We’ve had 2 Cabinet Ministers visit the constituency in the past month. First up was Priti Patel, Home Secretary, in support of Matt Barber’s (successful) campaign to be the Police and Crime Commissioner. She visited Great Western Park, where residents have had considerable problems with unauthorised traveller camps. This is something I have raised in the House of Commons on more than one occasion and something that Matt has campaigned against with people like Cllr Ian Snowdon. GWP residents appreciated meeting her as she is bringing forward the new laws on this problem.
The second was Kwasi Kwarteng, Secretary of State
for BEIS. This came about after I told him about Johnson Matthey’s new flagship site at Milton Park to develop and test the next generation of electric vehicle batteries; he said he’d be pleased to visit. After the official opening I took him to Greencore Construction’s Springfield Meadows development in Southmoor. I have already brought the Minister for Science, Research and Innovation to see their impressive homes and set up Greencore to meet the Government’s Net Zero Champion, too, but I am keen for as many in government as possible to see how they’ve built not just net zero but carbon-positive homes.
While on the subject of the environment, I am holding a pre-COP26 summit for constituents on 1st July at which we’ll talk about some of the key issues we need to make progress on, showcase some of the great local organisations we have locally – including Greencore – and agree ideas to send to Alok Sharma, President of COP26, ahead of the summit.
It has been good to be able to have more face to face meetings and visit more places as lockdown has eased. I have had very enjoyable visits to all sorts of shops, pubs (such as the Radnor Arms in Coleshill) and restaurants (such as the Fish in Sutton Courtenay). Other highlights have included Tom Brown’s School Museum in Uffington, still in its original 1617 school building, and Flowers from Molly in Faringdon, which allows you to nominate someone to receive a bunch of flowers or a letter of hope if you think they could do with a lift.
I have secured the cross-party support I needed to be able to hold a debate in parliament on the performance of Royal Mail; it is clear we are not the only area that has been having problems. It is now just a question of when the debate can be scheduled. I read in the paper that in Wantage and Grove some residents have just received post from up to 13 years ago as a former postal worker had it in their home this whole time, but I don’t think that accounts for the problems we’ve had!
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