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A new year, a new start for Ipswich

Dear Constituent,

Welcome to the first of my monthly newsletters that I will use to keep you informed about what I am doing as the MP for Ipswich.

Since my election in December, I have got straight to work meeting with key organisations such as Highways England about the Orwell Bridge, Network Rail and Great Anglia over train disruption as well visiting education facilities in the Town.

I also made my maiden speech to parliament where I spoke at length about Ipswich, the people that make Ipswich a great place to live and work and the privilege it is to serve them every day. 

Visit to my website

I want 2020 to mean the end of closures to the Orwell Bridge.

I held positive discussions this month with representatives from Highways England about solutions to closures to the Orwell Bridge. The meeting with Highways England officials went well as a range of views and ideas were exchanged.

There confidential report has now been published and next winter season there is very likely to be no more complete closures of the bridge to all vehicles. This, I believe is a great step forward and something far better than we have in place at the moment when we have high winds.

Rail summit with Network Rail & Greater Anglia

I chaired a meeting with representatives from Greater Anglia and Network Rail about the rail chaos we've had since my election last month. I was determined to get representatives from both organisations in the same room to avoid any buck passing.

I was joined by my East Anglian Parliamentary colleagues Therese Coffey MP and Chloe Smith MP. It was a wide ranging discussion and I did my very best to ensure that all the numerous concerns that have been raised with me directly by constituents were aired at the meeting. I made it clear that what we've seen over the past month or so hasn't been acceptable and there needs to be significant improvements going forward.

This meeting was the second such meeting on this topic as earlier this month I held discussions with Rail Minister, Chris Heaton-Harris and made clear to him how unhappy many of my constituents are with the issues there have been with the Rail services they rely on every day.
Better Infrastructure

A brighter future for Ipswich in a post brexit Britain

I visited customs house to discuss the future of the island site and the future of the Port of Ipswich with representatives from ABP. I think the Port has an exciting future and has a big role to play in our country's post Brexit future.

I will soon be making a speech in Parliament during a debate on "Global Britain"  and the huge role that Ipswich and Suffolk will need to play to ensure that we capitalise on all the opportunities presented as a result of our departure from the EU.

If rules are broken, there has to be consequences.

Last week I received a Ministerial response to the question I tabled regarding the social media posting by one of those involved in the murder of Tavis from his prison cell.

The Prisons Minister has made it clear that those found to have illegally used social media in prison will be punished. This is an encouraging response but I will be meeting with the Prisons Minister and officials from the Ministry of Justice over the coming weeks to establish more the facts behind the Ministerial response. I want to see evidence that those who have used social media in this way are punished and a strong indication that the person in question here will also be.

It's come to light that others involved in the murder of Tavis posted on various social media channels from their prison cells some time ago so I will also be looking for evidence that they were punished for this. I will not let this rest until all these questions are answered and I will continue to update you as I know this is something many people feel very strongly about.
Tackling Crime

Fighting for fairer Police funding for Suffolk

I met with the Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore this morning in my Ipswich office. I discussed with him at length the concerns I have about crime and anti social behaviour in the Town centre and what needs to be done to tackle it.

A number of retailers have been in contact with me to raise concerns about shop lifting. The situation has become so bad that many have taken to locking their doors when open and not allowing people to freely walk into their shops off the street. This is a very sad state of affairs and not one we should accept. I will work closely with Tim to try and change the police funding formula so we get fairer funding for Suffolk Constabulary. I have already tabled one written Parliamentary question on this and I will not tire of raising it over and over again until the situation changes.
Tackling Crime

Improving Health Services

I have met with Chief Executive of Ipswich Hospital Nick Hulme visited my Ipswich office to discuss the latest Care Quality Commission inspection report into the East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust. Earlier this month the Trust (covers Ipswich and Colchester Hospitals) was rated as "Requires improvement", though this was disappointing it's worth pointing out how close the Trust was to being rated "Good", just one more measurement out of 80 different measurements were needed to be "Good" as opposed to "Requires improvement".

Its impossible to make a direct comparison between the different inspections because this one looked at both Hospitals together as opposed to in isolation. I know some of you have concerns that the merger with Colchester Hospital could have a negative impact to our hospital and I'm very keen to ensure that we all benefit from the merger. The good news is that planning permission for a brand new £35 million A and E department at Ipswich Hospital has now been granted and the plan is for it to be opened by spring 2022.
Learn More

My maiden speech to Parliament

This month I gave my maiden speech to Parliament that covered many topics, from my younger days suffering with dyslexia and dyspraxia, how the residents of Ipswich are proud of their heritage and the importance of the area in a post brexit Britain.

I go on to describe the evil of county lines drug gangs and how Suffolk have one of the worst funded police forces in the country. We need tougher sentences so justice is done and seen to be done. We must raise aspiration, increase opportunities for young people regardless of their circumstances or any special educational needs and that they are given every opportunity to reach their full potential. No child should be left behind.
More videos

Getting brexit done

During the campaign I said if elected I would go to Parliament and vote through Brexit. I'm delighted to report that I did just that!

The vast majority of people I spoke to on the door step said they wanted certainty regarding our departure going into the New Year. We now have that. This is not the end of negotiations and there is tough months ahead with free trade discussions to be had with the EU but this is a major major step forward!
Delivering Brexit

I attended my first Ipswich Vision board meeting this month. We discussed at length the different ways in which new investment from the Government's stronger towns fund could be spent to give the town centre a boost. The old post office building, the BHS site on Arras square and St Peter's dock all likely to be key areas of focus.

There are 100 towns in line to benefit from up to £25 million of funding and I'm keen for Ipswich to be one of the first ones.

Attracting investment in our town

Photos from the previous month

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