Hansard (the Official Report of the proceedings of Parliament) and the full text of the petition is sent to the Government department responsible for the subject matter of the petition. It would normally receive a response from the department within two months of it being presented and this too is recorded in Hansard.

I added

'I look forward to receiving the Minister's reply and very much hope that it will help in clarifying what appear to be contradictions and also that any issues highlighted will be address in the next spending review.'

NOTES:

PETITION READS

To the House of Commons

The petition of residents of Henley on Thames and friends of schools in the Henley area.

Declares that a funding review is needed in relation to schools in the Henley constituency; further that this school funding review should address how funding increases will be made in relation to schools in the Henley constituency in real terms beyond the amounts already being spent on schools and how to eliminate the gap between the best and lowest funded schools in the constituency; further that there must be a review of areas of inflationary pressures and situations where schools provide additional services such as social care, or deal with criminal behaviour to examine the real costs of providing education; further that there must be an assessment into the extent and access to capital funding; further that the Basic Entitlement must form an appropriate percentage of the National Funding Formula used locally; further that the Department and Treasury must ensure that small primary schools in the constituency remain integral to their communities.

The petitioners therefore request the House of Commons to ask the Department of Education and the Treasury to conduct a review of school funding in Henley that addresses the issues stated above, in advance of the Comprehensive Spending Review; and further requests that the findings of this review are communicated to the House of Commons.

And the petitioners remain, etc

ENDS

Video link to presentation of petition in the Chamber: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJObE2g-l6E

For more information on Public Petitions present by MPs see https://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/sign-a-petition/paper-petitions/

For information on the f40 Group http://www.f40.org.uk/


29 APR 2019

MP launches Parliamentary Peititon to address school funding for Gillotts

I have today today launched a parliamentary petition to ask the Government to carry out a review in advance of the Comprehensive Spending Review of how funding increases can be improved in the Henley area and to eliminate the gap between the best and lowest funded schools in the constituency. The focus of this petition is on improving the position particularly of Gillotts School. The review will also cover some technical issues such as the role that the Basic Entitlement plays in calculating the National Funding Formula. In addition, the review would also identify the real costs above inflation of providing education and how capital funding can be better managed.

I said:

"I have used Parliamentary Petitions in the constituency to keep issues alive and at the forefront of Ministerial minds. It has worked well and there is no better issue than school funding. I am pleased that Gillotts Head Teacher, Catharine Darnton, is helping with the petition. Such petitions have played a major part in dealings with other schools in the constituency and I hope that this one will ensure the issue is thoroughly reviewed before the Comprehensive Spending Review in order to contribute to it."

The wording of the petition is set out below. Signatures to support it are being gathered with a presentation of it in the House of Commons in the next few weeks.  Such petitions are accompanied by a speech in the House of Commons from the MP. 

"To the House of Commons.

The Petition of petitioners of residents of Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire

Declare that in relation to school funding the Department for Education and the Treasury conduct a review of the following: in advance of the Comprehensive Spending Review, of how funding increases will be made in relation to schools in the Henley constituency in real terms beyond the amounts already being spent on schools; further, of how to eliminate the gap between the best and lowest funded schools in the constituency; further, to ensure that the Basic Entitlement forms an appropriate percentage of the National Funding Formula used locally; further, to ensure that small primary schools in the constituency remain integral to their communities; further, to review areas of inflationary pressures and situations where schools provide additional services such as social care, or deal with criminal behaviour to examine the real costs of providing education, and, further, to assess the extent and access to capital funding.

The Petitioners therefore request the House of Commons to ask the Department of Education and the Treasury to carry out such a review and to inform the House of Commons of its findings.

And the Petitioners remain, etc."


06 APR 2019

44,448 in the Henley constituency benefit from cut in income tax

Working families across the south-east can look forward to having more money in their pockets – thanks to a range of new Government measures coming into effect this week.

  • Giving 32 million people an income tax cut, including 44.448 people in the Henley constituency
  • Freezing fuel duty for the ninth successive year saving the typical driver saving the average car driver £1,000 by 2020 compared to Labour's plans.
  • Giving a £690 annual pay increase to over 2.4 million workers through the National Living Wage – benefiting around 188,000 people in the south-east
  • Giving people more dignity and security in their retirement in this constituency by increasing the full State Pension by 2.6 per cent this year, meaning people will get nearly £170 more a year.

From the start of the new tax year on 6 April, the personal allowance and higher rate of income tax will increase. The personal tax allowance will increase to £12,500, an increase of £650 – almost double what it was under Labour. This means a basic rate taxpayer will pay over £1,200 less income tax than they did in 2010, giving people more money in their pockets.

Our income tax cuts have taken 1.74 million of the lowest paid workers out of paying income tax altogether and taken 230,000 people out of the higher rate 40% tax bracket since 2015.

As well as cutting taxes for millions of people a year earlier than planned, fuel duty has been frozen for a ninth year in a row, saving those who use a car to travel to work and visit family thousands of pounds.

From 1 April new rates of the National Living Wage will rise again, from £7.83 to £8.21, a 4.9 per cent increase – handing a full-time worker a further £690 annual pay increase and taking his or her total pay-rise, since the introduction of the National Living Wage, to over £2,750 a year.

I said:

"The Conservatives have always been committed to keeping taxes down so people can keep more of their hard-earned money, and these measures are good news for 44,448 people in the Henley constituency who will see their taxes cut.

"We have once again cut income tax for workers and frozen fuel duty again, meaning a bit more money in people's pockets at the end of the month. Our increase to the National Living Wage mean millions of the lowest paid will receive a pay rise and people can also look forward to greater security in their retirement through increases to the state pension. We can only continue cutting taxes and increasing pay through our balanced approach to the economy."

Notes

  • We're cutting taxes for millions of people – so they have more money in their pockets
  • We are increasing the Personal Allowance to £12,500 – the amount you earn before you start paying income tax – a year earlier than planned so an average taxpayer will be £1,205 better off than in 2010. We have increased personal allowance every year, cutting taxes, and giving people more money in their pocket. This means a basic rate taxpayer will pay £1,205 less tax in 2019-20 than in 2010-11 (HMT, Budget 2018, 29 October 2018, link).
  • We are cutting income tax for 32 million people and taking almost 2 million out of paying income tax altogether, so they can focus on getting on and ahead. Overall, 32 million individuals will see their tax bill reduced in 2019-20 compared to 2015-16 and this will increase the number of tax payers taken out of income tax since 2015-16 to 1.74 million (HMT, Budget 2018, 29 October 2018, link).
  • We are increasing the Higher Rate threshold to £50,000 taking 1 million people out of the higher rate of tax. The amount people will have to earn before they pay tax at 40 per cent will increase from £46,350 to £50,000 in April 2019. This means that in 2019-20, there will be nearly 1 million fewer higher rate taxpayers than in 2015-16 (HMT, Budget 2018, 29 October 2018, link).
  • We're freezing fuel duty again to help people with the cost of filling up – whilst Labour would increase fuel duty making motorists worse off
  • We will freeze fuel duty for a ninth year – helping people with the cost of filling up their car or van. In 2019, fuel duty will remain frozen for the ninth year in a row, saving the average driver £1,000 since 2010 (HMT, Budget 2018, 29 October 2018, link).
  • Labour's Shadow Transport Secretary would increase fuel duty, hitting thousands of motorists with higher costs. He said: 'Fuel duty, frozen since 2010 at a cost of than £50 billion. Air passenger duty in aviation, broadly frozen over a similar period. Rail and bus fares up by more than a third. This is not a sensible approach to transport policy' (Andy McDonald speaking at Institute for Government, 20 March 2019, archived).
  • We're boosting the pay of the lowest earners thanks to our National Living Wage
  • We have introduced and are boosting the National Living Wage giving over 2 million worker a pay rise. From 1 April 2019 the National Living Wage will increase from £7.83 an hour to £8.21. This will benefit around 2.4 million workers and is a £690 annual pay rise for a full-time worker. In total, the annual earnings of a full-time minimum wage worker will have increased by over £2,750 since the introduction of the NLW in April 2016 (HMT, Budget 2018, 29 October 2018, link).
  • Thanks to our National Living Wage the lowest earners have seen their wages grow by 8 per cent above inflation since 2015. Supported by the National Living Wage (NLW), the lowest paid have seen their wages grow by 8 per cent above inflation since April 2015 (HMT, Budget 2018, 29 October 2018, link).
  • The Resolution Foundation has said that our National Living Wage has caused the biggest fall in low pay in 40 years. According to the Resolution Foundation, or low-paid workers on or near the National Living Wage recent earnings growth is stronger than for higher earners. They say it has 'led to a significant and welcome boost to the pay packets of Britain's least well-off workers' (Resolution Foundation, 27 October 2017, link).
  • We're making sure people have dignity in their retirement with a further increase in the state pension
  • The full State Pension will increase by 2.6 per cent this year, giving people more dignity and security in their retirement. On 6 April 2019, the basic State Pension will increase by £3.25 a week – giving pensioners £169 more a year. This means that the Government will have raised the full basic State Pension by £1640 a year since 2010. (HMT, Autumn Budget 2018, 29 October 2018, link).


29 MAR 2019

Gaza and the UN

I share the general dismay at the tragic loss of life in Gaza, which is a deeply concerning escalation in violence. However, the UNHRC inquiry failed to examine the Hamas terror group's involvement in the riots and for that reason the UK Government declined to support the subsequent report.

