Dear <<First Name>>
I do not think I have written my monthly constituency e-newsletter in more turbulent times. We saw results even more dramatic in the local and European elections than many pundits had been expecting, with the main parties taking a drubbing and now we are facing a leadership contest to be the next Leader of the Conservative Party - in which as I write, no fewer than 12 of my colleagues have thrown their hats into the ring. And no - I have no intention to join them despite the entreaties of a number of you who have written to me!
Despite the shifting of political allegiances, the practical implications of these election results mean that many hardworking and long serving councillors became casualties often for reasons well beyond their own control. In welcoming the 3 new Labour councillors elected in East Worthing I would like to pay tribute to and thank Bryan Turner, Nigel Morgan and Alex Harman for all their years of service on Worthing Council. I am sure they will be back at some stage and of course Bryan continues as the County Councillor for Broadwater division.
I have gone on record recently as saying that Theresa May’s position as Prime Minister had regretfully become untenable and it was time for new faces and a fresh approach to find a way out of the Brexit impasse. In human terms her decision to stand down is a deeply sad one and having been elected to the House of Commons on the same day as Theresa in May 1997 I have seen at first hand her dedication and industry in public service.
Whoever takes over will face a huge challenge and I have yet to make up my mind as to which candidate I will back. Nominations will close on June 10th and this will be followed by several rounds of votes by Conservative MPs where the bottom placed candidate drops out until the final 2 candidates are identified and then it is up to all Conservative Party members nationally to have the final say.
For those who have written to say that this is no way to select a new Prime Minister - similar procedures exist in both the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties but ultimately it will be up to the House of Commons who has a majority to head a government and put themselves forward to be appointed by the Queen. I will obviously be consulting members of the East Worthing & Shoreham Conservative Association, but I would also like to hear your suggestions as to who you think should be in the final 2 run-off and why. I particularly would like to hear about the merits of the best candidates rather than a lot of negative stuff about who you do not want. Please feel free to email me with your thoughts and I will be posting regular videos with an update once voting has started.
Can I particularly draw your attention to the petition to hold the COP26 summit in the UK. You can print it off and return it to me by Freepost or handing it to me at any of my street surgeries or dropping it in to the Shoreham office.
As usual, thank you for all your feedback.
Tim Loughton MP
Upcoming Advice Surgery Dates: (Ring constituency office on 01273 757182 to book an appointment)
Southwick, Friday 7th June
Lancing, Friday 28th June
Upcoming Street Surgery Dates:(Just turn up on the day)
Selden, Worthing - New Parade on seafront, Saturday 1st June - 11.00-12.00
Shoreham Farmers’ Market, Saturday 8th June - 10.00-12.00
Lancing Village Market, Saturday 15th June – 09.30-11.00. I will be at Worthing Children’s Parade after.
Climate Change Petition
The Government submitted a bid to host the upcoming COP26 Climate Change Conference in 2020, where the next stages of the Paris Agreement on climate change will be set out. As it stands, we are in the final round to decide who will host this (with Italy), and one thing that we feel we could use to demonstrate that there is a real public appetite for this important conference to be hosted here is through a petition. I’ve filmed a video, alongside some Parliamentary colleagues, where I set out our position, which you can view by clicking the image above. If you’d like more information about this petition, please click HERE.
It can be printed off via the attachment (available HERE) and sent freepost to my office in Westminster:
Petition to the House of Commons
Office of Tim Loughton MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
Alternatively, you can hand it to me at the upcoming Selden and Shoreham street surgeries, sign a copy that I will have available, or you can drop it off at the Shoreham office. Spread the word!
