News

EMPLOYMENT– SOUTH WEST & STROUD

The number of people in full-time jobs has hit record high and unemployment has fallen in all regions under the Conservatives. Figures released on 17th April 2019 show that in the South West, there are 2,812,472 people in work, meaning that there are 318,156 more people have the security of a job than when the Conservatives took office.

CLIMATE PROTESTS

This is a copy of a tweet thread that I posted on 17th April 2019 in the middle of the week where Extinction Rebellion organised a week of protests in London. At this point, there had been approximately 300 arrests, roads had been shut for days, protesters were glued to railings in London and protesters were trying to stop tubes to disrupt commuting.

ONLINE HARMS

The Conservative government is working to make the UK to be the safest place in the world to go online, and the best place to start and grow a digital business. A white paper and consultation has been launched seeking individuals and businesses to get involved. No-one has established a regulatory framework to tackle online harms. The UK will be the first and continuing global leadership in the field.

SCHOOL FUNDING – WORKING TOGETHER

There have been significant debates about local school funding issues, both in the Houses of Commons and at the County Council. All councillors, MPs, candidates and local government are working to press the case for more special educational needs funding and increased funding for Gloucestershire schools. The Schools Forum mentioned in the motion is influential and run by teachers.

BEST PLACES TO LIVE 2019

Pleased to see Stroud mentioned again in a ‘best places to live’ list – this time for the Sunday Times, April 2019. My personal view is that part of being a Member of Parliament, political candidate and local politician is being an area’s biggest champion on top of being public servants for everybody that lives here. It is therefore a great joy for me to see Stroud receive recognition and national newspapers champion the place too.

YOUTH@HEART – LOCAL CHARITY

The Cadbury hall in Frampton was coming alive with treasure hunters on Saturday 13th April 2019. The charity, Youth@Heart had set up the event to fundraise for the next phase of their work to fund a Cardiac Youth Worker, to undertake a liaison role between the young person, medical professionals and community provision.

LONGNEY ORCHARDS

I really enjoyed spending time at the Longney Orchard with the Gloucestershire Orchard Trust. The Shrubberies School Apperley Centre students were there, working really hard to clear fallen branches and getting the orchard ready for spring.

4* SEVERN BORE

Not all weekends start watching people waiting to start surfing down a river! The local Rotary Club treated enthusiasts to bacon sandwiches and coffee to keep the chill off while the natural phenomena that is the Severn Bore arrived.

THE DOOR YOUTH WORK

I really enjoyed visiting The Door charity to learn more about their work and services. A councillor colleague put me in touch with the wonderful Victoria and Barrie as he is planning to work with them with one of his council hats on.

FURTHER EDUCATION FUNDING DEBATE

I am grateful to Richard Graham MP for mentioning SGS Stroud and my work campaigning on funding to the Minister during this debate. A number of MPs from all parties joined Richard’s debate and this should be another note to the Chancellor about how important it is to increase funding in the spending review this year.

CHALFORD SCARECROW TRAIL

The effort made by the community for the Easter Chalford Scarecrow Trail is incredible. I popped over to see dozens of children leading their parents around following maps to find scarecrows of all different characters. Cllr Debbie Young was busy selling maps from Christ Church School too. I would be interested to find out just how many people completed the trail.

INDICATIVE VOTES

On 27th March 2019 the House of Commons held indicative votes on Brexit. As I mentioned on social media ahead of the votes, Parliament taking ‘control’ of the Brexit process after weeks of evidence that Parliament is incapable of agreeing anything (while simultaneously saying they want to avoid certainty) did not fill anybody with hope.

LOW COUNCIL TAX

Government figures released show people in Gloucestershire pay lower council tax than in almost any other shire county. This is welcome news and forms part of our work to ensure that residents can keep more of their hard earned money in their pockets. Improving cost of living will continue to be a focus of mine for Stroud.

HIGH STREET SATURDAY

I welcome additional funding for high streets in the Stroud Constituency and across the country. I’ve been in Nailsworth & Dursley for #HighStreetSaturday (mainly canvassing, drinking coffee & eating cake with Cllr Davies – but all part of joining in the campaign ). Click read more to watch the video!

FURTHER EDUCATION FUNDING

Click read more to see my letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer calling for more Further Education funding and backing a campaign from 164 MPs led by Gloucester’s Richard Graham MP.

PAGANHILL COMMUNITY ACTION

I organised a litter pick in Paganhill after a resident contacted me about a specific area. A big thank you to Cllr Haydn Sutton and members of the community who came along and worked really hard. This made an immediate difference and I know the residents are pleased.

STROUD STATION

It is important that we keep up public awareness about the campaign to improve disabled access at Stroud Station.You may recall myself and other councillors from all the parties out in the town encouraging people to sign a petition in September last year. See Stroud Town Council’s video about why changes are needed.