Hamas's exploitation of a legitimate protest to further its well-documented violent intentions towards Israeli citizens is abhorrent. The terror group, which controls Gaza, encouraged riots and infiltration attempts into Israel, knowingly and deliberately putting Gazans in harm's way. Social media was also used to encourage protestors to bring weapons hidden beneath their clothes.  Hamas Prime Minister Yahya Sinwar described the stated aim of the attempts to breach the border as follows: "We will take down the border and we will tear out their hearts from their bodies".

The UNHRC report also neglected to note that in the first instance, Israeli soldiers used non-lethal crowd dispersal measures, with strict orders that they were only allowed to use live fire if their lives were in danger; if they saw critical border security infrastructure being damaged; or if they identified main instigators or a rush by a number of people towards the border.

Last Friday, the UK's Permanent Representative to the UNHRC explained the UK's decision to abstain on a vote to adopt the report in question by stating that Hamas bear "principal responsibility as their operatives have cynically exploited the protests". The UK Government has also made clear that the presence of a dedicated agenda item concerning Israel in every UNHRC session amounts to "systemic institutional bias" and is an "impediment to dialogue" between Israel and the Palestinians.

I am also deeply concerned about the increase in indiscriminate rocket fire into Israel from Gaza. On Monday, a long-range Hamas missile destroyed a home in central Israel, wounding seven members of the Wolf family who are originally from London, including a 12-year-old girl, a 3-year-old boy and a 6 month old baby.  Over 60 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel this week, and Israel struck dozens of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets in the Gaza Strip in response to the rocket fire. I am extremely disturbed by reports that Hamas is planning a 'million man march' to mark the one year anniversary of the border protests. It is also gravely concerning that the terror group violently suppressed protest movements in Gaza itself last week.

An arms embargo on Israel and the wider boycott campaign stands to be damaging for both us and Israel.

What is clear, above all, is that the need for a renewed peace process is more urgent than ever. I remain committed to a two-state solution through direct negotiations, and all parties involved as well as the international community must step up efforts without delay.I am afraid, though, that until Hamas seeks peace instead of terror, there can be no progress towards a peace resolution with Israel


29 MAR 2019

MP welcomes money for green spaces

On 17 February, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government announced a range of ambitious initiatives to secure the future sustainability of the nation's parks and to fund the creation of new parks and green spaces. As part of this, the Government expanded the Pocket Parks Plus Programme to make available £3.75 million to local community groups to facilitate the creation of these new parks.

We invited applications from communities and, after a competitive process, we have awarded funding of up to £25,500 to 198 parks across England which includes £25,500 for Chinnor Parish Council to use within the parish and £25,500 to Drayton St Leonard Parish Council.

I said:

"I am delighted that we have won two very important amounts of funding in the constituency and I offer my congratulations to both Chinnor ad Drayton St Leonard. This is an important initiative which is all about the sustainability of some of our green spaces. I think these are so important for the health of our communities."


16 MAR 2019

John Howell MP welcomes over £24,500 to clean up high streets in South Oxfordshire, coinciding with High Street Saturday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have welcomed over £24,500 to clean up high streets across South Oxfordshire, as the Government spends almost £10 million across England to improve local high streets.

The funding will improve the quality of high streets across the country, helping to attract more residents and visitors so that local businesses can continue to thrive. It will be used to buy tools such as litter pickers and brushes, as well as providing training for residents on how to remove graffiti or tackle fly-tipping.

The release of the funding coincides with High Street Saturday, a new national campaign day to celebrate the place of the high street at the heart of communities across the country.

I was out speaking to local people and visiting businesses in Henley and Thame, encouraging people to pledge to shop locally. I will also speak to South Oxfordshire District Council about making good use of the Future High Streets Fund – a £675 million pot of money to help local areas modernise their high streets and town centres.

High streets have long been a place to bring communities together, a place for local people to access vital services and a place for businesses to thrive. But, the Government recognises that it is becoming harder for businesses on high streets across the country to compete with out-of-town shopping centres and online retailers. That's why the Conservatives in government have been:

  • Providing £10 million to help local areas clean up their high streets, making them more attractive places to work and visit. Every local authority in England is to receive a share of a £9.7 million fund to back their efforts in cleaning up high streets and town centres (Daily Mail, 16 March 2019, archived).
  • Cutting small retailers' bills by a third and taking 600,000 businesses out of paying business rates altogether, so our local businesses are able to provide more local jobs to their communities. Our £1.5 billion package announced at the 2018 Budget to support high streets builds on our strong record of over £10 billion of business rates support since 2016 (MHCLG, Press release, 24 January 2019, link).
  • Backing community leaders with £675 million of funding to help modernise their high streets and town centres. The Future High Streets Fund will empower leaders on the ground who know their communities best to transforming our town centres into the thriving community hubs of the future (MHCLG, Press release, 26 December 2018, link).
  • Relaxing planning rules to support new homes on our high streets to transform them into community hubs where people work, live and shop. There are currently over 27,000 premises lying vacant in England's town centres, if just a fraction of these vacant premises were turned into homes, thousands more people could have a roof over their head. We are also linking landlords to vacant retail units so we transform empty spaces into much needed housing for local people (MHCLG, Press release, 7 November 2018, link).
  • Establishing an expert panel to diagnose issues that affect out high streets and advise on how to make them thrive. Chaired by Sir John Timpson, Chairman of Timpson, the multiple service retailer, the panel will focus on what consumers and local communities want from their high streets (MHCLG, Press Release, 16 July 2018, link).
  • Rejuvenating the high streets with the Great British High Street Awards and supporting businesses through the Future High Street Forum. The Forum is a partnership between government, retail and property industries to restructure town centres and support the digital high street. (TheGreatBritishHighStreet, 17 October 2017, link; DCLG, Press release, 30 November 2015, link).

Today's funding will make it easier for local communities to enhance their local high streets, and make sure that they are places where the community can come together.

Commenting, I said:

"Our high streets in Henley and Thame and in villages in the constituency are at the heart of our local community. I know that times have been challenging for many town centres lately, and this area is no different. That's why I am delighted to be supporting High Street Saturday – I have been out urging local people to shop locally and talking to businesses about the support available to them. Today's funding will ensure that we keep high streets here looking their best, making it easier to encourage more people to return to the high street."

Notes

  • Saturday 16 March was a national campaign day to celebrate the high street. Communities Secretary James Brokenshire recently told a conference: 'I can tell you today there will be a national campaign day on Saturday 16 March in support of the high street ... and like me, I expect you all to be out there, making the case for the Great British High Street' (James Brokenshire speech to CCA conference, 22 February 2019, archived).


15 MAR 2019

Votes on Article 50

Following on from Wednesday's parliamentary votes on the subject of no-deal, I think it is appropriate for me to clarify the content and the subsequent developments stemming from Thursday's votes in the House of Commons. I will set out what each amendment proposed, how I voted in each and what the eventual result of the vote was. I will then focus on the main Government motion from last night, which related to the pursuit of an agreement with the EU for an extension to Article 50.

Amendment H

The first vote was an amendment tabled by Dr Sarah Wollaston MP. The objective of this amendment was to compel the Prime Minister to 'request an extension to the Article 50 period at the European Council in March 2019 sufficient for the purposes of legislating for and conducting a public vote in which the people of the United Kingdom may give their consent for either leaving the European Union on terms to be determined by Parliament or retaining the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union.' In essence, this amendment sought to instruct the Prime Minister to hold a Second Referendum on the UK's membership of the EU. I do not like the idea of a Second Referendum. With both camps still exaggerating their claims on what post-Brexit will look like, I think it is naïve to expect a referndum to be conducted fairly and openly. This is not the time to be looking at one. I voted against the amendment. The amendment was hugely defeated 335 – 84.

Amendment I

The second vote last night related to a cross-party amendment supported by Hilary Benn MP, Yvette Cooper MP, as well as Sir Oliver Letwin MP and Dominic Grieve MP. This amendment attempted to allow MPs to take control of the Brexit process from the Government, enabling them to force a series of indicative votes to establish MPs preferred option for Brexit. In my view, it is for Government to negotiate our terms of withdrawal from the European Union. I do not support ceding executive decision-making powers to the opposition and I therefore voted against the amendment. The amendment was defeated 314 – 312.

Amendment E

The third vote, an amendment tabled by the Labour frontbench, in the name of Jeremy Corbyn MP, sought to reject the Prime Minister's Deal, reject no deal, as well as seeking an extension of Article 50 and allowing for 'Parliamentary time' in the House of Commons, to find a majority for a different approach. I voted against this amendment. The amendment was defeated 318– 302.

Main Government Motion

After none of the preceding amendments were passed, the motion remained unaltered. The final question which MPs were called to vote upon concerned the intention to extend Article 50 until 30th June 2019, for the purpose of passing the necessary EU exit legislation, if the Withdrawal Agreement was signed. Such an extension would have to be agreed to by the EU. This was a technical motion. However, under current legislation if the Withdrawal Agreement is not agreed to the legislative default position is that we leave on 29 March. I voted for the motion. The motion was passed 412 – 202.


14 MAR 2019

MP supports Young Climate Warriors

I have written to all schools and to the Diocese of Oxford to encourage them to support Young Climate Warriors. The text of the letter I have sent is below.

The initiative follows my meeting with Katrina Judge, a member of Henley in Transition. The initiative arose from her background in environmental change and carbon offsetting.

I said:

"I welcome this initiative. It is very positive and a good way of harnessing young people's action. I am urging schools to take up this initiative and make it available. I have signed up myself!"

