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Dear Constituent,

We are currently living through some unprecedented times and I understand the sacrifices we are all being asked to make in order to save lives and to help our NHS. It is in times like these that we show the best of Britain, we come together in national unity, examples of this is the 'Clap for Carers' that takes place every Thursday at 8pm to show support for our brave NHS workers, the many of volunteers that are helping at food banks, helping the vulnerable with food and prescription deliveries across the town, the many business that have been in touch with my office asking how they can help and initiatives such as Ipswich School creating valuable PPE Visors that can be used in medical environments. 

I have no doubt that together, we will defeat COVID-19 and come back stronger but if we are to do this, we need to stick with the social distancing rules in place, even if it means unfortunately not seeing your friends and family over Easter. I have recently had symptoms of the virus and have been in self-isolation all week and I would like to thank people for their warm wishes.

Below I explain some of the other issues that I have been working on in March such as pressuring Network Rail for some much needed improvements on the Ipswich to London line, asking my first question to the Prime Minister during PMQs and welcoming the Home Secretary, Priti Patel back to Ipswich.

Together, we will defeat Coronavirus 

The coronavirus is not just a health emergency but an economic one too. And throughout this crisis the Government has promised unprecedented intervention to match the exceptional health measures set out earlier in March.

Many constituents have been in touch with me over weeks to tell me of the concerns they have for their livelihoods in this difficult time. It’s absolutely vital that households and businesses are economically secure so we can all focus on our health and that of our loved ones.

In the last few days I have launched a COVID-19 Information Hub on my website that aims to answer many of the questions I am receiving, whether you are an employer, employee, self-employed or have a general health related question such as possible COVID-19 symptoms. 

Of course, I understand this won’t answer everybody’s questions and the situation remains fluid and we will keep the page updated as new advice is published. If however, you still have any questions, you wish to speak to someone in my office or you have an enquiry that is personal to you, please email

If you are someone that would be interested in volunteering to become a Community Volunteer to help vulnerable people such as delivering their weekly shops or picking up prescriptions, you can sign-up on my website on COVID-19 Information Hub.


'Talking with Tom'

We are living through extraordinary times and I'm fully aware of how difficult things are for many of my constituents at the moment. Particularly many of the elderly and more vulnerable members of our community and those being advised to self-isolate.

For many of those who live alone and have been asked to self-isolate, loneliness may well become a key issue for many within our community. It's for this reason that I am working with AGE UK in setting up "Talking with Tom" system so that anyone who wants to talk to me on the phone can register to do so and secure a time slot. I'm happy to discuss any issue and to provide company to anyone in my constituency during this difficult time. Whether you want to discuss the weather, your family, concerns about the virus or my first few months representing you as your MP and what I'm up to at the moment, please do get in touch with my office to set up a time to talk to me. If you know anyone who might be interested in this, please do pass them my details.

If people would like to book a slot to talk to me, they should call 01473 599155 or email me on:, where one of my team will get them booked in to receive a call from me at a time that suits them.

Home Secretary, Priti Patel Visits Ipswich

Great to have Home Secretary Priti Patel back in Ipswich earlier in March. I invited her to Ipswich to meet our local police officers and to make the case for the Police funding formula to be reviewed, at the moment it is not fair on Suffolk, on average £154 is spent on policing per head of the population, the national average is £194. Suffolk Police are getting 54 extra Police Officers but I think it needs to go further. We had a detailed discussion at Landmark House with the Chief Constable and local officers about the incidents of the past month and I relayed to the Home Secretary the concerns that have been raised with me by my constituents. Following this we visited St Matthew's Street where Richard Day tragically lost his life and then onto the Town centre where the Home Secretary was able to discuss matters with many of my constituents directly. The Government have committed to look at the police funding formula however the timeline hasn't yet been confirmed. There is also an opportunity for Suffolk to benefit from the Safer Streets Fund that is focused on tackling theft and robbery. Most of my constituents who have discussed crime and anti-social behaviour with me feel that there needs to be a greater police presence not just in the Town centre but across the Town. I agree with them, however if this is going to happen then the Police needs the resources to do so and it also needs their time to be freed up so it can do so. I was very glad the Home Secretary visited so soon after I raised my concerns with her and I think it says a lot about her determination as Home Secretary to tackle crime.

My first Question at PMQs

Last week, rather unexpectedly I got the opportunity to raise my first question to the Prime Minister. Following the Prime Minister's announcements on social distancing and the passage of the Coronavirus Bill its clear that more pressure will be placed on Police resources as they are asked to enforce the social distancing guidelines. My concern is that certain criminal elements might look to exploit this national emergency to look promote their own insidious agendas. I asked the Prime Minister to confirm that if this does happen he will come down like tonne of bricks on individuals in question. I was glad that the Prime Minister confirmed that if necessary he would indeed come down like a tonne of brinks on such criminals. I really hope it doesn't come to this but its best to be vigilant during times like these.

