Author Archives: John

From your local MP – David Johnston

Along with the other Conservative MPs in Oxfordshire, I wrote to the CEO of Thames Water to demand that more action is taken to tackle sewage pollution in our waters, and have secured a meeting with him.

The Government has taken decisive action to address the sewage issue, including putting in place the strictest ever legally binding targets, which I was proud to vote for; increasing the monitoring of sewage discharges in England to 100% (up from 7% in 2010 under Labour); ensuring fines against water companies are unlimited; and requiring Thames Water and other water companies to deliver the largest ever infrastructure investment of £56 billion to fix this problem.

However, people are rightly very angry about this issue, as am I, and I expect Thames Water to act with far greater urgency – which I will make clear during my meeting with the CEO.

I met with the new Chief Superintendent of Thames Valley Police for Oxfordshire and discussed local policing and my campaign to tackle anti-social behaviour, which I know is a huge concern for local people. Thames Valley Police has now recruited 784 more police officers since 2019 (which has meant more officers overall than ever before) thanks to extra Government funding and tackling this should be a priority for them.

I met with the Roads Minister to discuss my campaign to improve our roads and the results of my Local Roads Survey. The Government has given Oxfordshire County Council millions of extra pounds (a 30% funding increase this year) to improve our roads and fix our potholes. We discussed how they should use this money effectively, including filling potholes correctly and not in a way that means they reappear within weeks, as we all know often happens on our local roads.

Autism Family Support Oxfordshire provides vital support to parents across my constituency. Local families wrote to me after Oxfordshire County Council announced they were going to cut their funding which would have had a huge impact. I wrote to them on behalf of all my constituents who rely on this vital service and was glad to hear that the Council have (finally) listened and reversed their funding cut which will be a relief to many families.

I am hosting a fair for families of children and young people with special educational needs. It will take place on Tuesday 28 May at Didcot Civic Hall from 12:30pm to 4:30pm and will be attended by various local and national organisations who help SEND families. Please register on my website at if you plan to attend. I look forward to seeing you there!

Visits this past month included to Drayton Community Primary School to present Local Hero Awards to four pupils who secured help for an unconscious woman and meeting Kathleen Law in Wantage, at the invitation of her son David, to wish her a happy 100th birthday.

As ever if I can help with anything please contact me at

From your local MP – David Johnston

Being an MP involves a lot of travel across the length and breadth of my constituency from my home in Didcot and this means I know first-hand that the state of the roads across our area is not good enough.

I launched my Roads Survey last year and I’m grateful to the almost 900 people who have filled it in. More than 80% of residents agreed that our roads are poor quality. Flooding on the A417 and safety issues on the A420 and A34 were frequently mentioned, and many people spoke about issues with congestion. I am meeting with the Roads Minister to share the findings with him.

From potholes to congestion to flooding and safety issues, it is clear that we need improvements. We do not need blanket 20mph zones across our area – and the Government is rightly making clear that these should be decided on a hyper-local basis with local consent. No-one objects to strict limits in areas near schools or other sensitive areas but are they required across an entire town? Constituents regularly say no and 71% of residents who filled in my Roads Survey agreed with the Government’s policies here.

I have been taking action since I was elected and have raised every issue that has been reported to me with the County Council and the Highways Authorities, who are responsible for our roads. This has resulted in some issues being fixed but I think everyone can agree that it should not take an MP writing a letter for this to happen.

I have spoken about the need to improve our local roads in 13 separate debates, met with the Roads Minister about it, and led a debate in Parliament on safety issues on the A34 and A420.

It’s not all about money, but the Government has also rightly given the County Council millions in funding to help improve our roads and fix our potholes – including a substantial increase of 30% for 2023/24. We need to see this used effectively.

I will keep campaigning on this, but please fill in my Roads Survey at

In other news, Didcot Powerhouse Fund celebrated their two-year anniversary, and I was pleased to attend the launch of their new Impact Report and meet some of the local people who have received funding from them – including great organisations like the Cornermen in South Moreton.