Katrina said:

"The science is clear - we have little more than a decade to drastically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, and it is today's school children who will bear the consequences of inaction. It is exciting to be able to empower children to help combat climate change and let their voices be heard. A growing number of children are choosing to become Young Climate Warriors - sending a clear message that they want to help look after our precious planet."

TEXT OF LETTER SENT TO SCHOOLS

Climate change is an important issue which I believe we all need to take seriously. If we don't keep global warming to less than 1.5 degrees within the next 12 years, the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty will significantly worsen for hundreds of millions of people. I have been pleased to see young people raising their concerns. It is good that they are engaged in key issues affecting them however I cannot condone the recent protests that have led to young people missing school. I wanted instead to write to you about a new and practical initiative.

We all need to do our bit to reduce our carbon footprint and I was therefore delighted to learn of the Young Climate Warriors initiative started by a constituent designed to harness the collective power of action in a positive way. When I heard about this I asked to meet with the founder and was so impressed with her work that I offered to make contact with all schools in my constituency to draw attention to the programme – hence this email. I hope that you will find it an exciting initiative, a useful teaching resource and also encourage students to become Climate Warriors themselves. There are resources for all ages and also dedicate resources for schools https://www.youngclimatewarriors.org/youngclimatewarriorsschoolsresource

Essentially climate warriors undertake the same challenge in the same week and by this collective action children together can achieve cumulative impact, and importantly, can enable their voices to be heard by undertaking positive action to combat climate change. Of course, there is nothing to stop people of all ages becoming climate warriors and taking part in weekly actions to reduce their own carbon footprint. I have subscribed!

In the UK we have played a leading role as the world has worked towards a global deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the Paris Agreement. We have been steadily cutting our emissions whilst growing the economy and have the best per person performance of any other G7 nation. We are firmly on track to meet the 2050 target to reduce emissions of all greenhouse gases by 80 per cent. But there is no room for complacency at any level. I would like to see the UK increase its ambition on climate change.

I do hope that you will subscribe to this initiative – please let me know if you do.

ENDS


14 MAR 2019

Votes on a No Deal Brexit

There has been an understandable degree of confusion surrounding the exact nature of the votes last night and I would like to take this opportunity to clarify what each vote accomplished, as well as which way I voted in each. Let me be clear; I did not vote for a No Deal Brexit and the commentators who have said that I did are simply wrong. As I have pointed out on my web-site, I do not want a No Deal Brexit and I do not believe that having one is consistent with what we promised in our manifesto. But it is the default position under the law i.e. it is what will happen if we do not agree the Withdrawal Agreement. So, the best way of avoiding a No Deal Brexit is to vote for the Withdrawal Agreement which is what I have done throughout. As I said "leaving without a deal will bring a very uncertain future for companies. This has nothing to do with whether we trade on WTO terms. I do not believe that the Prime Minister wants to leave without a deal either ."

Having said all that I do not believe you can simply abandon an element of your negotiating strategy in mid-course by rejecting the ability to simply walk away. This is not simple brinksmanship; it is a normal part of negotiations that will be familiar to those who have done negotiations around the world. I made it clear before the vote that this was my view and no one should be surprised that I voted to see it happen.

Let me now turn to the amendments and the motion of yesterday (13 March 2019).

Amendment A

The first vote was an amendment tabled by Dame Caroline Spelman MP and moved by Yvette Cooper MP. The intention of the Government motion that this sought to amend was that we would decline to leave the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement and a Framework for a Future Relationship on 29 March 2019. The Government motion also acknowledged the default legislative position. The amendment sought to change this motion to a starker decision, simply saying that The House rejects leaving the EU at any point.

Amendment F

The second vote last night was on an amendment referred to as 'Malthouse B'. The purpose of this amendment was to ensure the government starts to implement plans towards preparing for a 'managed no-deal exit' from the EU. Such measures included suggesting the Government should publish the UK's Day One Tariff Schedules immediately, allowing business more time to prepare for a no-deal scenario. I also could not support this amendment as I do not want a No Deal – managed or otherwise.

Main Government Motion

As a result of Amendment A being passed, the main Government motion now was the same as Amendment A on which I had already voted (see above). The altered motion now stated that the UK could not leave the EU without a deal at any point. I could not support the amended motion.

The votes on these amendments and the motion were highly nuanced and not as straightforward as some imagine. Refusing to take No Deal off the table is not the same as supporting a No Deal exit. To repeat;

  • throughout this whole process, I have been clear that I do not support leaving the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement and a Framework for a Future Relationship,
  • keeping 'no deal' on the table is an important negotiation strategy which ensures that the UK can negotiate from its strongest possible position.
  • the default position under legislation is that unless the UK and the EU agree a deal, or come to a decision to extend Article 50, we will be leaving the EU on March 29th 2019.

I hope this clarifies yesterday's events. There will be more votes in the next few days which take this further.


13 MAR 2019

Local community funding boost

I have welcomed the news that a good cause in my constituency has received funding from players of the People's Postcode Lottery. Inside Out has received £20,000.00 from the Postcode Local Trust which is providing transformational outdoor learning experiences for children through a school-wide programme to teach the life skills needed to be happy both inside and out.

Congratulating the organisation, I said:

"I'm delighted to hear that Inside Out have received funding from players of the People's Postcode Lottery.

" My thanks go to players of People's Postcode Lottery, as this award will make a real difference to the local community.

"I also encourage any other local groups and charities needing additional project funding to consider applying to the Postcode Community Trust, the Postcode Local Trust or the People's Postcode Trust when the next funding round opens. This type of funding can help you achieve more for your charity and the local community."

Commenting Malcolm Fleming, Head of Public Affairs for People's Postcode Lottery said:

"We are delighted that our players are helping to fund thousands of local charities and community groups across the country, including those in Henley. People's Postcode Lottery was established to raise funds for good causes. Supporting the excellent work of local organisations can help them make a huge difference to the causes and communities they serve."

To date, players of People's Postcode Lottery have raised more than £393 million for over 5,500 good causes across Great Britain.


08 MAR 2019

Education funding

A number of people have written to me with observations on school funding. I am happy to respond with a detailed analysis.   I do of course recognise that there are cost pressures on schools and I am doing all I can to raise these with the Department of Education. But we have come a long way and I would like to set out where we are. I have obtained detailed information from the Ministry of Education which I am happy to share with you.

There has been no cut to the central budget for schools; quite the reverse. In fact, the core schools and high needs budget will rise to a record £43.5bn next year.

In addition, analysis from the Institute of Fiscal Studies shows that next year real terms per-pupil funding will be more than 50% higher than it was in 2000 for 5 to 16 year olds. 94% of academy trusts and 90% of maintained schools are operating with a cumulative surplus or breaking even, with a total of £4 billion of cumulative surpluses in the system compared to £300 million of cumulative deficits.

UK spending is also high by international standards. In 2015 (the latest year for which the analysis is available), the UK spent as much, or more, per pupil, on primary and secondary state education as any country in the G7, apart from the United States. Among G7 countries, the UK spent the highest percentage of GDP on state spending on primary and secondary education in 2015 (3.8%), which put us both above the OECD and EU22 averages (3.2% and 3.0% respectively).

We have also taken on the historic challenge of introducing a fair national funding formula, to ensure that resources go where they are needed most – not based on accidents of geography or history.

In December, we published local authorities' allocations for 2019/20 under this which allocated at least 1% more funding per pupil and up to 6% for the most underfunded schools over two years (compared to 2017-18 baselines). Local authorities will continue to use this funding to set schools' budgets, in consultation with schools, to reflect local circumstances.

The issue is not therefore the overall funding for schools. This remains at record levels and talk of cuts to this is completely inaccurate. It is the fact that many schools have set out how they see cost pressures outstripping the funding that is available. Let me take some of these categories individually and set out what we are doing with them.

Teachers' pay grant: in addition to the money schools are receiving through the national funding formula, we are providing £508 million over two years to help schools with the cost of a teachers' pay rise (the largest in almost ten years) – the difference between the 1% increase schools would have been budgeting for, and the higher award the department set (3.5% main pay range, 2% upper range and 1.5% leadership range).

Teachers' pensions: additionally, we will cover for state schools and FE providers who are obliged to offer the Teachers' Pension Scheme (TPS) the increased costs of pension contributions, which underpin one of the most generous pension schemes in the country – an important part of the remuneration package for teachers. We have recently closed a public consultation on this, where we invited evidence relating to the impact on all sectors covered by the TPS, in advance of determining final funding arrangements in due course.

Capital funding: at the Budget the Chancellor announced an additional £400 million this year for capital projects in schools and other eligible institutions. We announced final allocations for individual institutions at the end of January and payments were made at the start of February.

High needs: in December, we announced a further £250 million funding for high needs over this year and the next, recognising the particular concerns that have been raised about the costs of making provision for children and young people with the most complex special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). We also announced an additional £100 million to provide the specialist facilities that children and young people with SEND need, bringing the total investment of capital funding to £365 million between 2018 and 2021. We know that the additional funding, on its own, is not the only solution, which is why at the same time we announced funding for more Educational Psychologists; in-depth research on the impacts of different types of provision and a new SEND leadership board to improve commissioning; evidence-gathering on the financial incentives in current arrangements, in particular on the operation and use of mainstream schools' notional SEN budget, which pays for the costs of SEND up to £6,000; and reviewing current SEND content in Initial Teacher Training provision and building on our existing SEND specialist qualifications.