RANDWICK PRIMARY SCHOOL

I have been contacted about a great fundraising project at Randwick Primary school. Parents and friends of the school are raising money to build a new classroom. Click read more for further information and to donate to the project.

AIR BALLOON MISSING LINK – A417

The government has announced an agreement regarding the infamously congested & polluting air balloon roundabout. This a major step forward, as all Conservative MPs in Gloucestershire have been working on this continuously for many years. I know that effort has ramped up over the last two months, including walking the whole route too. The option is for 3.4 miles of road linking the M5 and M4 turned into dual carriageway.

STONEHOUSE METHODIST CHURCH

The church held a Big Brew birthday party to celebrate 40 years of Tradicraft -one of the leading dedicated fair trade companies in the UK.

They also launched their work to become an Eco Church (a reward scheme designed to help the church to work towards environmentally friendly practices).

WOODCHESTER VALLEY VILLAGE

I had really enjoyable morning at the brilliant Woodchester Valley Village, Inchbrook, Stroud & i’m looking forward to going back soon.

If you can spare two minutes, can you vote for them to win a National Housing for Older People Awards and share this too: awards.eac.org.uk

REDNOCK SCHOOL QUESTION TIME

I enjoyed being at Rednock School to take part in a Question Time event. There were a good range of questions & hardly any Brexit!!

Left to Right: George Butcher – Lib Dem candidate; Josh Priestly – student & Dimbleby/Bruce role; Chris Brierley – Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner; and David Drew MP – Labour

POTHOLES

I was pleased to see the announcement from Gloucestershire County Council about the Government’s ongoing work to tackle potholes. The Council stated it is “great news for Gloucestershire”. Click Read More for further information.

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

On International Women’s day – this is my little video as ambassador for the cross party 5050Parliament campaign. Click read more to watch!

HONDA

The decision by Honda to close their Swindon plant in 2021 is devastating to the area and surrounding communities. While I note the first reaction of some has been to politicise the issue, the thousands of families who are affected by the reported likely job losses must be the first consideration.

BREXIT

I was at an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) in Parliament tonight (12th March) regarding children’s mental health, broken families, knife crime & schools. ‬I came out to listen to the Brexit vote result & saw the latest deal was voted down.

BERKELEY BY ELECTION WIN

Congratulations to Cllr Lindsey Green for winning your first election! The results: CON 49.8% (+4.6), LAB 34.4% (+0.8), LD 11.6% (-3.9) and GRN 4.1% (-3.9). I’m very proud of our brilliant team. Everybody worked so hard yesterday & in the months leading up to the election.

MAKE IT YOUR BUSINESS STROUD

Thank you to everybody who attended Make it Your Business at the Sub Rooms. We had a really good turn out and a fun, inspiring evening. Make it Your Business is a not for profit organisation determined to encourage more women into business and create more female entrepreneurs. Click read more to find out more about the event and organisation.

PRIDE OF SHARPNESS

I felt privileged to be at the launch of the Pride of Sharpness with the Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA) in the beautiful sunshine. There were great speeches from the RNLI, the Gloucestershire Fire Chief, the Dean of Gloucester and Countess Bathurst amongst many more. The Cotswold male voice choir sang for us all.

LABOUR PARTY SPLIT

A short note: the speeches of the 7 Labour MPs who decided to quit their party make it clear that it was a very difficult decision for them. They looked pained and pushed to the limit about really serious issues of anti-semitism and bullying.

CONSERVATIVE PARTY SPLITS

I am obviously saddened by the departure of three Conservative MPs. They took the decision to resign the party whip today and will sit with the new ‘Independent Group’. I note the many messages of respect from colleagues and party members.

BBC POLITICS WEST

Reducing screen time and mental health. Practical ideas – box & clock – what else? On the telly with Sunday Politics today. One of the discussion points was about mental health following all the deeply upsetting reports where, linked to their social media use, young people are harming themselves or committing suicide.

KIMMINS MILL IN STROUD

Kimmins Mill in Stroud is packed full of information & local archives. This picture is a snapshot of just some of the books there. A community team of volunteers have been asked by Sainsburys to move five floors of their archives. Sainsbury’s own the building as their peppercorn rent is being brought to an end.

NHS – 10 YEAR PLAN

I welcome the new long term health plan, created by the NHS for the benefit of us all. The Prime Minister announced a ten year plan that has been developed by the NHS alongside a historic funding increase of £20.5 billion by 2023-24. There will be a focus on prevention work, with £4.5bn being invested

FIRST AID TRAINING IN SCHOOLS

The Secretary of State for Education is working on making health education compulsory in all schools, equipping every child with life-saving skills. In the summer, the excellent Dursley Pulse team first aider (in the picture) talked to me about her belief that all young people should learn key first aid skills.

