Commons Touch - Keeping busy with ministerial meetings by Andrew Percy
The first week back in Parliament following the summer recess was very busy with lots of ministerial meetings set up to discuss local issues.
As I always point our summer recess doesn’t mean the job of being an MP stops, just the parliamentary side.
I ended up with so much in the diary this week back in Westminster that I didn’t have a great deal of free time to actually spend in the chamber (right) dealing with other important issues.
Having said that I was trying to get called at Prime Minister’s Questions as I wanted to raise the issue of senior management pay in the NHS. Despite my best efforts and me jumping up and down I couldn’t quite catch the speaker’s eye.
The first Ministerial meeting of the week I attended was with the Rail Minister, Claire Perry MP, to discuss our local rail services.
I had to choose between attending this meeting or attending the Health Committee meeting. Naturally, I chose to concentrate on the future of our local rail services and both myself and other local MPs made our case for the retention of the through rail services to Manchester in the strongest possible terms.
Next on the list for me was a meeting with the Chancellor George Osborne MP to discuss a couple of local issues. Specifically, I wanted to raise the need for additional flood defence funding for our area.
All the studies into the strong tidal surge in December show just how close we came in the Isle to an even bigger disaster. Locally MPs of all parties are working with all four of the Humber councils on our joint proposal for a new flood defence funding deal for the area.
Our vision is to see up to £1 billion of funding secured to provide a guaranteed higher standard of flood protection for all the defences along the Humber, Trent and Ouse. This is a huge ask and would go beyond anything we’ve seen before locally, but I’m determined to do all I can to get this deal for the Isle and our local area. We also spoke to the Chancellor about the local economy, particularly the success of the Government’s decision to cut the tolls on the Humber. Bridge which has exceeded all expectations in terms of value.
Immediately following the meeting with the Chancellor I then joined other North Lincs MPs for another flooding related ministerial meeting. This was with our Flood Envoy Minister for our area, Robert Goodwill MP. Having also met with the Prime Minister on this same issue locally and having raised local flood defences in the House of Commons on numerous occasions, it’s fair to say we are getting our message across. My hope is they get so sick of our demands, they just write the cheque.
I was pleased to be back home again Thursday night for a public meeting in the constituency, before a full day in the constituency on Friday. One of the nicest events on Friday was opening a new post office location in the constituency. Unlike the last Labour government, who closed 6,000 post offices, we have ended the Post Office closure programme and are now investing in the network again.