What this means is that we are on course to create 1 million new places this decade, the biggest expansion in two generations. Already 825,000 places have been created since 2010, including through expansion of good and outstanding schools. There are now 443 free schools open across the country, with another 263 in the pipeline. This contrasts with a net loss of 100,000 school places in the six years running up to 2010. Between 2004 and 2009, 236 primary and secondary, 98 special schools and 76 PRUs closed.

I do, of course, recognise that there are still pressures on school budgets beyond these amounts, and schools rightly will always want to do more for their pupils. As well as continuing to ensure that we invest properly in our schools, it is important how that funding is used in practice, so that schools can direct the maximum resource into what they do best – teaching. That is why our Supporting Excellent School Resource Management strategy is working with the sector to help schools reduce costs and make the most of every pound eseocially with regard to support staff and recrutiment.


06 MAR 2019

More on Brexit

There is nothing that is very much new to add to the subject of Brexit at this stage. We shall have to wait a little longer for this. I am writing now to address a few points that have been brought up with me particularly after the Prime Minister offered Parliament options of either extending Article 50 or simply going for a No Deal if her Deal did not get through.

First, I want to comment on the decision of the Prime Minister to offer these alternatives At the last major vote in Parliament the Prime Minister was given a very clear sense that the House of Commons should pursue an Agreement with a legally binding solution to the Irish Backstop. A number of people have asked why she is pursuing this since they believe it is a waste of time and that the EU will not re-open the Withdrawal Agreement. She is doing this because it is what Parliament asked and it is part of our commitment to the result of the Referendum however we may have voted initially.

I have already stated my preference for the Deal that is on the table with a change to the Irish Backstop – the insurance policy that binds us to the EU The indications from both London and Brussels are that progress is being made on finding a solution to the Irish Backstop which will be acceptable. However we do not have control over the date on which a solution will be forthcoming. We could, of course, simply not wait for the EU to come back to us. But with progress being made as I write, I think that would waste a tremendous opportunity to achieve a deal. With the timing not wholly in our hands there needs to be flexibility on bringing the final state of play forward. The fuss that has been made by the Press and by the Opposition about not having the Meaningful Vote by this stage is neither realistic nor a sensible way of looking at the situation. The situation in Parliament is that the Withdrawal Agreement has been put forward by the Government. Its fate is not entirely in the Government's hands. We could simply give it up and leave without a deal. I have consistently voted for the Withdrawal Agreement because I feel it is a compromise agreement that shows that we are all moving forward. Other members of Parliament have not seen it in this light.

If the Prime Minister had not given the options she set out last Tuesday in the House, the result almost certainly would have been the removal of No Deal from the negotiating table and a potentially long extension to Article 50. That goes against what we set out in our manifesto, and what the Labour Party set out in its manifesto, - that the result of the Referendum would be honoured. What we have done is kept alive the possibility of exiting the EU and of maintaining that commitment to the result of the Referendum. As someone who has done commercial negotiations and is involved in arbitration, I look at the No Deal situation from a different perspective to some people. I do not want a No Deal. I think that ending our membership of the EU with agreement and cleanly is much to be valued and brings tidily to an end that membership.

I would just point out for those who commentate on the situation that despite the current uncertainty the UK economy is still performing outstandingly with record employment and inflation at its lowest level in two years. Productivity is up, real earnings are up, disposable household income is up and real household spending is also up. Average weekly earnings for employees are up. Foreign Direct Investment into the UK is up, and, the UK is likely to be the joint-third fastest growing economy in the G7 in both 2019 and 2020. Data released by the ONS shows that our deficit is continuing to fall while borrowing in the current financial year-to-date is down by £18.5 billion.

However, leaving without a deal will bring a very uncertain future for companies. This has nothing to do with whether we trade on WTO terms. I do not believe that the Prime Minister wants to leave without a deal either or that it would be consistent with what we promised in our 2017 manifesto. But that option is not entirely in our own hands. You cannot give up part of your negotiating strategy in mid-course and whether we are forced into a no deal situation depends in part on the flexibility of the EU. This is not simple brinksmanship; it is a normal part of negotiations that will be familiar to those who have done negotiations around the world. All of this suggests we must play a careful waiting game for a little while longer until the options are clearer.

Some have also seen no reason to compromise on the deal being presented by the Prime Minister. That deal is consistent with what we promised in our manifesto. It does not tie us into the EU forever. It sets out a further transition period of two years in which we can put together the sort of relationship we want with the EU. Many who look at it seem to want to read it as applying forever to the future. To say this is not toadying to a Party line. It is setting out a realistic vision of compromise that is a reliable way forward.


06 MAR 2019

Otmoor and the Expressway

Otmoor

The link above will take you to a letter I have received from the Minister of Transport about the potential siting of the Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge Expressway and its relationship to Otmoor.  What he says is the following:

"I am aware of the attempts to misrepresent the Government's position on this subject and the comments I made in the House on 11 January, and I have expressed my disappointment about such scaremongering online. The situation is very straightforward and I am happy to set it out again.

The Government, recognising the public concern for the protection of Otmoor Nature Reseerve, took the opportunity when announcng the preferred corridor for the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway to cease development of route options in this area.  The Department deliberately narrowed the preferred corridor to exclude Otmoor from the study area."

He goes on:

"In short, Otmoor will not be considered further in the route design process and this position would only be revisited if local people demanded it, which seems unlikely."


02 MAR 2019

Climate Change

I have said in my article in the Thame Gazette this week that I believe that climate change is a crucial issue facing the planet. However, attendance at (or the number of) a particular debate is not an indication of commitment to an issue either from me or from the Government. It is important to look at the context of the debate and what it is seeking. The debate was to seek a Statement from the Government which will tell where we go from here. It is part of the structure of the way we govern ourselves that MPs like me are representatives not delegates and as such it is down to me to allocate my time and my energy in the way I think best. On any day there are competing demands on my diary to attend public meetings, debates, committees and also private meetings with Ministers, constituents and other representatives from organisations. One of the problems with Back Bench Business Debates like the one on Climate Change is that the exact timing is not known in advance and I had a full diary of other commitments to which I needed to attend. In the Parliamentary calendar, Thursdays are generally a day when the business is such that MPs can anticipate less disruption from Government business to the diaries and thus a good day to arrange other meetings. These will have been set well ahead of publication of the topic for debate for the day.

Apart from debate in the main Chamber there are also debates in the second chamber of the House of Commons known as Westminster Hall. Here recent debates include the UN Climate Change Conference 2018 and Extreme Weather Events. In addition, Questions to Ministers and Ministerial Statements also play an important part as was the case with the Paris Climate Change Agreement and in assessing the climate change impact of Heathrow. The questioning of Michael Gove by the DEFRA select committee is also another example of intervention on climate change issues. Beyond the House, debate also continues in the Council of Europe of which I am a member. Here I have fully supported the climate change work of Lord (John) Prescott and spoke on it as Conservative Group Spokesman as well as on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the cause of Caribbean hurricanes.

Talking about climate change in debate is not the same as taking action on climate change. One advantage of these other methods of questioning Ministers is that they give MPs the chance to hear directly what Ministers and the Government have been doing.

I hope you are pleased to see that our wind farms generated more electricity than coal plants on more than 75% of days in 2017 and solar also outperformed coal more than half the time. Overall, renewables provided more power than coal plants on 315 days in 2017. Wind beat coal on 263 days, and solar outperformed the fossil fuel on 180 days. Overall, renewables now generate over 31% of our electricity.

I am pleased that since 1990, the UK has cut emissions by more than 40% while growing the economy by more than two thirds, the best performance on a per person basis than any other G7 nation. The Government's Energy Act puts Britain firmly on track to meet the 2050 target to reduce emissions of all greenhouse gases by 80 per cent and underpins the remarkable investment that the UK has seen in its low carbon economy since 2010. Greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by 23% since 2010.

The UK is a world leader in clean growth and the Government has invested more than £52 billion in renewable energy in the UK since 2010. The Industrial Strategy and Clean Growth Strategy identify and target the huge potential opportunity for the UK from clean growth and transition to a low carbon economy, while the National Adaptation Programme 2018-23 sets out a strategy for dealing with the effects of a changing climate. The Government has also agreed to support and expand offshore wind, and made the historic commitment to close all coal-fired power stations by 2025. The UK will be one of the first developed countries to take coal out of the equation, and all coal-fired power stations where carbon emissions aren't being captured and stored will be closed. A new, clean energy infrastructure will be built that is fit for the 21st century.

There is only so far we can go by getting our own emissions down. It is developing countries' action that makes the real difference, but it is these countries that cannot afford to invest. I was delighted that the agreement reached in Paris included $100 billion of support for poorer nations to mitigate, and adapt to, the impact of climate change.

The Government set up the International Climate Fund (ICF) to help the world's poorest adapt to climate change and promote cleaner, greener economic growth. Since 2011, the ICF has provided access to low carbon energy to more than 2.6 million people. The funding for the ICF has recently been raised to £5.8 billion, and is used to reduce carbon emissions, help people adapt to the effects of climate change and reduce deforestation. In addition, the UK supports efforts to integrate climate change policies into international development plans.

The Government does not provide subsidies to fossil fuel production or consumption. The sums argued by some are features of the tax regime and promote the industries concerned. For instance, the UK oil and gas sector which has made a huge contribution to the economy and supports thousands of jobs.

The Government has also made clear, through its Bioenergy Strategy, that only biomass from sustainable sources should be used in the UK. Under new biomass sustainability criteria bioenergy suppliers must report on the sustainability of their operations if they want to claim Government subsidy, and any generators that do not comply will lose this support.