I also took senior managers from the Environment Agency to Steventon to talk about our flood defences and what more can be done to prevent the flooding we have seen. Many constituents shared their thoughts with me ahead of this and I raised various issues on their behalf, including concerns about the proposed reservoir. I will remain in close contact with the Environment Agency and the Council.

Other highlights in recent weeks have included visiting Willowcroft School in Didcot, Williams Racing in Grove, the Happiness Horse Box in Uffington, and Quantum Detectors in Harwell as well as holding a Pop-Up Surgery at Tesco in Didcot.

Upcoming Parish Council Meeting, Wednesday 13th March 2024

There will be a meeting of the Parish Council in the Village Hall starting at 7:30 pm.

Meeting Agenda and other relevant documents can be read here.

Villagers are cordially invited to attend.

Wantage Newbury/Church Street Practice Patient Participation Group Newsletter

Here is the latest Wantage Newbury/Church Street Practice Patient Participation Group Newsletter

From your local MP – David Johnston

One of the most common questions I’m asked is what is life like as an MP.
In general my week is split Monday-Thursday in Parliament and Friday-Sunday back home in Didcot.
At the time of writing this, the last week kicked off with a team meeting at the Department for Education, followed by my weekly meeting with the team delivering our huge expansion of childcare, with the first 15 hours of free childcare becoming available for working parents from April. Alongside various other meetings, Chilton County Primary School came for a visit to Westminster, and it was great to meet them and take their questions.
Tuesday included meeting with GARD to discuss the next steps following me echoing their call for a public inquiry of the reservoir proposal in December; attending a networking event of charities and businesses involved in our Disability Action Plan; and responding for the Government in a debate about nursery provision in the South West.
Just as MPs like myself have regular surgeries with constituents, so Ministers have regular surgeries with MPs to discuss problems they’re having locally in areas the Minister covers and Wednesday kicked off with one of these. After attending PMQs, I presented to Parliament my petition to reopen Grove Station, which I’m grateful to the 2127 of you for signing. I met my Parliamentary team before taking another debate – this time on special educational needs – and several other meetings.
Last week was National Apprenticeship Week and on Thursday I visited childcare apprentices and then another nursery. To and from the visits I had calls with 10 local authorities and did some paperwork.
Then on Friday I began with a Q&A at Didcot Sixth Form then met with Liane and Mark from Active Future South Oxfordshire and visited apprentices at Williams Racing in Grove. I had several surgery appointments, including meeting a local subpostmaster who contacted me after seeing the ITV drama about the Horizon scandal having recognised that what happened had also happened to her. I am pleased this Government is taking such decisive action to right this wrong.
I met with Niamh Dernie from Wantage to talk about the next steps in her campaign against sexual harassment and then had the pleasure of presenting Mikayla Beames from Team Mikayla, which I am a proud patron of, with her Points of Light award from the PM. Then I rounded off the day with my weekly visit to Merv, as part of my volunteering with the Didcot Good Neighbours Scheme.
Weekends are always a combination of door knocking, emails and paperwork for both MP and Minister roles and – when I can manage it – Liverpool games!
I love the ability to make a difference in the job and the variety – as I always say to people, it’s better to be very busy than bored.
As ever, if I can help with anything then do, please get in touch via

From your local MP – David Johnston

I know it has been a difficult start to the year for some local residents with the flooding that we have seen across the constituency. I have been in contact with the Environment Agency throughout and will be meeting with them to discuss the recent flooding and our flood defences, as well as with the Council about the measures they can take to prevent flooding. Please email me if you have anything that you would like me to raise with them.

I know that of particular concern has been the flooding on the A417. I have written to the Council about this many times and have pushed them again to do the work that they had planned to do on this and other roads. I also visited local businesses like Mellor’s Garage and Vale Hydrotherapy in East Challow to talk about their experiences in the recent floods, how I can help and what more needs to be done. Mellor’s in particular have been losing a lot of business while the road remains flooded so do support them and others affected if you can.