Each month I receive hundreds, if not thousands, of circular emails from constituents. For this newsletter I thought I’d start to compile a ‘top-3’ of the most popular (non-Brexit!) circulars that get sent in and give my thoughts on the topics. Of course, I’ll continue to reply to each email that gets sent in, but this new feature may be of interest to constituents who are less-frequent emailers. This month, unsurprisingly, I received many emails regarding the climate crisis. I discussed this in my last newsletter, noting that this issue has risen up the agenda recently partly due to the high-profile demonstrations in London and across the continent. This is clearly an extremely high-profile subject - one that will be around long after Brexit is sorted - and one that impacts all of us. I am proud of the efforts that this Government is making to tackle this - at 15.12 on Friday the 31st of May, the UK went for a fortnight without using energy generated by coal - for the first time since the Industrial Revolution. Our reforms and investment ensure that we’ll leave our planet in a better state for the next generation. I’ve also signed a cross-party letter backing the net-zero emissions target by 2050 that you can read HERE. But, as I have said many times before, there is a lot more we need to do - a lot more urgently - and there are further measures I would like you to be involved with, which you can see below. I spoke about medical cannabis in the chamber last month (HERE) - with a particular focus on the cases of Teagan Appleby and Alfie Dingley - so I welcomed the ‘End Our Pain’ campaign to highlight that very few new NHS prescriptions for medical cannabis are being written. The ACMD (Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs) are due to review the current situation, and I look forward to reading their report. Finally, there has been a campaign linked to the 91,000 signatures on a petition concerning a new housing regulator, in response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy. The Grenfell fire was one of the worst tragedies that this nation has experienced, and clearly swift action is needed to improve housing safety. Dame Hackitt has conducted an extensive review of fire safety and building regulations, which I welcome, as well as there being many other groups and committees investigating and reporting on this issue. I am confident that the Government will consider the merits of a new, separate housing regulator in response to this consultation. It was also encouraging to hear that the Government will allocate £200m to fix private tower blocks that are wrapped in combustible cladding. The unsafe aluminium composite cladding will be removed and replaced from 170 privately owned high-rise buildings in England.
I took advantage of an absence of votes at Westminster to join parliamentarians from 17 other countries in Riga, Latvia, alongside SNP MP Chris Law, my co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet, which I chair. A call from the Chinese Embassy strongly recommending I should not attend only fuelled my determination to go, and it was a great opportunity to demonstrate international solidarity with the Tibetan people against the appalling human rights abuses still being inflicted by the Chinese in the 60th year since they invaded in 1959, driving the Dalai Lama into exile.
The trip not only exposed the humanitarian issues in Tibet, but the environmental challenges too. Chinese activities on the Tibetan Plateau are a particular concern, given that the Plateau is the water source that services no less than 40% of the world’s population. Extensive and unsustainable mining by the Chinese Government - often for Lithium which is used in the manufacture of mobile phones - occurs in Tibet. This is a serious issue that deserves far more exposure, and the conference called on the Dalai Lama to declare a ‘Climate Emergency’ in Tibet.
We had two sets of elections this month - kicking off with the local elections on the 2nd, where the Worthing section of our constituency was voting in 4 wards - Gaisford, Offington, Broadwater and Selden. This campaign was obviously overshadowed by the Brexit crisis at Westminster, and Labour took 3 of the 4 wards. Daniel Humphreys, (Conservative, Offington) was elected alongside Labour councillors Dawn Smith (Broadwater), Ferdousi Henna Chowdhury (Gaisford) and Carl Walker (Selden). Commiserations to Bryan Turner, Nigel Morgan and Alex Harman, and thank you for all your hard work.
From disappointing elections at a local level to elections that should have never happened, there was an all too predictable drubbing for the two main parties in the European elections. I understand a lot of the anger and motivations that led people to the Brexit Party on one side, and the Lib Dems and Greens on the other. The fact that Brexit has not been resolved nearly 3 years after the referendum is deeply frustrating, and hopefully fresh faces, with a fresh approach, will get us out of the interminable Brexit stalemate.
Our 10 South East MEPs are now: Nigel Farage, Alexandra Phillips, Robert Rowland and Belinda De Camborne Lucy (The Brexit Party), Catherine Bearder, Antony Hook and Judith Bunting (Liberal Democrat), Alexandra Phillips (Green), Daniel Hannan (Conservative) and John Howarth (Labour).
And yes - two MEPs from the Brexit Party and Green Party share the same name, Alexandra Phillips, although probably don’t share opinions on Brexit!
Victoria Derbyshire Show
I am often asked to appear on the Victoria Derbyshire Show on BBC2 and this month I joined a particularly interesting discussion about the need for reform in the family courts and the problem when acrimonious splits between couples in some cases end up with tragic consequences involving violence towards children. This was an area where I initiated reform whilst Children’s Minister, with a view to taking conflict out of the courts and making sure both parents are as involved as possible with the upbringing of their children whilst making sure that the ultimate consideration is the welfare of the child. You can see a link to the programme and our interesting discussion HERE.
New Monks Farm Development
Last week we at last heard the deeply disappointing news that the Local Government Secretary has decided not to call in the controversial planning decision to build on New Monks Farm and particularly the inclusion of a giant IKEA which I have strongly opposed. The minister did not find a strong enough case for overruling the local authority Planning Committee based on recent guidance, despite the very strong case put forward by me and several hundred local residents. You can read the letter setting out reasons in full HERE.
