Bulletin - October 2014
The last two months have flown by, with glorious sunshine giving way to a distinctly autumnal feel. Well, we are only three months from Christmas! Locally, schools continue to dominate my time, along with the horrendous noise pollution residents in Molesey and Walton are getting from the new 'trial' flight paths from Heathrow.

After all the nail-biting, the Scots voted to stay British. Now, I hope we can extend this debate to the whole of the United Kingdom - proceeding on the basic principles of democratic equality and financial fairness. 

Best wishes,


MP for Esher and Walton

Dom Opens Revamped Oxshott Post Office
Dom Opens Revamped
Oxshott Post Office

While Cobham Free School gained government approval to open its secondary department, as reported here, the hunt for a viable long-term local site goes on. Current negotiations are focusing on the Anvil Lane site, with the school working up plans to take to a public consultation in due course. Plans for the re-development of Rydens Enterprise School (RES) were also the subject of a local public meeting in Walton. The planning considerations for both schools will be decided by the local councils, independently, but they are a major part of a wider strategy to ensure enough school places for youngsters in the borough. I also joined  teachers, governors, parents and pupils for RES's prize-giving celebration on 18th September, a great opportunity to pay tribute to the remarkable progress the school is making.

Residents in Molesey and Walton have been blighted by disproportionate noise resulting from new flight path trials at Heathrow. I have written to the Transport Minister, Civil Aviation Authority and will be meeting the relevant Director at Heathrow in the next few weeks. The issue was raised at my local Molesey public meeting, as blogged here, a good example of the value in holding regular open meetings across the constituency. The final meeting of this round is in Long Ditton on Monday (click here for details). I have also used the Parliamentary recess to buzz around the borough - talking to Walton stroke group (as blogged here), Paragon housing association (as blogged here), Esher Probus group, and opening the revamped Oxshott Post Office (as pictured above, and blogged here).

Finally, there are some taxes that hit us particularly hard in Elmbridge - and stamp duty is one of Labour's most vindictive stealth taxes. So, I co-sponsored a debate in Parliament looking at the local and national impact of stamp duty,  particularly for low and middle income home-buyers, and calling for radical reform. You can read my speech in Parliament here, or my column  for The Daily Telegraph here.


Westminster Watch


Up at Westminster, Scotland has dominated political debate (on which, see below). But, the House of Commons has also been looking at a range of other matters. The Education Committee (which I sit on) has been examining the so-called 'Trojan Horse' attempt to impose a hard-line Islamist agenda on certain schools in Birmingham, as reported here.  

I am no expert on commercial puppy farming, but - judging from my mail bag - the issue has aroused a lot of local and national interest. So, I joined the debate in Parliament, as reported here. I made the point that the key to avoiding cruel practices was more rigorous inspections, not yet more legislation.

Likewise, in the ongoing debate on what to do about British jihadis returning from foreign conflicts, I made the argument for a more robust approach to prosecution, rather than bringing back control orders. I debated the issue on Radio 4's World at One here.

 


I continue to press my national campaigns on familiar themes. I have been highlighting further absurd cases of foreign criminals avoiding deportation - as reported here.

Similarly, I engaged Liberty's Director, Shami Chakrabati in a 'duel' for Prospect magazine on the issue of prisoner voting. You can read the lively debate here.

Finally, the big issue of the year has been the referendum on Scottish independence. I am pleased Scots voted to stay British. However, now the debate must be opened up to the English, Welsh and Northern Irish too. I joined the Prime Minister's summit at Chequers to discuss the issue, as reported here, set out my views in The Sunday Telegraph (here), and discussed what should happen next on The Sunday Politics show here.



For a full list of media comments, click here.
For blog posts on local issues and national debates, click here.



 

 

 

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