If you or someone you know has had their home or business affected by flooding, which I hope you did not, there is Government support available to help people recover. This support will be provided through local councils who will announce further details on eligibility and how to apply.

Please do complete my Local Roads Survey to share your experiences and thoughts with me about the issues on our roads, currently on my website at The more responses we receive, the better data we have to push for change.

From now until 31 March, working parents can get an HMRC code that will entitle them from this April to the first 15 free hours of childcare for their 2-year-olds. Visit for more information. I am very proud to be overseeing this rollout, which is the biggest ever investment in childcare, as the Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing.

Men’s Sheds are community workshops which are doing great work across the country to tackle loneliness amongst men. I visited one of our very own Men’s Sheds in Sutton Courtenay to meet with founder Jon and talk to its users – who all said how much it is has helped them. They are based in the grounds of the Abbey at Sutton Courtenay, and you can contact them at if you would like to get involved.

Speaking of the Abbey, they have recently recruited a very experienced French chef who is producing delicious food for visitors, which I was pleased to try on my visit there. Find out more at

As ever, if I can help with anything then do please get in touch via

From your local MP – David Johnston

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I particularly enjoyed attending the Wantage Dickensian Evening to kickstart the festive season. It was minus 2 degrees, but the atmosphere was very warm and everyone from the Wantage Silver Band to Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary to Team Mikayla was there to celebrate.

Looking back on the last year, I am pleased with the progress made on a number of my campaigns. We took another step forward on health services with my Health Services Survey, which thousands of you responded to and which was followed with me holding a debate in Parliament on health services in Wantage and Didcot.

My petition to re-open Grove Station was signed by 2,127 of you and I will be meeting the Rail Minister in the near future to discuss this again with him. Thank you to Andy Holding of the Wantage and Grove Station Supporters Group for providing the final signature. I will keep going until we are successful.

My campaigning for more renewable energy run by the local community, through my sponsorship of the Local Electricity Bill, led to the creation of the new £10 million Government Community Energy Fund which will hopefully benefit groups across Oxfordshire.

And my campaign for justice for our local AEAT pensioners resulted in me securing the first ever independent investigation into their case, as well as a Parliamentary inquiry.

I was also pleased to welcome so many constituents to Parliament this past year from schools to charities to members of the armed forces. I also hosted a local young person for work experience almost every month – thank you to all of them. If you are planning a visit to Parliament or would like me to arrange a free tour for you then do get in touch.

In 2024 I will be continuing campaigns on infrastructure issues like GP surgeries and Grove Station, as well as my other priorities like protecting our environment, tackling anti-social behaviour, and improving opportunities for children and young people.

Right now, as part of my campaign to improve our roads, I have my Local Roads Survey running so that you can tell me exactly where you are seeing issues on our roads that need to be resolved – including potholes, congestion, speeding and other safety concerns. Since being elected I have spoken in 13 separate debates about the need to improve our local roads, met with the Roads Minister to raise it with them, led a debate in Parliament on safety issues on the A34 and A420 and welcomed the £3 million for this year from Government to help fix Oxfordshire’s potholes.

However, there is more to do and I want to hear from as many people as possible so that we have the best data to make the case for improvements, so please do take part on my website at

As ever, if I can help with anything then do, please get in touch via


Upcoming Parish Council Meeting, Wednesday 10th January 2024

There will be a meeting of the Parish Council in the Village Hall starting at 7:30 pm.

Meeting Agenda and other relevant documents can be read here.

Villagers are cordially invited to attend.

From your local MP – David Johnston

Thank you very much to the 2,127 people who signed my petition to re-open Grove Station. It shows again the huge strength of feeling on this locally, and I will now be presenting it to the House of Commons and to the Department for Transport to make the case to them. Thanks too to Andy Holding of the Wantage and Grove Rail Supporters Group for his support. I will keep pushing for this station, which makes economic, social, and environmental sense.