MEANINGFUL VOTE – BREXIT

I do not have a vote. I have however set out my approach to Brexit and some queries about our local MP’s incoherent position. Click read more to read my letter to the Stroud News & Journal.

YOUNG PERSON RAIL CARD

There is a brand new railcard that will halve rail travel for 16 and 17 year olds benefitting young people and their families across the country. We estimate that this will benefit 1.2 million young people. We are also rolling out an industry led 26-30 year old rail card.

DOMESTIC ABUSE BILL

When most people close their front door at night, they can block out the world, sort the kids or the dinner out and stick the telly on. For approximately 2 million people though, night times at home can be when the terror really starts. The government has published a ground breaking draft domestic abuse bill

HOUSING FOR VETERANS

The Communities Secretary announced the plan to prioritise social housing for veterans suffering from mental health conditions, ensuring our armed forces get the help they need. Former service personnel suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or other mental illnesses will be prioritised for social housing under proposals published for consultation by Communities Secretary.

HAPPY NEW YEAR

Wishing everybody a Happy New Year & good wishes for each day in 2019. We spent last night in Frocester & had the first walk of the year in Frampton. Im looking forward to another year of hard work & meeting people across Stroud, the Valleys & Vale.

SEVERN VIEW FOOD PROJECT

I spent some time with Cllr Debbie Young serving food to the community in Chalford. Debbie does this week in & out with her Severn View Food Project charity – focussing on reducing food waste & stopping loneliness. My hat goes off to her.

LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE

The Prime Minister’s statement following the party’s leadership challenge is below for ease of reference. My personal view is that I feel disappointed by the leadership challenge at this time. It is an act of self harm. I believe clever arguments, technicalities, battles and politicking from all parties about Brexit are damaging trust.

PAGANHILL COMMUNITY CAFE

I love this weekly cafe group. It is a welcoming space for anybody who wants a chat, lunch or needs advice about a particular problem. The team have linked with organisations such as Emerging Futures, Barn Wood and First Child to provide a range of services.

ST LAURENCE’S TREE FESTIVAL

My husband & I went to St Laurence’s church to set up the Stroud Conservative association’s Christmas tree for the fabulous tree festival. I took some pictures of the other trees but there are so many! Definitely worth going to see each year. It is a great start to Christmas!

WHITMINSTER QUIZ

We enjoyed a fun quiz at Whitminster Village Hall. Quiz + fish & chips got the crowds in and Cllr John Jones took control of the questions. We hold lots of social events each year so if you want to join in, please get in touch with me or the Gloucestershire Conservative office.

POLICE AND FIRE SERVICES

Please read. I agree with the Conservative Gloucestershire MPs that it is not a good idea to merge our police & fire services. Many people are disappointed that the Police & Crime commissioner appears to want to re-open the issue.

FIRST WORLD WAR ARMISTICE – 100 YEARS

I was honoured to be asked to lay a wreath at the Stonehouse Memorial. It was a lovely service with a parade from Air, Navy & Army cadets, plus Scouts, Guides, Sea cadets, Brownies, schools & many more. Thank you to everybody involved & for such a warm welcome.

BUDGET 2018

There is quite a bit to work through after Fiscal Phil’s budget today (we will ignore his jokes!!). No budget pleases absolutely everyone but these are a few of the spending commitments that I was pleased to see as they will ultimately help Stroud, the Valleys & Vale.

STROUD HALF MARATHON

I really enjoyed running the Stroud half marathon with thousands of other runners. It was an incredibly well organised race with the whole team doubling up as motivators to get us through the last few miles! The sunshine helped too! I was running to raise money for Scrubditch care farm in Gloucestershire.

WATCH MY CONFERENCE SPEECH

I was pleased to be asked to speak at the party’s national conference on the main stage. You can watch my short speech here: https://www.stroudnewsandjournal.co.uk/news/16958934.watch-stroud-mp-candidates-speech-at-tory-party-conference/

FARM EXPANSION

Scrubditch Care Farm have been working hard to raise money to expand for many years (you may remember that I ran the Stroud half marathon for them a few weeks ago). The students come from all over Gloucestershire including Stroud, the Valleys and Vale. It is one of my favourite things to do each week.

STROUD FAMILY – DOWN’S SYNDROME AWARENESS

Down’s syndrome awareness month is v close to my heart and you will see my super duper nephews in the picture above.The great charity  wouldntchangeathing.org are wonderful and I know there is a lovely Stroud family in this video so please watch and share. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFQQJB-dsWo&fbclid=IwAR1iPYloquuyY8PHdcwAkOqAJqkseQqr9Rd242SCSnAqGzMZHnm0NcTlN5c

HIGH STREET BUSINESS RATES REDUCTION

As many people will be aware, the Chancellor announced Business Rates will be cut by a 3rd for all smaller shops. Shops with a rateable value under £51,000 will be eligible, which means that a significant amount of high streets shops will qualify.

