I’m trying to get everyone to complete my Grove Station Survey by midday on 1st March. I’ve been campaigning for Grove Station to reopen since I was elected and the purpose of the survey is to show the level of local support and give the Government an indication that it would actually be used if it was reopened – so please complete it if you haven’t yet!
In the Armed Forces Bill Debate recently I was able to highlight our constituency’s contribution to the country’s efforts – not just in being home to institutions like the Defence Academy at Shrivenham and the 11 EOD and Search Regiment in Didcot – but in service by some of my predecessors, too. As most of you will know, when the seat was Abingdon the MP was Airey Neave, who had a proud record of service in World War 2; his predecessor was Ralph Glyn, who served in World War 1 and was awarded a military cross.
We were having the debate because since 1688, the consent of parliament has been required for the raising and keeping of a standing army. In modern times, this means that every 5 years parliament is asked to give consent to an Armed Forces Bill, without which there is no means to ensure service personnel obey orders. The Government used the Bill to do other things such as update the Service Justice System, extend the use of posthumous pardons for abolished sexual offences and further enshrine the Armed Forces Covenant in law. The latter means local authorities will have to have due regard to service in decisions they make about health, education and housing – and rightly so.
I take a particular interest in the armed forces as my dad served in the army for 18 years. The army has of course played a key role in our superb vaccination efforts – at the time of writing we have passed the Government’s 15 million target, which is a remarkable achievement in such a short space of time. From volunteering several times I have seen first-hand the fantastic efforts of our medical staff and volunteers – and the relief local residents feel when they have their first jab.
I recently became one of the Conservative Environment Network’s Net Zero Champions. What this means in practice is I will be campaigning for nature-based solutions to help tackle climate change, including stopping the sale of peat for use in horticulture, protecting and improving our blue carbon assets and undertaking a national capital audit. More on this in the future – and some other campaigns.
While I am not doing face to face meetings at the moment, I am still doing telephone/Zoom surgery appointments – to book one of these or contact me about something else, do email firstname.lastname@example.org
David Johnston OBE MP | Member of Parliament for Wantage