We will of course need to legislate for a net zero emissions target at an appropriate point in the future, to provide legal certainty on where the UK is heading. In the meantime, Ministers will continue to seek advice from the UK's independent advisers, the Committee on Climate Change, on the UK's long-term emission reduction targets.

In this constituency it is worth noting that we have one of the leading centres in the world for the development of Fusion Energy at the Science Centre at Culham. This is a non-radioactive form of energy similar to that emitted by the Sun and will provide limitless energy without an effect on climate change. As chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Fusion Energy I am very supportive of these developments.


12 FEB 2019

The Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge Expressway

I am sorry to have to write again on the subject of the Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge Expressway but false rumours are being spread about its route.  The Minister of Transport has recently confirmed publicly in debate 'our strong preference is not to cross Otmoor. We have therefore selected options that do not do that; we have given that very clear signal.'  However, he has also pointed out to me the damage that a judicial review of the chosen route would bring.  The initial project on the road was launched in a strategic document prepared by the Ministry of Transport under the Coalition Government between the Conservatives and the Liberal-Democrats and all major political parties have supported the Expressway at some point in the past.  Two LIberal-Democrat Ministers were members of the Department at the time.

The proposed Expressway is part of a wider project over a geographical arc from Oxford to Cambridge via Milton Keynes. It is a linking up of key centres of excellence of Oxford and Cambridge and the Milton Keynes link is an important aspect of it which necessarily influences any infrastructure proposals. It is a major project with the work being pulled together under the umbrella of England's Economic Heartland. http://www.englandseconomicheartland.com/Pages/home.aspx In terms of communications the project includes East-West rail, digital infrastructure as well as the proposed road link. Let me say upfront that in principle I am generally supportive. History has shown that we must look to the longer term with infrastructure investment. It is too easy to just focus on the short term, perhaps with vested interest, and not look to the future.

If the road is to be built. suggested completion is planned for around 2030. Much of the preparatory work for this was undertaken by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) and Highways England have now taken it on.  There has been debate over the possible route of the road, particularly at the Oxfordshire end. Much of the rest is agreed and some key faciliatory works already planned or underway. At early stages three potential broad corridors for the route around Oxford were put forward. In September last year the Minister announced the proposed corridor would be Corridor B and within that discounted B2 leaving B1 and B3 for further investigation. B2 was discounted mainly due to the negative environmental impacts near to Horspath, Wheatley and the Otmoor Nature Reserve which are considered to be particularly difficult to overcome. The next stage is to look at detailed routes in the two corridors. Last autumn Highways England held some key stakeholder information events to which parish council representatives and other local councillors were invited. These were 'to discuss local constraints and opportunities with the technical specialists with a view to gathering additional local intelligence which will be fed into the route options identification and sifting process.' During this year they will be working to narrow down options. I understand that there will be a public consultation in the autumn of this year.

At present there are campaign groups working in all potential areas either seeking to support a particular route or to object to a particular route. This is only to be expected with an infrastructure project such as this and the views of all are an important part in the process. For my part, and in the absence of alternative information, I have taken the view that the route should utilise existing roads wherever possible rather than carve a new path through Green Belt land or damage other areas of environmental interest and I have suggested it needs to be routed to the west of Oxford. My rational for my view is that I have long since supported the need for the upgrading of the A34. The accident record alone suggests that we have to do something about this road.

I am also aware that congestion on the A34 puts pressure on villages which can be seen as a rat run to avoid the jams. I would be looking for improvements to the A34 along with measure to deter diversions through villages. Together with colleagues I also support the widening of the scope of the project to include the A420. This is another road that needs attention and improvements to the A420 would take pressure off of the A34.

The key focus of the project is on infrastructure to support the business rather than housing. I am aware of the National Infrastructure Commissions vision for housing along the route of the arc. I am also aware of the letter that the Housing Minister wrote last summer to all local planning authorities along the arc asking them to look to increase their housing numbers to support the arc. I was pleased to see the reply from SODC asking for clarification that the already planned growth for of the Oxfordshire authorities would be included in this. The appropriate place for consideration of any further growth would be through the preparation of the Joint Statutory Spatial Plan for Oxfordshire, the Oxfordshire Plan 2050. This is a shared plan being produced by Oxfordshire councils which is currently under first stage consultation. https://oxfordshireplan.inconsult.uk/consult.ti/Oxfordshire_Plan_Intro/consultationHome

I do not anticipate any real news on the proposed Expressway now until later this year. Details of the project can be found online at https://highwaysengland.co.uk/projects/oxford-to-cambridge-expressway/


10 FEB 2019

MPs expenses

As in past years, i am providing a note of my parliamentary expenses for the year - 2017-2018. 

Expenses are controlled under a scheme introduced by IPSA.  Of the total of £147,516.36 of my total expenses some 83% consists of the salaries I pay the staff who work for me.  MPs, not IPSA, are the employers of the staff.

Staff salaries £122463                                 83%
Staff travel    £926                                        1%
London accommodation £17237                    12%
Office costs £6889                                         4%
TOTAL £147515                                        100%



