From your local MP – David Johnston

I’ve been pleased with the response of local companies to my work experience campaign. We’ve now got a great set of placements happening for over 30 sixth-formers at schools across the constituency, from Wallingford to Faringdon Community College. I’m very grateful to organisations from Oxford Sigma and Hachette UK to Rebellion and Astroscale.

The point of this campaign is work experience is really important to help young people understand the world of work, but placements have dried up due to Covid and lots more people working at home for at least part of their week, meaning young people are not getting the opportunities others used to, particularly disadvantaged young people. I’m hoping this will grow in the years to come.

We were given the shortest time limit for speeches I’ve had yet in my time as an MP this month – 90 seconds each! – in a debate about sewage discharges, secured by a Conservative colleague of mine. The reason for the short time limit was there were 33 MPs present for just a 90 minute debate. It was still enough to make some key points: that we all agree too much sewage is released into our waters – it should be rare but water companies don’t adhere to this – it is not a new problem and it can’t be fixed overnight as the alternative is sewage backing up into people’s homes instead.

It was also important to highlight that the claim MPs voted to allow it to happen have been shown by independent fact-checking organisation, Full Fact, to be false – whichever way the vote in question had gone the sewage would not have stopped. I welcomed the new legal duty the Government has put on water companies to reduce this harm and the £56 billion that is being unlocked by its Storm Overflows Plan to tackle the problem. I particularly welcome that the Government is increasing the maximum fine that can be levied from £250,000 to £250 million.

Sixteen-year-old Niamh from Wantage came to see me about negative behaviour she and her friends have been experiencing from boys and men, including rape ‘jokes’, which adults around them have dismissed as ‘boys will boys’. She is keen to campaign on this area and I am going to help her – I am setting up for her to meet Sharon Gaffka, whose campaign on spiking I have helped and I raised what Niamh had told me in the House of Commons the following week. As I have said before in Parliament, it seems pretty obvious that if we can ensure boys grow up respecting girls, they’re unlikely to become men who disrespect women.

Lastly, I will be hosting a Local Crime Summit with Thames Valley Police in the coming weeks, so constituents can share their concerns about local crime and anti-social behaviour. Details will be published on my website and Facebook soon.

As if ever, if I can help with anything please do contact me via

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