I am now settling in to Westminster and at last have my own office although at the moment it doesn’t have a phone, computer or printer that work! Fortunately these things should be resolved fairly shortly although it looks like it may be some time before we find a permanent home in the constituency. I am hopeful it wont be long before we are fully up and running and able to deal more swiftly with the many enquiries from constituents that I am getting. Parliament is up and running now with debates taking place on the Queens Speech. I hope to make my maiden speech during the debates as do many of the other newly elected MP’s. You aren’t able to fully participate in proceedings until you have given it so there is plenty of competition to do them as soon as possible. I hope to “catch the speakers eye” and talk in the debate on devolution and growth around Britain which is of course of huge importance to the area.
Whilst the Government seem to be keen to devolve more power and responsibility to City Regions, places such as Ellesmere Port & Neston which do not fit naturally into such an area are in danger of being left behind. I intend to press the Government not to forget our area and give us the same opportunities and responsibilities to shape our own destiny. Other bills that are mentioned are of course the EU referendum bill and a Housing Bill which promises a 20% discount on homes for first time buyer funded by removing affordable housing and S106 obligations on developers building these homes. The rate of building affordable homes in the constituency has been lamentable in recent years and I am not convinced further removing obligations on developers will help many into home ownership. It also risks undermining the social rented sector which will also face a challenge if the plans announced in the bill to extend the right to buy to housing association properties is not funded in a way that gives housing associations support to continue to build new properties for rent.
The Labour Party Leadership race is hotting up with more and more MP’s announcing who they are supporting. I have decided to support Andy Burnham as I believe he is the most impressive of the declared candidates. His down to earth manner and his authenticity are qualities rarely found in senior politicians and with the level of cynicism about politics I believe he will be able to connect with the many people who don’t see politicians as being relevant to their lives. He has spoken convincingly about some of the issues that the party face and I believe he can lead us into victory at the next election.