month, residents and businesses have endured some of the worst flooding
for a generation. I have been visiting the affected areas, and liaising
with Elmbridge borough council and the Environment Agency on behalf of
many stoic constituents.
Up in Parliament, I have been quizzing Ministers on schools policy and
value for money from South West Trains, and reflecting on a fascinating
visit by German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.
MP for Esher and Walton
Dom backs Cobham Foodbank
It's been a busy month locally. Homes and businesses have been affected
by the recent flooding in Walton, Sunbury, Thames Ditton, Molesey and
Cobham. I have been taking up requests for help from constituents,
visiting the afflicted areas, and liaising with the relevant local
agencies - as blogged here.
I also visited Elmbridge borough council's operation centre to see the
job they are doing first-hand, and was impressed with their
professionalism and dedication.
On the health front, I visited the inspirational Children's Trust in
Tadworth which rehabilitates children with brain injuries, and met up
with Jonathan Quy who is one of the Elmbridge representatives on the
council of governors at Kingston hospital - as blogged here.
I participated in the Andrew Reed debate marking the 200th anniversary
of Reed's school, up at the Guildhall. I felt honoured to join a
terrific panel debating the 'purpose of education' with David Davies
(former FA chief), Camilla Batmangelhidj (from Kids Company),
Steve Chalke (founder of Oasis) and BBC sports commentator John
Inverdale - as reported here.
I also visited the Oasis family centre in Cobham, met up with our new
Elmbridge neighbourhood Inspector, Sarah Milligan, and discussed local
schools planning with Education Cabinet Member Linda Kemeny and
officials from Surrey County Council. Finally, we had one of our
regular get togethers with local Conservative councillors, to make sure
we are properly linked up with each other, and I addressed four of my
local Conservative branches at their annual AGMs.
In the House of Commons, it has been an equally varied - but
interesting - month. Sitting on the Education Select Committee, I had
the opportunity to question officials about the plans for a Cobham free
school. You can read the exchange here
(from question 167), or see the local reporting here.
I support the proposal for a Cobham secondary free school, but I cannot
support building 500 new homes on greenbelt as the 'local price' to
also spoke in favour of Michael Gove's plan to extend the school day, here,
and reflected local dissatisfaction with the value for money we get on
South West Trains here.
Meanwhile, my private Bill to revive Young Apprenticeships for 14 to 16
year olds chunters through the Parliamentary sausage machine, as
We enjoyed a rare outbreak of common sense, when the Court of Appeal
rejected the human rights challenge to 'whole life' prison sentences -
despite the ruling against them from the European Court of Human
Rights. I made the case for their retention for the most dangerous
criminals, as reported here.
The 2014 budget
approaches rapidly. It will be important to get it right, as it will be
the last budget to hit people's pockets before the next general
election. I defended the Chancellor's efforts to cut the deficit to
date in City AMhere.
opened the Cobham food-bank before Christmas (as pictured above), I
responded in a column for the Sunday
Telegraph to the pretty skewed attack from Anglican bishops on
the government's welfare reform agenda, which they set out in a letter
to the Daily Mirror. You can
read my response here.
However, the undeniable highlight of the month was German Chancellor,
Angela Merkel's, impressive speech to Parliament, the first by a German
leader for 28 years. She is a real statesman. I reflected on her
ambitions for Germany and the EU in a brief column for The Timeshere.
And, finally ... The Sunday Times
profiled me earlier this month here.
a full list of media comments, click here. For blog posts on
local issues and national debates, click here.