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Answers to the key questions on Syria


Online and in the comments on my last article, members of the public are raising legitimate questions which were, I think, answered in last night’s debate. To read the media, one would think we had voted for a general war: we did not. The motion, as I reported, was tightly drafted. The speeches made by the Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, and his Labour shadow, Hilary Benn, made the case clearly. Mr Benn’s speech was outstanding: it may be found here by using […]

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Why I am supporting the extension of military action against ISIL/Daesh to Syria


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In a previous article, I said I would decide whether to support the Government in extending military action against ISIL/Daesh into Syria once I had seen the motion. The motion is here and it is as follows (layout and emphasis my own): That this House notes that ISIL poses a direct threat to the United Kingdom; welcomes United Nations Security Council Resolution 2249 which determines that ISIL constitutes an ‘unprecedented threat to international peace and security‘ and calls on states to […]

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The attacks on Paris and potential action in Syria


The atrocity in Paris last weekend has horrified people across the globe.  It is clear this barbaric attack has underlined all decent people’s rejection of terror and violence and reaffirmed their commitment to live in an open and free society. It has reinforced everyone’s intolerance of violence and extremism. The freedoms we enjoy were won at great cost and should not be surrendered in cowardice. Our way of life is worth defending. Those of us on the centre right of politics believe […]

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Exploring the risks of EU mis-regulation with Sparks e-cigarettes


The EU Tobacco Products Directive looks set to seriously damage the development of the e-cigarette industry. That is likely to diminish the prospects of helping people quit smoking and lead far healthier lives. Researchers from University College London (UCL) have said that: For every million smokers who switched to an e-cigarette we could expect a reduction of more than 6000 premature deaths in the UK each year, even in the event that e-cigarette use carries a significant risk of fatal diseases, and […]

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Debate on Superfast Broadband


On Monday 12 October, I attended a debate in the Chamber regarding the variations in effectiveness of roll-out of fixed and mobile superfast broadband in different parts of the UK. I was unable to speak during the debate due to it being heavily over-subscribed, with a 4 minute time limit on those who did speak. The Government gave the following reassurances. The Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy (Mr Edward Vaizey): We said that we would deliver superfast broadband to 90% […]

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Government commits to fight to end ‘tampon tax’


Yesterday, the House of Commons debated Finance Bill New Clause 7, an amendment to force a negotiation with the EU for a reduction in the 5% VAT rate on sanitary items.  The Hansard record of this debate is available here. VAT on tampons and other sanitary products should be zero and it was clear that this was the will of the House of Commons. However, EU VAT rules prevent Parliament from eliminating VAT on these products: the cross-party will of […]

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A Parliamentary question on Urgent and Emergency Care


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Yesterday, I had the opportunity in the House to ask Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, a parliamentary question. Mr Steve Baker (Wycombe) (Con): What progress has been made towards the implementation of the Keogh review of urgent and emergency care? Mr Hunt: We are making good progress and we expect to make a substantive announcement on that before the end of the year. That will be about both improving the standard and quality of care in A and E departments, which […]

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Westminster Open Day for Constituency Staff


My caseworker, Tim, recently attended a Constituency Staff Open Day at the House of Commons, where he gave a presentation about the life of a caseworker to new starters. His experience is as follows: I was really pleased to have the opportunity to discuss my role as Caseworker to colleagues from other constituencies at a recent Constituency Staff Open Day in the House of Commons. I have worked for two MPs during the last four years. I began this job […]

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Westminster Hall debate on Tamil rights in Sri Lanka


Yesterday I attended a Westminster Hall debate on Tamil Rights in Sri Lanka where the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office said the following: …there is now a Tamil leader of the opposition for the first time in more than 30 years. We have a real window of opportunity for all Sri Lankans to work together to secure a stable, secure and prosperous future. Tomorrow, the report of the international investigation by the office of the High Commissioner for […]

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The Assisted Dying (No. 2) Bill


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On Friday, the Commons decisively rejected the Assisted Dying (No. 2) Bill. It was “A Bill to enable competent adults who are terminally ill to choose to be provided with medically supervised assistance to end their own life; and for connected purposes.” The Bill attracted huge interest among MPs and voters, with over 85 MPs applying to speak. These matters of conscience, controversy and high emotion are difficult and important moments in the work of our Parliament. Many constituents wrote to me […]

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