A right to reply to the Cornishman Comment (24th November 2016) 

I qderek-the-cornishmanuote ‘it beggars belief that of the six MPs…only Steve Double, Sheryl Murray and Sarah Newton bothered to attend when the thorny issue of a cross-Tamar constituency was up for debate’ (on Friday 18th November).

The Cornishman (24th November) is referring to a Private Members Bill that makes no reference to Cornwall. The bill opposes the Government plan to cut the number of MPs from 650 to 600 and to reshape constituencies to make them all of a similar population size.

The judgment I have made is that on Fridays my job is to be out and about in the constituency identifying the issues that matter most to the majority of my constituents and raise those issues with Government Ministers. On the Friday in question (18th November) my constituency commitments were as follows:

10:00 I met with Ian Savage in Helston who goes under the title ‘Strategic Environmental Resilience Advisor’. Ian is helping me to identify measures that improve the efficiency of homes in West Cornwall.

11:30 I went on to meet with Directors at Goonhilly Earth Station as I am supporting them (in Parliament) to increase their ‘deep space’ satellite capability and we are working together investigating what can be done to attract more young people into this high-tec sector.

13:00 Back to Helston to meet Helston Mayor, the Town Clerk and Cornwall Councillors. I deliberately make time to meet councillors at town and parish level and do whatever I can to help them and the area they represent.

15:00 On to Mullion Sunshine Memory Cafe to listen to concerns of members there. It’s far easier for me to go to them rather than expect them to travel to an MP’s surgery.

16:00 An hour in the Old Inn in Mullion followed for a drop-in surgery where one gentleman raised a useful alternative to the proposed cross-border constituency which I have passed onto the Electoral Commission. Others raised concerns about housing, local democracy and the strength of broadband.

18:00 The second drop-in surgery of the day at North Inn, Pendeen. The topics raised included concerns regarding our fishing industry, housing, and healthcare services.

20:00  I conclude the day with a drop-in surgery at The Tinners Arms in Zennor.

The greatest privilege of this job is listening to people’s concerns and difficulties and working hard to find a solution. I hear the concern people have about perceived threats to Cornish identity, and Scott Mann MP and I have worked together to identify some areas where the Cornish identity can be strengthened and celebrated and are proposing these to the Ministers concerned.

Please accept my apologies for choosing to work in West Cornwall on Fridays and Saturdays.