Constituency support

Thame Music Festival 13 July 2019

Attended

Convesration in the street, Thame 13 July 2019

Conducted

Conversation in the street, Goring 13 July 2019

Conducted

Discussion in Goring 13 July 2019

Attended

Meeting constituent Near Henley 13 July 2019

Attended

Leadership, Brexit and the state of Parliament 12 July 2019

Spoke

Pearson Silver Teaching Award 11 July 2019

Attended

NHS Parliamentary Awards 10 July 2019

Attended

Remembering Srebrenica 10 July 2019

Attended

Alzheimers Society Parliament 9 July 2019

Attended

Conservative Friends of Nigeria 9 July 2019

Attended and spoke

Royal Henley Regatta 7 July 2019

Attended

Benson Village fete 6 July 2019

Attended

Stadhampton Village fete 6 July 2019

Attended

Address to Europa School Baccalaureate 6 July 2019

Attended

Visit to new Warborough play area 5 July 2019

Attended

Visit to South Oxfordshire archaeological dig 5 July 2019

Attended

Meeting with the NHS 5 July 2019

Attended

BBC South Today 4 July 2019

Broadcast on Wheatley School

Presented petition for Langtree School 2 July 2019

Attended

Marshalled Thame 10k run 30 June 2019

Attended

Nettlebed fete 29 June 2019

Attended

Bix fete 29 June 2019

Attended

Armed Forces Day with air cadets Thame 29 June 2019

Attended

Thame Conversation in the street 29 June 2019

Conducted

Benson Conversation in the street 29 June 2019

Conducted

Council of Europe 24 - 28 June 2019

Attended

Tetsworth fete 22 June 2019

Attended

Mencap choir Henley 22 June 2019

Sang

Dorchester Amateur Dramatics 21 June 2019

Attended

36th Festival of Voices Dorchester 21 June 2019

Attended

Reaction Engines Culham 21 June 2019

Attended

CLA Oxfordshire meeting 21 June 2019

Attended

BBC Berkshire 20 June 2019

Attended

Meeting re Oxford cancer scanner 18 June 2019

Attended

Conversation in the street in Thame 16 June 2019

Attended

Little Milton fete 15 June 2019

Attended

Thame Carnival 15 June 2019

Attended

BBC Radio Oxford 13 June 2019

Leadership contest

Carers Week event 12 June 2019

Attended

Great Milton fete 8 June 2019

Attended

Started Otmoor Challenge 8 June 2019

Attended

Opened Horton cum Studley fete 8 June 2019

Attended

Surgery Chinnor 7 June 2019

Conducted

Bicester Gliding Club 7 June 2019

Attended

Meeting station commander RAF Benson 7 June 2019

Attended

Conversation in the street Henley 6 June 2019

Conducted

Conversation in the street Henley 3 June 2019

Conducted

Meeting Berinsfield Volunteer Centre 30 May 2019

Attended

Meeting with potential developer 30 May 2019

Attended

Meeting with University of Oxford 28 May 2019

Attended

Launch of adaptive rowing boat Henley 26 May 2019

Attended

Whitchurch Hill village fete 25 May 2019

Attended

Langtree School visit 24 May 2019

Attended

Prison officers surgery Huntercombe 24 May 2019

Conducted

RAF Benson Annual Reception 23 May 2019

Attended

BBC South Today TV broadcast on intimidation 22 May 2019

Broadcast

BBC broadcast on intimidation 22 May 2019

Broadcast

Pyrton Fete 18 May 2019

Attended

Receiving school funding petition Henley 18 May 2019

Attended

Rotary Henley talking about rubbish 18 May 2019

Attended

Illegal tobacco team Henley 18 May 2019

Attended

Society of Local Council Clerks 17 May 2019

Attended

Rupert House school 17 May 2019

Attended

Council of Europe meeting Vienna 13-14 May 2019

Attended

Conversations in the street in Henley 11 May 2019

Conducted

Conversations in the street in Thame 11 May 2019

Conducted

River and Rowing Museum 10 May 2019

Attended

Henley May Fair 6 May 2019

Attended

Chalgrove May Fair 6 May 2019

Attended

Yom Hashoah London 5 May 2019

Attended

Opened Dorchester Festival 4 May 2019

Attended

Meeting Kittle Associates 3 May 2019

Attended

BBC Berkshire Broadcast re elections 3 May 2019

Broadcast

Meeting Chief Secretary to the Treasury 1 May 2019

Attended

Meeting Oxfordshire MPs re access to justice 30 April 2019

Attended

APPG on the River Thames 30 April 2019

Attended

APPG on ADR 29 April 2019

Attended

Surgery Benson 26 April 2019

Conducted

Meeting Kirtlington 26 April 2019

Attended

Meeting Islip PC 26 April 2019

Attended

ITV Meridian The Last Word 25 April 2019

Broadcast

Nettlebed Creamery 17 April 2019

Attended

Constituent from Noke 13 April 2019

Attended

Crowmarsh outdoor gym and recreation facility 5 April 2019

Attended

English Tourism week Stonor 5 April 2019

Attended

English Tourism week Nufield Place 5 April 2019

Attended

English Toruism week Harcourt Arboretum 5 April 2019

Attended

English Tourism week Waterperry 5 April 2019

Attended

Federation of Masetr Builders 5 April 2019

Spoke on neighbourhood planning

Visited market Thame 5 April 2019

Attended

Conversations in the street Thame 5 april 2019

Conducted

Gillotts School spectacular 4 April 2019

Attended

Broadcast for BBC Oxfordshire 29 March 2019

Attended

Broadcast for ITV Meridian 28 March 2019

Attended

Visit to Thame United 23 March 2019

Attended

Mayor of Thame's Charity dinner 22 March 2019

Attended

Cut ribbon for new Henley bus 16 March 2019

Attended

Support for High Streets in Henley 16 March 2019

Attended

Support for High Streets in Thame 16 March 2019

Attended

Conversation in the street Henley 16 March 2019

Conducted

Formal surgery Chinnor 15 March 2019

Attended

600th broadband cabinet launch 15 March 2019

Attended and spoke

BBC Oxford 14 March 2019

Broadcast

BBC Oxford 13 March 2019

Broadcast

BBC Berkshire 12 March 2019

Broadcast

Young Climate Warriors 8 March 2019

Attended

Conversation in the street Thame 1 March 2019

Conducted

Conversation in the street Henley 28 February 2019

Conducted

Meeting at Henley College 28 February 2019

Conducted

Meeting with Rhodes Scholars 26 February 2019

Conducted

Convesration in the street Preston Crowmarsh 23 February 2019

Conducted

Conversation in the street Weston-om-the-Green 23 February 2019

Conducted

Conversation in the street Islip 23 February 2019

Condcucted

Converrsation in the street Kirtlington 23 Febraury 2019

Conducted

Conversation in the street Bltechingdon 23 Febraury 2019

Conducted

Conversation in the street Woodcote 23 Febraury 2019

Conducted

Conversation in the street Goring 23 February 2019

Conducted

Conversation in the street Thame 22 February 2019

Conducted

Meetings in Henley 22 Febraury 2019

Attended

Conversation in the street Thame 21 February 2019

Conducted

Convesration in the street Henley 21 February 2019

Conducted

WI Benson talk 20 february 2019

Gave talk

Conversation in the street in Henley 16 February 2019

Conducted

Conversation in the street in Benson 16 February 2019

Conducted

Meeting in Thame 15 February 2019

Attended

River Thames APPG meeting 15 February 2019

Attended

BBC South Today

Broadcast on motroway junction

BBC Radio Oxford 14 February 2019

Broadcast on motorway junction

Dogs Trust Puppy Smuggling event 12 February 2019

Attended

Dinner High Commissioner of Bangladesh 11 February 2019

Attended

Conversations in the street in Goring 9 February 2019

Conducted

Conversations in the street in Henley 9 February 2019

Conducted

Convesrations in the street in Thame 9 February 2019

Conducted

Convesrations in the street in Swyncombe 9 February 2019

Conducted

Conversations in the street in Tetsworth 9 February 2019

Conducted

Snowdrop weekend Swyncombe 9 Febraury 2019

Attended

Surgery Watlington 8 February 2019

Conducted

Henley Festival 8 February 2019

Attended

HR Wallingford 8 February 2019

Attended

JCC North London 3 February 2019

Spoke and attended

Conversations in the street in Henley 2 February 2019

Conducted

Zumba and Henley and Goring Ramblers 2 February 2019

Met

Address to CIMA 31 January 2019

Attended

Numerous appearances on BBC radio Oxford, BBC TV, ITV Meridien

Various subjects but mainly the Brexit vote

All Party Parliamentary Group for Fusion Energy 29 January 2019

Chaired

Holocaust Meorial Event 27 January 2019

Attended

Council of Europe 21-25 January 2019

Attended

Numerous appearances on BBC radio Oxford, BBC TV, ITV Meridien

Various subjects but mainly the Brexit vote

Regular surgery Benson 18 January 2019

Attended

Oxfordshire company problem 18 January 2019

Attended

Oxfordshire Lowland Search & Rescue 18 January 2019

Attended

Digital currency award of £10,000 to collegaue 16 January 2019

Attended

Holocaust Memorial signing 14 January 2019

Attended

Adjournment debate on Europa school 10 January 2019

Conducted

Chinnor Rugby Football Club meeting 21 December 2018

Attended

Guide Dogs event at House of Commons 19 December 2018

Attended

BBC Radio Oxford, Berkshire and others Various dates

Broadcasts

Thame Cricket pavilion opening 16 December 2018

Attended

Conversation in the street Thame 15 December 2018

Conducted

Henley Royal Mail visit 14 December 2018

Attended

Formal surgery Henley 14 December 2018

Speaking to Henley College students 14 December 2018

Attended

Spirit of Christmas concert for Muscular Dystrophy 13 December 2018

Attended

Christmas Tree Festival Watlington 8 December 2018

Attended

Dorchester School 7 December 2018

Attended

ITV Meridien The Last Word 6 December 2018

Broadcast

Met Shiplake College Students 5 December 2018

Attended

Chaired Nuclear Fusion APPG 3 December 2018

Attended

Watlignton Christmas Fair 1 December 2018

Attended

Benson Christmas Fair 1 December 2018

Attended

Health chiefs meeting 30 November 2018

Attended

Meeting with Highways England re Expressway

Attended

Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund meeting 29 November 2018

