I've had a small number of people contact me after the High Court decision that parliament not the Government should trigger Article 50. The first thing to say is that the Supreme Court will make the final ruling on this so the excitement in some quarters may be premature. Secondly, I am proud to live in a country that has an independent judiciary and a sovereign parliament so I find much of the media hysteria unpleasant and unnecessary.
Let's be clear; there is no way that parliament will frustrate the will of the British people and block the triggering of Article 50. The only delay in getting on with this is from the Conservative Government who appear to have little idea of what they want to achieve in terms of a new relationship with the 27 remaining nations of the EU. I am clear in my mind that the best relationship for the future is one that allows our local businesses to prosper with a positive impact on the wellbeing and livelihoods of local people.
I spoke in a debate on the future of the steel industry pointing out the Government's poor record on procurement, in relation to buying UK Steel for public infrastructure projects. The latest calamities are the use of French steel for Trident successor submarines and the use of Spanish steel for a wind farm off East Anglia. This just isn't good enough! And the Conservative International Trade Secretary has said that the UK outside of the EU will not even use the trade defence instruments that the EU is using to protect our steel industry from unfair competition from outside the EU, particularly from China. So there is much to fight for as we leave the EU that, if we get wrong, will make it difficult for our local businesses.
One thing that would help support the development of our Energy Estuary would be the establishment of a National College of Wind Energy in the area so I was pleased to join fellow northern Lincolnshire MPs in making the case.
We were together again for our annual meeting with the Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce in a lively and wide ranging discussion. As always I was really impressed by the enthusiasm, passion and energy of our local business leaders.
And it's clear from the avalanche of nominations for my Small Business Saturday awards celebrating the role of small businesses that local people really value them too. Many community pharmacies are small businesses playing a crucial role in our health service. I was pleased to speak out against the Conservative Government's attack on them.
I also spoke up for protecting prescribing for coeliacs which is currently under threat in some parts of the country. With the local health service under strain these are the sort of issues that North Lincolnshire Council should be showing some leadership on. This is hard to do though when they have left their Director of Public Health post empty for 8 months. So I welcome the Conservative Council's responding to pressure from myself by saying they will soon be advertising to fill this very important post. It's a reminder that we all have much to learn about leadership.
It was good for me to hear different perspectives on political leadership in meetings with the Prime Minister of the exiled Tibetan Administration, the UN Peace Prize winning President of Columbia and the South Korean Ambassador to the UK. They presented a range of different perspectives. But I think we could all learn a lot from the Global Leadership Challenge held at Scunthorpe Baptist Church which drew participants from far and near, including myself.