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Gaza: the violence must stop


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As the appalling toll of lives lost has mounted again today in Gaza, it is increasingly clear that it is practically impossible for the Israelis to conduct proportionate operations there. The UN Security Council has rightly called for an immediate ceasefire. The UN Secretary General has described Israel’s shelling of the Shejaiya district of Gaza as “an atrocious action”. Israeli Forces may well give advance notice of their actions but Gaza is arguably too densely populated to allow effective evacuation under operations […]

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Speech on the timetabling of DRIP yesterday


Yesterday in the debate on the timetabling of the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill, I said: Steve Baker (Wycombe) (Con): The subject of the Bill is of profound importance to members of the public who care about such matters, and no wonder because it is the paradigmatic example of the conflict between the rights of the individual and the power of the state as enabled by technology. The Bill can be understood only in the context of the very worst crimes […]

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I deplore the violence by both sides in the Israel-Gaza conflict


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Yesterday, the House of Commons heard a statement from William Hague on Gaza. Today, I met a party of pupils from Cressex School whose concern was obvious and who were keen to discuss the situation. Later in the week, I expect to meet a group of local people to discuss it further. Many local people have contacted me by email. It is a matter of grave concern that violence has once again escalated. I see this evening that “Israel has resumed […]

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Westminster Hall debate on public consent for local plans


Yesterday in Parliament, I led a Westminster Hall debate on the issue of public consent for local plans. I introduced my remarks as follows, I begin by outlining two key problems. First, land for development is extremely scarce in Wycombe, and there is real public anger at the prospect of building on all of High Wycombe’s reserve sites, which would further burden the inadequate infrastructure, especially our roads. Secondly, there is an obvious, acute need for more homes, especially those […]

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Women and Equalities Parliamentary Question


A question on women in business: Steve Baker (Wycombe) (Con): What recent progress she has made on encouraging women to set up their own businesses? The Minister for Women (Nicky Morgan): The Government offer a wide range of support to women entrepreneurs—for example, the new enterprise allowance, mentoring, business advice and start-up loans. I also recently announced a £1 million challenge fund specifically to support women to move their businesses online and take advantage of superfast broadband. We know these measures are making […]

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Motorcycle Action Group – defending riders’ rights since 1973


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I was concerned to learn from former MP Lembit Öpik that his new employer, Motorcycle Action Group, has been casually besmirched in passing during a court case. As a member of MAG and Chair of the Associate Parliamentary Group on Motorcycling, I object. MAG is a serious, strategic and focussed riders’ rights body. Its appeal is built on many years of hard and often unrewarding work in political circles by dedicated experts. In my regular dealings with MAG’s senior staff, I […]

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Modern Slavery Bill Introduced to Parliament


Last week, the Home Secretary introduced a Modern Slavery Bill into Parliament.  The Bill sets out to ensure that the law enforcement agencies have the tools they need to stamp out this abhorrent practice. The Modern Slavery Bill contains significant new measures to ensure that victims are better supported and protected, not only to recovery from their terrible ordeal, but also to support effective investigations and prosecutions.  Specifically, the Bill will do this by: ensuring that victims are not prosecuted […]

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Increasing fine levels


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Following reporting of the changes to increase the maximum fines that can be imposed in the magistrates’ courts, an extract from a “Dear colleague” letter from the Ministry of Justice: The current fine levels were set over 20 years ago in 1991 and so were clearly in need of review. Parliament welcomed the move to increase these levels during the passage of the 2012 Act; so too did Magistrates. Once approved by Parliament, the Statutory Instruments will mean a fourfold […]

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Underground access – shale gas


The Government is currently running a consultation on proposals to reform the procedures for securing underground access to oil and gas deposits. The consultation aims to find the right balance between the legitimate interests and concerns of landowners, and the benefits to the community and nation at large of permitting development where that development is otherwise acceptable in planning and environmental terms. Several constituents have contacted me about the proposals that were detailed in the Queen’s Speech: it should be […]

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Prime Minister of St. Vincent & The Grenadines visits SV2G Historical Exhibition at the House of Commons


The Hon Ralph Gonsalves MP, the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, and High Commissioner Cenio Lewis CMG, recently attended an exhibition hosted in the House of Commons. The exhibition focussed on the testimonies of three generations of people from St. Vincent and the Grenadines who have settled in High Wycombe. Curated by SV2G, a local community arts organisation that facilitates engagement with creativity and Caribbean heritage through the music of the steel-pan, the exhibition was on display […]

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