Our local pubs are at the centre of Ipswich’s economy and cultural life. Like many across our town I’ve had many great experiences in them and I feel personally connected to many of them. It was therefore very hard to hear from the landlord of the Belstead Arms in Chantry last weekend about how he had to watch his loyal customers leave the pub at the 10pm curfew and go and spend their money at the off licence across the road instead.
Ipswich has comparatively low levels of Covid-19 compared to the rest of the country and had the blanket national curfew come up for a vote in Parliament, I would have on balance likely voted against it. I support MPs taking more responsibility for these decisions which affect our constituencies and yesterday we secured a commitment from the Government to hold a vote on future measures wherever possible. The curfew won’t come into this though and that’s why I asked the Health Secretary today to keep it under continuous review with a view to lifting it as soon as possible.
Good to hear the Health Secretary commit to this today. Everything must be done to get the balance right between lives, livelihoods and liberties and I’ll keep doing everything I can to make sure Ipswich’s local interests are heard loud and clear when these difficult decisions are made.
Like many in this country, I believe Winston Churchill was one of the greatest Britons ever to live. It was with great sadness that the National Trust placed his former home, Chartwell as one of 93 properties currently in the care of the National Trust with links to slavery and colonialism.
I asked the Leader of the House if he could find the time to debate Winston Churchill’s legacy, the man he was and how we should be concerned by actions of some on the left to tarnish his reputation as a great leader and hero to many of us.
I also asked the leader to take into account that many people are becoming increasingly concerned that a growing number of our national organisations are being infiltrated by wokist elements.
Brought up the excellent Combat2Coffee project in the Commons today which does vital charity and community work supporting local veterans in Ipswich. When I visited the new coffee shop on Princes Street in February, I was clear to the founder, Nigel Seaman, that the project and the people it helps have my full support in Parliament.
One of the things Nigel has raised with me since then is the bureaucratic health assessments veterans often have to go through to get the pensions and benefits they’re entitled to. This can be a distressing process for those who are living with physical and mental injuries they got serving on our behalf and it risks putting veterans off accessing the support they’re entitled to. I urged the Minister for Veterans today to ensure the process is streamlined to protect against this as much as possible, and I’ll be monitoring the roll out of the Government’s plans to move parts of the process online very closely.
UNCONCIOUS BIAS TRAINING FOR MPS: Was on Talk Radio today to set out why I won’t be taking unconscious bias training for MPs. I’m immensely proud to represent Ipswich and the diverse communities which make up our town. And I’m against prejudice in all its forms.
This “training” is deeply patronising to me and all other MPs who take this incredibly seriously. Sitting through a 2-hour session with a giant blue puppet talking about prejudice will have no effect whatsoever. My time is my constituent’s time and I think most of them would prefer it’s spent on making sure their priorities are addressed in Parliament as we deal with a number of hugely significant challenges. Many will also rightly have questions about why the parliamentary authorities are pandering to the woke agenda and using large amounts of tax payer money to do it. Driving this agenda has become an industry and we shouldn’t be fuelling it with public money.
Spoke again in the debate on Brexit to push back against those who have been cynically using it to disparage the union of the United Kingdom. I’m a staunch unionist and I love every part of this country. And while I respect those who hold a different view, there is a time and a place for this debate to be had properly. Denigrating remarks from one SNP MP in particular on Monday couldn’t be left unanswered when he deliberately tried to paint the history of this country in the worst possible light and suggest we’re a country that has always broken the rules.
I pointed out to the SNP benches that, in the week where we honour the English, Scottish, Welsh and Ulster airmen who fought in the Battle of Britain, they’d be much better off remembering the decisive intervention this country made to defend freedom and the rule of law from the most evil regime in modern history.
I also called out a Labour Shadow Cabinet Minister who used a radio interview on Sunday night to sneer at Conservative MPs for appearing in front of the Union Jack in public. Like many of my Conservative colleagues, I’m proud of our flag and what it represents. And just like when Emily Thornberry sent a tweet looking down her nose at someone for flying a St George’s Cross outside their home, too often this doesn’t appear to be the case with Labour.