Who would have thought that the most successful Conservative Leader in a generation would be out of office and out of Parliament less than 18 months after winning the 2015 General Election? But that’s what happened! This week David Cameron had resigned as Member of Parliament for Whitney. We are living in very strange political times! And with the Labour Leadership election coming to a close I begin to wonder if that will bring more surprises. We will have to wait and see!
Theresa May’s announcement that she wants to turn the clock back and open more grammar schools has created as much opposition from Conservative MPs as Labour MPs. All the evidence shows that areas with selective education do less well for their young people than non-selective areas like North Lincolnshire. And no-one seems able to point to a high performing education system in the world that has selection at age 11.
We also had the announcement that Hinckley C nuclear plant will go ahead after last minute dithering from the Prime Minister. It has always seemed odd to me that a Conservative Government is getting Communist China and a nationalised French company to build our next generation of nuclear reactors at enormous cost to the UK tax payer. Let’s hope they use UK steel.
The Boundary Commission published its proposals for new constituencies based on a reduction of 50 MPs. This is happening at a time when the cost of the extra members of the unelected House of Lords created by this government far outweighs any savings from reducing the number of elected MPs. And, with Brexit, we will lose our 73 MEPs so the argument for reducing the number of MPs is very, very weak. That said the proposal for Scunthorpe would mean that the current constituency which includes Bottesford, Kirton-in-Lindsey, Messingham, Scawby, Hibaldstow and East Butterwick would have towns and villages to the north (Winterton, Burton, Winteringham, Flizborough etc) and Gunness and Burringham to the west added to it. These initial proposals are published on the boundary commission’s website www.bce2018.org.uk and anyone can give feedback on them up to the 5th December when their consultation closes.
It’s 2 years since I led a debate in parliament in response to a massive public petition asking for more to be done to tackle pancreatic cancer. I chaired a meeting of the All Party Group this week in which we were updated on the latest treatments being developed for tackling this awful disease.
Finally I remain very concerned about the future of the British Steel Pension Scheme. Everything has gone very quiet as we await the Government’s response to its consultation on allowing the Trustees to make adjustments to the scheme. I am continuing to work with other steel MPs and the steel unions to keep pressure on Tata and the government to honour steelworkers’ pensions. I raised the issue of better steel procurement for government contracts again this week and also had a useful meeting with British Steel, North Lincolnshire Council and fellow North Lincolnshire MPs.