This decision is deeply disappointing but there is no further appeal mechanism other than through a judicial review which is expensive and difficult, but I am speaking to some of the local protest groups and will support any realistic measures they put forward although I am afraid that realistically I am not optimistic. If the development does go ahead it is vital that the developers Brighton & Hove Albion do fulfil all their section 106 planning and educational contribution obligations. I will also report back on an upcoming further meeting with Highways England about the state of the plans for upgrading the A27 which have gone quiet recently.
British Museum Panel Event
I was really pleased to speak on a panel with Dr Hartwig Fischer (Director of the British Museum), Kirsty Lang from the BBC and Tom Tugendhat MP, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, to discuss how the UK is protecting cultural heritage in fragile and conflict-ridden states. As Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the British Museum, I see first hand how British leadership in development is integral to Britain’s role on the global stage, and I’m proud that we can use our expertise to help protect cultural history and practices, particularly in countries subject to civil war or terrorism from groups such as Daesh (ISIS) in fragile states. The event that always comes to my mind is the devastation of the temple in Palmyra, Syria by Daesh - a truly mindless act of destruction on Syria’s heritage and cultural identity.
GTR Station Fund
One of the rare upsides to the awful chaos that hit so many rail passengers last year is the creation of the ‘Passenger Rail Fund’, created by GTR which will contribute over £15m. In our constituency, Shoreham-by-Sea and Lancing will receive £50,000 each, whilst East Worthing, Southwick and Fishersgate will each get £30,000. It will be up to passenger groups, councils and others in the constituency to recommend how the money is spent, and you can find out more on their very helpful website by clicking HERE. I am also pushing for an introduction of automatic compensation for delays and cancellations to disrupted rail passengers and received a letter from the Chief Executive from the Office of Rail and Road. He has confirmed that recommendations will be submitted in June and will brief me on any updates - watch this space.
I wonder how much of the Lancing allocation will be spent on changing the signs to ‘Lancing-on-Sea’?
Christian Aid 'Glitzy Afternoon Tea'
As part of Christian Aid week earlier in the month, it was a delight to attend the ‘Glitzy Afternoon Tea’ organised by the Church of the Good Shepherd on Shoreham Beach. The crustless and perfectly straight cucumber sandwiches were accompanied by delicious homemade cakes, washed down with a bit of fizz. Certainly helped me put the local election results to the back of my mind for a few hours! Thank you and well done to all involved, it was a fantastic event.
Home Affairs Select Committee Reports
This month on the Home Affairs Select Committee we welcomed the first evidence session for the Islamophobia inquiry, where we took evidence on the APPG for British Muslims’ proposed definition of Islamophobia. The session was divided into two sections - the first panel was critical of the definition and was represented by Trevor Phillips, Neil Basu, Martin Hewitt and Baroness Kishwer Falkner of Margravine, followed by Dr Omar Khan, Wes Streeting and Anna Soubry, who were in favour of the new definition.
The proposed definition is “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness”, and you can watch the entire session HERE.
Volunteers’ week takes place from the 1st to the 7th of June every year and is an important time to celebrate the immense contribution that volunteering makes to our society. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank volunteers across East Worthing and Shoreham for all the work they do and make such a vital contribution. You can find out more about volunteers’ week HERE.
Governor Elections 2019
The Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust are looking for nominations for various governor vacancies. To be eligible you must be a member of the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, belong to the constituency you wish to represent, and be willing to declare your political/financial interests. If this sounds like something that you feel you’d be suited for, please do click HERE for more details. The deadline for nominations is 6th June at 5PM.
A Month in Pictures
This month I had the opportunity to meet with the Ethiopian Ambassador, Ambassador Fesseha, to discuss how we can maintain our century-old Ethio-UK relations, especially in relation to peace, trade, security and investment.
Another highlight was joining Masterchef champion Kenny Tutt and his wonderful wife Lucy at the launch party of Pitch, his new restaurant in Worthing. They have done a fantastic job on this state-of-the-art new venture which will also include a cookery school.
It was good to catch up with old friend Terry Waite when he was presented with a special award at the Lebanese Embassy for his public service – the first time he had returned to Lebanese soil since his fateful visit to Beirut in the 1980’s.
I also dropped in on a Therapy Dogs Nationwide event in Parliament to learn about the work they do across a whole range of establishments - from workplaces to prisons.
If you have a problem you think Tim could help you with and you would like to meet him to discuss it please ring 01273 757182 to book an appointment at one of his fortnightly surgeries.