If you are reading this before 1st July, there’s still time to sign up to my Zoom pre-COP26 summit via my website.
Significant change is being proposed for Oxfordshire by the independent Boundary Commission. They say create a seventh seat in the county at Bicester; move the Faringdon, Kingston Bagpuize, Stanford and Watchfield & Shrivenham wards from the Wantage constituency into the Witney constituency; move the Marcham division from Wantage into Oxford West and Abingdon; and move the Sandford and the Wittenhams division from Henley into Wantage, which will get an official new name: Didcot and Wantage (I have continued my predecessor’s habit of including Didcot in the name but it isn’t official!).
The purpose is to give each MP roughly the same number of electors as, at the moment, constituencies in England range from 55,000 to 100,000 people. Wantage and Didcot is 91,000, so I knew they would propose a chunk being taken off somewhere; the proposal would make it 71,000. We’re strongly urged not to give an opinion as these are proposals subject to consultation, but you can give yours up until 2nd August on their website.
I have launched a new project with my colleague, Claire Coutinho, to research and propose practical recommendations to close what we’re calling the Opportunity Gap for young people from different backgrounds and areas of the country. We’ll look at everything from the resources parents have (financial and non-financial) through to the recruitment processes employers use, praising those doing good work to help and calling out those who could do more. Readers will know my pre-politics career was entirely spent working with disadvantaged young people and in the post-Covid world, it’s a topic that is more important than ever.
One of the most valuable things I think I can do in my job is raise issues that affect constituents in the House of Commons. Recently, I’ve been pleased to raise a series of concerning issues, including the case of a constituent who has been waiting 3 years for her rape case to reach court, and what looks to be a worrying rise in the prescribing of anti-psychotic drugs to dementia patients who don’t have a diagnosis of dementia. I also took the opportunity to raise the lack of GP services to serve our growing population – and am pleased the Health Minister has agreed to meet to discuss this further. On this topic, my debate on the performance of Royal Mail is this month and I will put my speech – and other local issues I raise in the meantime – on my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/davidjohnston4wantage)
A few weeks ago I was delighted to become the first patron of the Childrey charity, Team Mikayla, set up by the inspiring 14 year old Mikayla, who has had a long and difficult fight against Cancer. I was delighted to subsequently hear they received a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, alongside other great local organisations such as the Ray Collins Charitable Trust in Wantage and Farcycles in Faringdon. In other good news, Anna Richards of Maymessy in West Challow received the Prime Minister’s Points of Light award too. Congratulations to them all.
As ever, if I can help do please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org