Attended

Oratory Prep School talk 24 November 2018

Attended

Ministerial visit to Townlands 15 November 2018

Attended

Chaired River Thames APPG 14 November 2018

Attended

Chaired APPG on Alternative Dispute Resolution 12 November 2018

Attended

APPG on Policing 12 November 2018

Attended

ITV Meridien News 6 November 2018

Broadcast

Meeting with Schools Minister 6 November 2018

Attended

Townlands War Plaque Unveiling 2 November 2018

Attended

Meeting Parish Councils Gallowstree Common 2 November 2018

Attended

Surgery Henley 2 November 2018

Checkendon World War 1 exhibition 1 November 2018

Attended

BBC Radio Oxford 30 October 2018

Broadcast

ITV Meridien News 29 October 2018

Broadcast

Checkendon WWI exhibition 26 October 2018

Opend and attended

Meeting Oxford Health 26 October 2018

Attended

Macmillian 24 October 2018

Attended

Councillors surgery Henley 18 October 2018

Attended

Lifeboats stand Henley 18 October 2018

Attended

Conversation in the street Henley 18 October 2018

Conducted

Surgery Watlington on Police 20 October 2018

Attended

Formnal Surgery in Chinnor 19 October 2018

Constituent in Nettlebed 19 October 2018

Attended

Woodcote Parish Council 19 October 2018

Attended

Clifton Hampden travellers 19 October 2018

Attended

Sue Ryder Women of Achievement 18 October 2018

Attended

Relaunch of MAST Culham 18 October 2018

Attended

Council of Europe Strasbourg 7 - 12 October 2018

Attended

Thames Valley Police 50th Party 5 October 2018

Attended

Conservative Party Conference 30 September - 3 October 2018

Attended

Chinnor RFC Business Lunch 28 September 2018

Attended

Council of Europe, Lisbon 23-24 September 2018

Attended

National Land Access Centre Aston Rowant 14 September 2018

Attended

Holocaust Memorial Day Trust 12 September 2018

Attended

Henley Show 8 September 2018

Attended

Surgery Dorchester on Thames 7 September 2018

Visit to Project Swift, Culham 7 September 2018

Attended

Meeting with SOHA 7 September 2018

Attended

Meeting with GWR and Network Rail 6 September 2018

Attended

Breast Cancer wear it pink 5 September 2018

Attended

Surgery with Chris Grayling 4 September 2018

Attended

Bloodwise event 4 September 2018

Attended

Regatta for the disabled 1 September 2018

Conducted

Conversation in the street Roke 25 August 2018

Conducted

Day out with the police in Henley 24 August 2018

Attended

BBC South Today TV 24 August 2018

Interviewed on planning

Conversation in the street 23 August 2018

Conducted

Oxford airport 22 August 2018

Attended

Chinnor Community Awards 21 August 2018

Attended

Meeting with constituent 21 August 2018

Attended

RSPB Otmoor 21 August 2018

Attended

Thame Community Market 21 August 2018

Attended

Conversation in the street Thame 20 August 2018

Conducted

Conversation in the street Henley 20 August 2018

Conducted

Visit to Martin Baker 17 AUgust 2018

Attended

Conversation with NHS Property Services 17 August 2018

Attended

Conversation in the street Weston on the Green 18 August 2018

Conducted

Conversation in the street Thame 18 August 2018

Conducted

Conversation in the street Benson 16 August 2018

Conducted

Conversation in the street Wheatley 16 August 2018

Conducted

Conversation in he street Henley 16 August 2018

Conducted

Chinnor Heritage Train 15 August 2018

Attended

Conversation in the street Henley 7 August 2018

Conducted

Meeting Thame Leisure complex 7 August 2018

Attended

Visit to Moreton 7 August 2018

Attended

Meeting with SODC 6 August 2018

Attended

Conversation in the street Chinnor 6 August 2018

Conducted

Convesration in the street Thame 6 August 2018

Conducted

Conversation in the street Thame 2 August 2018

Conducted

Conversation in the street Little Milton 2 August 2018

Conducted

Conversation in the street Watlington 1 August 2018

Conducted

Conversation in the street Sonning Common 1 August 2018

Conducted

Conversation in the street Henley 1 August 2018

Conducted

Conversation in the street Benson 1 August 2018

Conducted

Meeting at Weston on the Green 30 July 2018

Conducted

Convesration in the street Thame 30 July 2018

Conducted

Chequers Agreement meeting with Conservatives 26 July 2018

Chaired

Conversation in the street Henley 26 July 2018

Conducted

Conversation in the street Watlington 26 July 2018

Conducted

Conversation in the street Henley 25 July 2018

Conducted

Meeting with Justin Tomlinson MP re. CMS 24 July 2018

Attended

Visit to Henley Literary Festival stand 22 July 2018

Attended

Gillotts end of term concert 19 July 2018

Attended

Surgery Benson 20 July 2018

Age UK meeting 20 July 2018

Attended

Meeting SODC 20 July 2018

Attended

Braodband launch Maidensgrove 20 July 2018

Attended

'Conversation in the street' Thame 19 July 2018

Conducted

'Conversation in the street' Benson 19 July 2018

Conducted

Initiated debate on Russia and the Council of Europe 18 July 2018

Attended

Chaired APPG on ADR 17 July 2018

Attended

Meeting with Esther McVey 16 July 2018

Attended

Royal International Air Tattoo 14 July 2018

Attended

BBC Politics Show 13 July 2018

Recorded

Meeting Head Langtree Woodcote 13 July 2018

Attended

RAF Benson School 13 July 2018

Attended

Laid a cross for Richard Hewer 8 July 2018

Attended

Israel Leadership Dialogue 6-9 July  2018

Attended

Beating Retreat Ambrosden 30 June 2018

Attended

Nettlebed fete 30 June 2018

Attended

'Conversation in the street' in Thame 30 June 2018

Attended

Tetsworth fete 30 June 2018

Attended

Council of Europe, Strasbourg 24 June - 29 June 2018

Attended

Meteor choir, Henley 23 June 2018

Attended

'Conversation in the street' Henley 23 June 2018

Conducted

Home Educators 22 June 2018

Attended

Church House meeting re schools 22 June 2018

Attended

Crowmarsh school Pearson Teaching Awards 22 June 2018

Attended

Meeting constitiuent Henley 22 June 2018

Attended

NHS meeting Townlands 22 June 2018

Attended

Little Milton fete 16 June 2018

Attended

Message in a bottle, Henley 16 June 2018

Attended

Shiplake School 15 June 2018

Visited

'Conversation in the street' Thame 15 June 2018

Conducted

'Conversation in the street' Benson 15 June 2018

Conducted

Thame Carnival 9 June 2018

Attended

Horspath hub award 9 June 2018

Attended

Blue Plaque event Benson 9 June 2018

Attended

Great Milton fete 9 June 2018

Attended

Thame Conversation in the street 9 June 2018

Conducted

Henley Bridge Rotary 8 June 2018

Spoke

Surgery Watlington 8 June 2018

HR Wallingford meeting 8 June 2018

Attended

OXPIP meeting 8 June 2018

Attended

Dinner on Legal Certainty 6 June 2018

Chaired

Whitchurch Fete 26 May 2018

Attended

Thame Comversation in the street 26 May 2018

Conducted

Henley Conversation in the street 26 May 2018

Conducted

Whirchurch Conversation in the street 26 May 2018

Conducted

Beckley Primary School 25 May 2018

Attended

Hampshire councils Neighbourhood Planning 24 May 2018

Attended

RAF Benson evening 24 May 2018

Attended

Meeting with Vertex re Cystic Fibrosis 23 May 2018

Attended

Bladder Cancer 19 May 2018

Walked

DADS attendance 19 May 2018

Attended

Cuddesdon Fete 19 May 2018

Attended

Pyrton Fete 19 May 2018

Attended

St Andrews Road Street Party Henley 19 May 2018

Attended preparations

Meeting constituent from Kirtlington 18 May 2018

Attended

Meeting constituent Weston on the Green 18 May 2018

Attended

Meeting constituent from Nettlebed 18 May 2018

Attended

Westminster Social Policy Forum 17 May 2018

Chaired

Design Skills Roundtable 16 May 2018

Chaired

Royal Garden Party Buckingham Palace 15 May 2018

Attended

MP Cricket Academy launch of ground 13 May 2018

Attended

Kingston Blount Street Fayre 12 May 2018

Attended

'Converstion in the street' in Thame 12 May 2018

Conducted

Open meeting in Sonning Common 11 May 2018

Attended

'Converstion in the street' in Henley 11 May 2018

Conducted

South Stoke May fair 7 May 2018

Attended

Henley May fair 7 May 2018

Attended

Chalgrove May fair 7 May 2018

Attended

Eye and Dunsden Village Hall 5 May 2018

Attended and unveiled statue

Chinnor Rugby Club lunch 5 May 2018

Attended

Surgery Benson 4 May 2018

Thame Fire Station 4 May 2018

Attended

Meeting MIGGS group Goring 4 May 2018

Attended

'Conversations in the street' in Thame 4 May 2018

Conducted

Meeting Oxford-MK-Cambridge Expressway with Iain Stewart MP 3 May 2018

Attended and chaired

Organised meeting between small schools in the constituency and Minister 30 April 2018

Attended

Thame Conversations in the street 28 April 2018

Conducted

Sonning Common Conversations in the street 28 April 2018

Conducted

Council of Europe 22-27 April

Attended

Keynote speech RTA Reading 19 April 2018

Attended

Marginalised Young People and Brexit 18 April 2018

Attended

Surgery Thame 13 April 2018

Visit to Labrokes re Grand National charity offering 13 April 2018

Attended

Meeting Crown Sydenham 13 April 2018

Attended

Meeting with NFU, Beltchingdon 13 April 2018

Attended

'Conversation in the street' Henley 12 April 2018

Conducted

BBC Oxford Townlands parking 12 April 2018

Conducted

'Conversation in the street' Henley 11 April 2018

Conducted

Constituent Dorchester on Thames 11 April 2018

Attended

Thame Neighbourhood Plan 11 April 2018

Attended

Coffee morning Tiddington 11 April 2018

Attended

BBC South Today 11 April 2018

Conducted

BBC Berkshire broadcast on Townlands parking 10 April 2018

Conducted

BBC Berkshire broadcast on Townlands parking 9 April 2018

Conducted

Air Ambulance visit 9 April 2018

Attended

'Conversation in the street' Henley 9 April 2018

Conducted

BBC television broadcast on crime 9 April 2018

Conducted

Sue Ryder meeting 9 April 2018

Attended

'Conversations in the street' Shipton on Cherwell, Thrupp, Kirtlington, Blethcingdon, Islip 7 April 2018

