“After over 80 hours of debate and over 500 amendments and new clauses, the European Union Withdrawal Bill is now through the House of Commons and has passed the first stage in the House of Lords.
I submitted an amendment to the bill requiring Ministers to publish a plan on our future relationship with Euratom, the European nuclear Energy authority. I was very pleased that my amendment had the most signatures of all amendments submitted and that as a result the government have agreed to publish a plan with quarterly updates.
Earlier this month I attended a meeting in Parliament on rail in Oxfordshire. It was a useful gathering of all the key stakeholders – Great Western, Chiltern, Network Rail, local councils and MPs.
First, the good news. We have a fantastic station in Didcot which provides excellent links to London, Swindon and Oxford. Didcot Parkway has gone from strength to strength over the last few years. A station revamp, completed in 2014, made the station safer for users and a bigger taxi rank, bus stop and cycle rack were just some of the improvements. Work on the station shows no sign of slowing down with an enclosed cycle rack in the works and the construction of a new multi-storey car park. Electrification of the line out of London has now almost reached Didcot, cutting journey times on the fastest trains to 39 minutes. Great Western Railway’s new, electric Intercity Express trains are being rolled out and will increase capacity by over 24% (648 vs 522 seats), something that any commuter to London will tell you is sorely needed. The driver training programme for the new trains has also been accelerated.
There is more to do though. It has been a long-standing ambition of mine to open a station near Wantage. There has been progress on this front recently. I have linked with other MPs to propose an East-West line which could include new stations in Wantage, Corsham and Royal Wootton Bassett. This would be an extension to the planned link between Cambridge and Oxford and would help link Bristol, Swindon and Oxford. There are obstacles to be overcome in the development of this proposal. The line between Didcot and Oxford particularly is almost at full capacity and we will need to think carefully about how to move forward with this. It will still take many years to make happen, not least as we will have to build extra track.
This month I have received 318 items of correspondence (emails and letters) from constituents. Subjects raised with me included the NHS, fireworks and post-Brexit trade.
With regard to fireworks, they are only sold for home use during the traditional firework periods of Bonfire Night, New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali. Suppliers who wish to sell fireworks outside the traditional periods must comply with stringent conditions before being granted a licence by their local licensing authority. This means the availability and use of fireworks outside the traditional periods has been greatly reduced. The government also has strict regulations on the level of noise they can produce.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any pressing issues that you would like help with. Either myself or one of my team will get back to you as soon as possible and do what we can to assist. You can contact me on any matter at the House of Commons, SW1A 0AA, email@example.com or 01235 768 888. Email is the quickest and most reliable way to get in touch, as I keep a very close eye on my emails and can reply very quickly. Details of my activities in Parliament can be read on my website, https://www.vaizey.com. I also send out occasional general interest emails about developments in the Wantage and Didcot Constituency. If you would like to be added to the distribution list, please complete the online form at http://bit.ly/EdVaizeyMP.”