has been a varied month, full of high points, including
celebrating the re-opening of Esher Green Baptist Church,
reveling in the Queen's visit to Reed's School in Cobham and appearing
on BBC's Question Time.
Politically, the month has been dominated by the Chancellor's
budget, and the ongoing crisis in Ukraine - with extended Parliamentary
debates on both issues.
MP for Esher and Walton
Supporting our local
Conservative Women's Organisation
continue to beetle around our local schools, talking to pupils at Rowan
Prep School in Claygate and Hinchley Wood Secondary. As well as
liaising with Surrey County Council about local school places, I am
campaigning up in Westminster for fairer funding for Elmbridge schools.
On top of the recent increase in capital funding for
Surrey, the new 'per pupil' funding formula will deliver £24.8
million extra investment for our constituency - the equivalent of
£185 per pupil. The good news was reported locally here.
Nevertheless, the highlight of the month was the visit by the Queen and
Prince Philip to Reeds School in Cobham, to celebrate its bicentenary,
as reported here.
Congratulations to all the team at Reed's for hosting a fantastic visit.
addition to my regular hight street visits, I spoke to the Esher
Business Guild and at a seminar organised by Wellden Turnbull (at the
Cobham Hilton) on the local and national impact of the Chancellor's
March budget. These events always deliver thought-provoking feedback
from the local business community.
Last but certainly not least, I was delighted to join Pastor Lee
Johnson - and a lively congregation - to re-open Esher Green Baptist
Church after a wonderful renovation on their new site. Looking forward,
I continue to host my regular series of local meetings next month, open
to all. The meetings are an opportunity to explain what I am doing as
your local MP - and hear from as wide a range of constituents as
possible. I have hosted over 30 since May 2010. You can
find details of the next four meetings in April here.
The focal point of the month up in Parliament has been the Chancellor's
2014 budget - the last one to hit people's pockets before the 2015
general election. I wrote a column for City AM before the budget, here,
making the case for affordable tax cuts. When it arrived, the budget
contained various measures to support businesses (with investment
allowances and support for exports), and a series of new policies to
promote saving and give pensioners more flexible access to their
pension pots. You can read the BBC summary of the Budget here. I
spoke in the House of Commons' Budget debate, here
(scroll down to 5.03pm), welcoming the measures and contrasting the
government's record with that of Labour. I
also took the opportunity this month to ask the Defence Minister about
measures to prevent UK armed forces being abused when back home in the
and pressed Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude about increasing the
scrutiny of senior quango appointments here.
The major foreign
policy preoccupation this month has been the ongoing crisis in the
Ukraine, following Russia's annexation of Crimea. I questioned the
Foreign Secretary about the UK approach here,
and made the case for targeted sanctions here.
I trekked up to Warrington for BBC's post-budget Question Time on 20 March. We had
some lively questions on the budget, Ukraine, teaching and the BBC
licence fee. You can watch the episode here.
a full list of media comments, click here. For blog posts on
local issues and national debates, click here.