Bulletin - August 2014
This month, I have given blood and sweat, but mercifully no tears. I gave blood to support the Charlotte's Helix campaign to combat anorexia, and was given a good run around learning a new sport, 'TouchTennis'.

At Westminster, Parliament grappled with emergency surveillance legislation, and debated the spiraling crisis in Ukraine. I'm away for a fortnight in August, so my next e-bulletin will be at the end of September. Enjoy the sunshine while it lasts!

Best wishes,


MP for Esher and Walton

Learning from coding experts at Milbourne Lodge
Dom learns from coding experts
at Milbourne Lodge school


I recently met a local mum whose daughter suffered from anorexia. She encouraged me to support the Charlotte's Helix campaign, which aims to promote research into possible DNA links that would help doctors treat the condition. You can read about the campaign here. I was happy to give blood as a control sample to help with their research, and I blogged about it here. From giving blood to sweat, this time it was a local Dad, Rashid Ahmad, who roped me into playing TouchTennis, a fun and informal new sport he invented and is promoting to get more people - of all ages - into sport. I blogged about it here, and the visit was reported here.

July is always full of local summer shows and festivals. It was a privilege to join the wonderful Claygate Flower Show (to hand out prizes for the fancy dress competition) and later the same day attend The Foley Boxing Club's annual party and awards, as blogged here. I also ducked by Hersham Scouts as they were preparing for their festival to raise money for their local group, as blogged here. And, as ever, it was a pleasure to speak at the Walton Business Group's summer lunch, and hear their feedback on the state of the economic recovery, as blogged here.

Finally, the girls from Milbourne Lodge School gave me a master-class display of IT proficiency, up in Parliament, at the excellent 'Get Girls Coding' event, which I blogged on here. Sticking with local schools, I was delighted my campaigning efforts have helped deliver an additional injection of funding from the government for local schools, worth over £200 per pupil in Elmbridge, as reported here


Westminster Watch


Another long-standing campaign of mine is to introduce a safeguard 'voting threshold' for strike action. That way militant union bosses can't inflict disruption on the hard-working majority, when a majority of their own members don't even back them. I raised this issue again at Prime Minister's Questions, and was delighted to hear that my proposal will be in the next Conservative manifesto. You can watch the exchange here

I also took the opportunity to raise the issue of value for money and overcrowding on South West Trains with Ministers here, and the shortage of affordable homes here. Separately, there is a lot of heady talk about promoting democracy abroad. I am sceptical about the realism of wholesale nation-building in countries with no  experience or culture of democracy. On the other hand, there are places like Hong Kong, where we have longstanding ties and which has a democratic tradition, where I think the UK should be more assertive diplomatically. I raised the issue with FCO Ministers here. I also spoke in the latest debate about whether or not the UK should opt back into the 130 odd EU measures on crime and policing.  You can read my speech here.

Perhaps the biggest controversy of the month came despite the tripartite consensus amongst the political parties that saw emergency surveillance legislation rushed through the House of Commons in a single day. I spoke in the debate here, declined to support the Bill, and voted for a cross-party amendment that would  still have passed the legislation, but required us to come up with a better version (after proper scrutiny) by Christmas.

 


Parliament has been considering the UK and international reaction to the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 by separatist rebels in Ukraine (with Russian support).  I wrote a column for The Independent, arguing that we can learn some lessons from Putin's peasant cunning, while retaining the moral high ground. You can read the piece here.

I recently sat on the Conservative task force looking at reform of UK human rights laws. It draws on many of the issues I have written about and campaigned on since 2009, including ensuring Parliament has the last word about where to set the human rights bar. Downing Street has started briefing out the new plans, as reported here, and it is a good illustration of the influence it is possible to exert as a backbench MP.

Finally, I wrote a column for Conservative Home looking at aspects of the 2010 Equality Act. I make the case for a more meritocratic, and less box-tick, approach to equality. You can read the column 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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