FRAMPTON COUNTRY FAIR

I spent the day at Frampton Country fair where thousands & thousands of people come together to celebrate all things countryside. Fly casting competitions, dog agility shows, terrier racing, tent pegging, valley ferrets, parades of the hounds, steel bands, falconry, coarse fishing & so much more.

PETITION FOR STROUD STATION ACCESS

Please sign the petition to show support for improved disabled access at Stroud train station. Last weekend, Conservative Town Councillor, Steve Dechan, got me to walk the route that a person in a wheelchair would need to take if they wanted to access the town centre.

MINISTER FOR ENERGY AND CLEAN GROWTH VISIT

Thank you to Claire Perry Minister for Energy and Clean Growth for coming to Stroud to meet the incredible local company, Progressive Energy. They are one of the UK’s leading independent clean energy firms & working on superb projects around the country. A brilliant visit. Click read more to see the article.

STROUD STATION – ACCESS FOR ALL

Well done to everybody that supported Stroud Town Council request for support and nominations for disabled access at the railway station. There was limited time but we swung into action quickly. We publicised the online petition, organised written support from all Conservative councillors from across the councils.

FIRST AID SKILLS

I spent some time with the brilliant Pulse team who are raising money for MND Association & talking to people about key first aid skills. I was a St John’s Ambulance cadet when I was younger but it’s a long time since I’ve used a resuscitation doll!

SCRUBDITCH CARE FARM

On Sunday 21st October 2018, I am running the Stroud Half Marathon for Scrubditch Care Farm. We work with vulnerable and disabled adults from across Gloucestershire. If you can spare anything to support the charity to expand, we would be very grateful.

ENERGY – COST OF LIVING

Cost of living is a challenge for some families and the government is working hard to find ways to help people to keep more money in their pockets, ensuring the economy works for everyone. Families can now have confidence that when energy costs fall, their energy bills will too.

STROUD PRIDE – DAVID DREW MP ASKED TO EXPLAIN VIEWS ON GAY RIGHTS

I was surprised to be asked whether I supported gay marriage & then regarding same sex couples adopting by the Stroud News & Journal (answers: emphatically yes & yes!) but seen this full article now. Glad David Drew MP was given an opportunity to explain his voting & absences on gay rights.

NATIONAL CITIZENS SERVICE – STROUD YOUNG PEOPLE

Students from Stroud schools have been completing their Young Gloucestershire backed National Citizen Service by social action fundraising for Gloucestershire Counselling services. I bumped into them in Stroud. NCS takes place all over the country, often in conjunction with local youth groups and schemes.

GCSE RESULTS

I joined thousands of people in Stroud, MPs and Ministers from over the country to praise the GCSE students who received their results.

The new qualifications are on a par with the best performing education systems in the world. They prepare our students for the world of work and further study.

STROUD BUSINESSWOMEN NETWORK

I really enjoyed meeting women at the Stroud Businesswomen’s networking breakfast. The network represents all types, sizes and stages of businesses run by women. They welcome women working as sole traders from home, and start-up businesses and I found a truly supportive environment. The breakfast gave the opportunity to showcase a range of different products,

LABOUR U-TURN ON PARKING CHARGES

I joined Conservative Councillors in Stroud calling for the council to stop plans to abolish free parking. Myself, multiple councillors, businesses, Nailsworth Town Council, resident groups and individuals took to social media and local newspapers to show local opposition before finally seeing the Labour Council coalition climb down on 9th August 2018.

50:50 PARLIAMENT – WOMEN IN POLITICS

I care passionately about encouraging more women to get involved in politics. I am an Ambassador for the cross party 5050 parliament campaign and support AskHerToStand. I wrote this short article to provide some practical things we can all do to get more candidates and meet the Party Chairman’s target.

WINNING THE STROUD SELECTION

I am thrilled to win the selection to become the Stroud Parliamentary Candidate for the Conservatives. It was a competitive process that took place over a number of weeks. The Prime Minister sent her congratulations via Twitter that evening and I received extensive support from MPs, party members, councillors and activists.

CANAL TRUST BOOKSHOP – BRIMSCOMBE

I enjoyed visiting the Cotswold Canal Trust bookshop at Brimscombe port & meeting the volunteers. Thanks for the invitation! The shop is run entirely by dedicated volunteers and they have raised over £60,000 in three years and are a firm favourite of the local community.