We are the proud home of the 11 EOD and Search Regiment at Vauxhall Barracks in Didcot, and it was a pleasure to visit again and meet Lt Col Rob Swan and the team. Just this year they have so far responded to more than 1,800 requests in the UK to deal with explosive devices and I planted a remembrance stake in Parliament’s Garden of Remembrance in their honour. I also, as ever, took part in poignant remembrance services and parades – this year in Wantage and Didcot. Thank you to everyone who made them happen.

UK Parliament Week takes place every November, and I was pleased to visit local schools and talk to different youth organisations about my role as an MP and how they can get involved in politics, including: Wallingford School, St Michael’s CofE Primary School in Steventon, Brightwell Primary School, St Blaise Primary School, the 7th Abingdon Beavers, Chilton Explorer Scout Unit and Brightwell cum Sotwell Scouts.

I have been campaigning to improve our roads since I was elected and I have now launched my Local Roads Survey to give you the opportunity to tell me exactly where you are seeing issues on our roads that need to be resolved – including potholes, congestion, speeding and other safety concerns. I want to pull together a complete map of all the issues we are facing, and where, so that I can raise these with the road authorities. Fill it out at

Now that I am the Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing, one of the things I have responsibility for is overseeing the Government’s big new expansion in childcare for parents. Once it is completed in Autumn 2025, it will give working parents 30 hours of free childcare every week from when their child is 9 months old until they start school. It is great be involved in delivering this exciting new policy and you can see exactly what you’re eligible for at

It is also great that the Prime Minister has successfully delivered on his promise to halve inflation by the end of the year. It involved hard decisions and discipline, but it is right that we focused on this as inflation eats away at the pound in your pocket and has had negative effects on both prices and interest rates.

I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
As ever, if I can help with anything then do, please get in touch via

From your local MP – David Johnston

I was really pleased with how my Pensioners’ Fair in Wantage went. Lots of pensioners came and were able to get information and advice from a wide range of organisations that took stalls, including Vale Community Impact, Carers Oxfordshire, Thames Valley Police and Grove Day Centre. My thanks again to Driving Miss Daisy in Didcot for sponsoring it.
Last month, I officially opened Soha Housing’s new building in Wallingford, Frances Curtis Court. It provides retirement living options and I was very impressed that they had managed to build it on time and on budget despite the pandemic. It was particularly nice that Frances Curtis’s Grandson was able to be there for the event, too.
Andy Baker is a local hero in Didcot and I am proud to be a patron of his charity, Play2Give. It was great to be able to be at his 2023 Gatsby Ball last month, a really great event with 140 people in attendance. It celebrated his organisation having now raised more than £100,000 for Oxford Children’s Hospital. Well done, Andy!
Two things for you and your families to participate in before next month. I have just launched my annual Christmas Card Competition for primary school children. It’s open till the 13th November and entries need to be on an A4 page – the winning design will go on the front of my card!
I’ve also opened a survey asking what you think about the PM’s proposal to increase the age you can buy cigarettes by a year every year so that a 14-year-old today is never able to buy one. Find details about both on And do please sign my Grove Station Petition while you’re there if you haven’t!
It’s been a very busy first few weeks as Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing. I’ve met with lots of individuals and charities that support work in the areas I’m now responsible for; helped to launch a new £70 million programme to improve the support children with special educational needs get; responded on behalf of the Government in a debate about the role of kinship carers (family members who take children in who can’t live with their parents); hosted visits by Ministers from Sweden and the Netherlands to share ideas; and launched more of the Government’s work to reform children’s social care.
There’ve been plenty of visits, too – including to nurseries, a family hub, a children’s home and the Seashell Trust, a charity that supports children with learning disabilities and autism. There’s lots to do – the Special Educational Needs, Alternative Provision and Children’s Social Care System are all being significantly reformed simultaneously and, at the same time, the Government is making the single largest investment in childcare ever to dramatically increase the free hours of childcare parents can claim. This constituency will always be my primary focus but I’m very much enjoying my additional responsibilities so far.
As ever, if I can help with anything then do please get in touch via