Conducted

Re-opening of Maharajah's well Stoke Row 7 April 2018

Attended

Nettlebed Parish Council exhibition 7 April 2018

Attended

'Conversation in the street' Islip 6 April 2018

Conducted

'Conversation in the street' Stanton St John 6 April 2018

Conducted

'Conversation in the street' Beckley 6 April 2018

Conducted

'Conversation in the street' Charlton on Otmoor 6 April 2018

Conducted

'Conversation in the street' Thame 6 April 2018

Conducted

'Conversation in the street' Sandford on Thame 5 April 2018

Conducted

'Conversation in the street' Clifton Hampden 5 April 2018

Conducted

'Conversation in the street' Ewelme 5 April 2018

Conducted

'Conversation in the street' Henley 4 April 2018

Conducted

'Conversation in the street' Shiplake 4 April 2018

Conducted

'Conversation in the street' Chinnor 4 April 2018

Conducted

'Conversation in the street' Henley 3 April 2018

Conducted

'Conversation in the street' Warborough 3 April 2018

Conducted

'Conversation in the street' Thame 3 April 2018

Conducted

'Conversation in the street' Horspath 3 April 2018

Conducted

'Conversation in the street' Henley 31 March 2018

Conducted

'Conversation in the street' Kidmore Emd 31 March 2018

Conducted

'Conversation in the street' Chalgrove 31 March 2018

Conducted

'Comversation in the street' Thame 31 March 2018

Conducted

'Conversation in the street' Thame 30 March 2018

Conducted

'Conversation in the street' Watlington 30 March 2018

Conducted

Pyrton Daffodil tea 25 March 2018

Attended

'Conversation in the street' Woodcote 24 March 2018

Conducted

Surgery Woodcote 24 March 2018

GWR Public Meeting Henley 23 March 2018

Attended and chaired

Stonor Park Tourism Week 23 March 2018

Attended

River & Rowing Museum Toursim Week 23 March 2018

Attended

Steve McManus Townlands Hospital 23 March 2018

Attended

'Conversation in the street' Tetsworth 17 March 2018

Conducted

'Conversation in the street' Thame 17 March 2018

Conducted

'Conversation in the street' Dorchester 17 March 2018

Conducted

'Conversation in the street' Whitchurch 17 March 2018

Conducted

Trinity School Henley 16 March 2018

Attended

Cystic Fibrosis sufferer meeting 16 March 2018

Attended

'Conversation in the street' Thame 15 March 2018

Conducted

'Conversation in the street' Little Milton 15 March 2018

Conducted

'Conversation in the street' Sonning Common 15 March 2018

Conducted

'Conversation in the street' Stoke Row 15 March 2018

Conducted

'Conversation in the street' Benson 15 March 2018

Conducted

Countryfile broadcast 10 March 2018

Broadcast

Convesration in the street Kirtlington 10 March 2018

Condcuted

Conversation in the street Weston on the Green 10 March 2018

Conducted

Fire Station Goring 10 March 2018

Attended

Conversation in the street Goring 10 March 2018

Conducted

Conversation in the street Henley 10 March 2018

Conducted

Reaction Engines Culham 9 March 2018

Attended

Henley College meeting 9 March 2018

Attended

Surgery Highmoor 9 March 2018

Meeting with Matt Hancock 7 March 2018

Attended

Chaired APPG for Fusion 6 March 2018

Attended and chaired

Ban the Shock Collar event 6 March 2018

Attended

Hosted delegation of Canadian MPs 5 March 2018

Hosted

Conversation in the street Henley 3 March 2018

Conducted

Conversation in the street Thame 3 March 2018

Conducted

Conversation in the street Benson 2 March 2018

Conducted

Benefit to Society 28 February 2018

Attended

Cystic Fibrosis roundtable 28 February 2018

Attended

Homes England meeting 27 February 2018

Attended

Woodstock Neighbourhood Plan 2 exibition 24 February 2018

Attended

Woodstock Convesration in the street 24 February 2018

Conducted

Thame Conversation in the street 24 February 2018

Conducted

Henley Conversation in the street 24 February 2018

Conducted

Tadcaster visit re Neighbourhood Planning 23 February 2018

Attended and spoke

BBC Radio Oxford 19 February 2018

Broadcast on buses

Conversation in the street Henley 17 February 2018

Conducted

Conversation in the street Thame 17 February 2018

Conducted

Surgery Chinnor 16 February 2018

Oxfordshire Better Broadband meeting 16 February 2018

Attended

Conversation in the street Henley 16 February 2018

Conducted

Meeting constituent Preston Crowmarsh 16 February 2018

Attended

Nettlebed Post Office Meeting 15 February 2018

Attended

Conversation in the street Henley 15 February 2018

Conducted

Meeting OMEGA 15 February 2018

Attended

Conversations in the street Henley 14 February 2018

Condcuted

Christmas Common roads meeting 14 February 2018

Attended

Conversations in the street Wheatley 13 February 2018

Conducted

Wheatley Village Archive 13 February 2018

Attended

'Conversations in the street Watlington' 13  February 2018

Conducted

'Conversations in the street Henley' 13 February 2018

Conducted

'Conversations in the street Henley 12 February 2018

Conducted

'Conversations in the street Thame' 11 February 2018

Conducted

'Conversations in the street Chinnor' 11 February 2018

Conducted

'Conversations in the street Henley' 11 February 2018

Conducted

Swyncombe Snowdrops 10 February 2018

Attended

Thame 9 February 2018

Meeting with constituent

Dorchester on Thames 9 February 2018

Meeting with constituent

Bletchingdon 9 Februarey 2018

Meeting with constituent

Weston on the Green 9 February 2018

Meeting with constituent

BBC Berkshire 9 February 2018

Broadcast on parking

BBC South Today 7 February 2018

Broadcast

Tokamak Energy Ltd 2 February 2018

Visited

Earth Trust 2 February 2018

Attended

Wheatley CofE Primary School 2 February 2018

Attended

ITV Meridian 1 February 2018

The Last Word

Business Meeting Henley 1 February 2018

Attended

Battersea Cats and Dogs Home 31 January 2018

Met

Council of Europe 21-26 January 2018

Attended

Surgery Henley 20 January 2018

Little Milton Neighbourhood Plan 19 January 2018

Attended

Kenton theatre visit 19 January 2018

Visited

Meeting on the 3rd Bridge, Highmoor 18 January 2018

Attended and spoke

Signed Holocaust Remembrance book 16 January 2018

Signed

Meeting Benson Neighbourhood Plan 13 January 2018

Attended

Meeting Cllr Batholomew 13 January 2018

Attended

Meeting Berrick Salome Parish Council 12 January 2018

Attended

Meeting with the Post Office 12 January 2018

Attended

Stoke Row school 12 January 2018

Attended

Meeting with Ukrainian MP 11 January 2018

Attended

Meeting constituent Stanton St John 5 January 2018

Attended

Watlington Neighbourhood Plan meeting 5 January 2018

Attended

Cistic Fibrosis meeting Goring 5 January 2018

Attended

BBC Berkshire 4 January 2018

Broadcast

Visit to Henley Fire Station 3 January 2018

Attended

With Santa in Thame 16 December 2017

Attended

Constituent meeting Merton 15 December 2017

Attended

Jack and the Beanstalk Oxford 14 December 2017

Attended charity performance

Dying to Work 12 December 2017

Attended

Learning how to spin wool Henley 9 December 2017

Attended

Watlington Christmas Tree Festival 9 December 2017

Attended

With the Chinnor Silver Band Thame 9 December 2017

Attended

Muscular Dystrophy concert Henley 7 December 2017

Gave prizes

BBC Berkshire 4 December 2017

Broadcast

BBC South Today 4 December 2017

Filmed

Leukaemia CARE Henley 2 December 2017

Attended

Benson Village Christmas Fayre 2 December 2017

Attended

Watlignton Christmas Street Fair 2 December 2017

Attended

Councillor surgery Thame 2 December 2017

Visited

Wheatley Post Office 1 December 2017

Attended

Wheatley Fire Station 1 December 2017

Attended

Wheatley Merry Bells surgery 1 December 2017

Attended

Cystic Fibrosis Event 29 November 2017

Attended

Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust 29 Noveber 2017

Attended

Leonard Cheshire Disability event 29 November 2017

Attended

Henley Music School Competition Shiplake 26 November 2017

Attended and spoke

Bix Art and Craft Show 25 November 2017

Attended

Something Wicked, Henley 24 November 2017

Attended

Henley Business School 24 November 2017

Attended

RT Television 22 November 2017

Broadcast

ITV Meridien 22 November 2017

Broadcast

Watlington Primary School discussion with students 20 November 2017

Attended

Watlington Primary School Road Safety 20 November 2017

Attended

Thame Artists and Makers Fair 18 November 2017

Attended

Henley Market Place Fair 18 November 2017

Attended

Scamps, Benson 17 November 2017

Attended

Wheatley Park School 17 November 2017

Attended

Bletchingdon School 17 November 2017

Attended

Thame Remembrance 12 November 2017

Attended

Visit to Thame Charities Fair 4 November 2017

Visited

Visit to Neighbourhood Plan Exhibition Shiplake 4 November 2017

Visited

Discussion with constituents Henley 4 November 2017

Held

Visit to Ewelme School 3 November 2017

Visited

Visit to Horspath School 3 November 2017

Visited

Visit to Abbeywood School Berinsfield 3 November 2017

Visited

Meeting Thames Valley Air Ambulance 31 October 2017

Held

Surgery Thame 27 October 2017

Meeting with Culham group 27 October 2017

Attended

Meeting with CCG 27 October 2017

Attended and chaired

Bread and Roses Refugees Event 21 October 2017

Attended and spoke

Meeting re seat belts, Kirtlington 20 October 2017

Attended

Dr South's School Islip 20 October 2017

Attended

Langtree School Woodcote 20 October 2017

Attended

Rail Action Group Goring 19 October 2017

Attended

Chinese Delegation re ADR 19 October 2017

Attended and spoke

Childrens Heart Foundation 18 October 2017

Attended

Council of Europe 8- 13 October 2017

Attended

Councillor surgery 7 October 2017

Attended

Friends of the Earth Fayre Thame 7 October 2017

Attended

Thame St Mary's Fayre 7 Ocober 2017

Attended

Henley Literary Festival In conversation with Philippe Sands 6 October 2017

Attended

Chinnor RFC lunch 6 October 2017

Attended

Radio Oxford 6 October 2017

Broadcast

U3A Goring 5 October 2017

Attended

ITV News broadcast 2 October 2017

Undertaken

BBC News broadcast 2 October 2017

Undertaken

Hidden Henley Exhibition 29 September 2017

Attended

Cuxham Parish Council 29 September 2017

Attended

Chiltern Edge School 29 September 2017

Attended

Bishopswood School 29 September 2017

Attended

Benson Parish Council 28 September 2017

Attended

McDonalds 28 September 2017

Attended

Mediation symposium 27 September 2017

Attended

Cuddesdon Parish Council 26 September 2017

Attended

Oxfordshire Mind 26 September 2017

Attended

Airbus Helicopters 25 September 2017

Attended

Dorchester Parish Council 25 September 2017

Attended

Watlington Hoard Event 23 September 2017

Attended

Crowmarsh Neighbourhood Plan Exhibition 23 September 2017

Attended

Surgery Woodcote 23 September 2017

Constituent Chalgrove 22 September 2017

Met

Charlton on Otmoor School 22 September 2017

Attended

Enviornment Agency 20 September 2017

Met

South Stoke School 20 September 2017

Attended

Thame Business Forum 19 September 2017

Attended

Thame Cricket Club 19 September 2017

Attended

Woodcote Parish Council 19 September 2017

Attended

3rd bridge meeting 18 September 2017