Letter to Network Rail

Earlier in March I wrote to Network Rail to once again raise the concerns about the disruption on Ipswich to London line. Passengers have faced unacceptable delays and cancellations over the past months and these continue despite previous assurances from Network Rail that things would improve.

I travel between London and Ipswich twice a week and I have found the unreliability of the service frustrating. But for my constituents who travel to London every day for work it’s close to intolerable, as many of them have written in to tell me. I’ve set out this message clearly to Network Rail and asked them to set out the detailed steps they are taking to turn things around.

I have also raised the problems passengers are facing with the Secretary of State for Transport and I will continue to provide updates when I have them.

Visit to Stoke High School

I visited Stoke High School where I went on a tour of the school and got to meet the student council and student reporters before meeting the leadership team who will spearhead the new Sir Bobby Robson school that will open this September to support 60 youngsters with social, emotional and mental health needs. Lots of lessons learnt as usual. Schools funding in Suffolk particularly for those with special education needs was a key issue.

A big step in the right direction

It was announced in the budget earlier in March that the cladding removal fund has been extended by £1 billion to cover all types of dangerous cladding, not just ACM cladding. The devil will be in the detail but one way or another I fail to see this as anything other than a big step in the right direction and I'm glad the Government has listened. Several weeks earlier I was at Number 11 Downing Street where I made clear to the Government that the fund needed to be extended and that a great many of my constituents have been impacted by this issue.

Budget 2020


It seems a long time ago but in March, the Chancellor delivered the first Budget of my time in Parliament but there are clear signs that our campaigns are already beginning to cut through. A lot of focus will rightly be on Rishi Sunak’s robust measures on coronavirus but there are other important elements of the Budget which will benefit Ipswich too.

The Chancellor has come down on the side of working people with a complete suspension of business rates for small retailers, freezes in all alcohol duties and fuel duty, and £1 billion extra for the removal of dangerous cladding. These are all issues I’ve been calling for action on in Westminster and I’m pleased the Chancellor has responded.

I would have liked him to go further by cutting beer duty rather than just freezing it but this is clearly a step in the right direction. Ipswich’s pubs play a crucial role in our town’s economy and community and I won’t stop making the case for more support for them.

There was further good news for road users as well, as A14 improvements will be included in the £27 billion fund for the Strategic Road Network. The A14 must be a priority if we’re going to get to grips with congestion in Ipswich.

Full budget details

'Good day calls'

I put together a video in support of Age UK Suffolk’s latest fundraising drive “Good day calls”. The role Age UK plays has never been more important in supporting some of the most vulnerable members of our community however as a result of the Coronavirus they haven’t been able to raise funds to support their activities by conventional means (charity shops, community events etc). Age UK Suffolk are looking to raise £30,000 per month to help ensure that there teams are able to make a ‘welfare call’ to all elderly residents who may be facing an extended period of isolation and loneliness. If you are able to make a donation, however small, please do, it could make the difference to the number of vulnerable people they are able to reach out to in Suffolk.
Donate today

Commonwealth in 2020

To mark Commonwealth Day I gave a speech in the House of Commons on the Commonwealth in 2020. The people of the Commonwealth share a unique relationship based on bonds of history, culture, language and much else. I made the case that this relationship isn’t just lived across continents but in places like Ipswich too. Many Commonwealth-origin people have made Ipswich their home and make enormous contributions to the life of our town.

Unfortunately, for too long this hasn’t been reflected at the state level as we’ve neglected our relationship with the Commonwealth as members of the EU. But now we are out, we can make up for lost time by re-engaging with our Commonwealth partners on issues like trade and immigration.

I gave the example of India which the EU has failed to do a trade deal with since talks began as far back 2007. With India’s economy growing at around 7% a year and with a population of over 1.3 billion, this is exactly the type of deal we should be looking to strike as an independent and global nation.

Given these positive opportunities for the future, it was a shame the Labour benches used this debate to recite the worst moments of British history. I think it’s telling that they are more interested in pointing out everything that’s wrong from the past rather than talking about what we can do in the future.

I also raised the Commonwealth personnel who serve in our armed forces to fill the gaps we have. At the moment, after serving at least four years in our military they are faced with costs of £2,400 for them and each of their family members who wishes to stay here. Given that they sacrifice so much on our behalf, I’ve called on the Government to waive these exorbitant fees. If anybody should be exempt, it is them.

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