MP’s Column

Cornish MPs combined forces on Monday to celebrate St Piran’s Day by welcoming a host of Cornish producers to Parliament to promote and celebrate Cornish food and drink.

The food and drink on display included ale, wine, gin, cream, tea, biscuits, cheese, chocolate and crisps etc by Kernow Chocolate, Knightor Winery, Cornish Cheese Co, Cornish Orchards, St Austell Brewery, Southwestern Distillery(Tarquin’s), Furniss, Tregothnan, Lynher Dairies, Rodda’s and Provenance Brands which itself includes Warrens Bakery, Cornish Sea Salt and the Great British Crisp Company, among others.

As well as celebrating the patron saint of Cornwall, the event was also an opportunity to celebrate the Cornish food and drink sector which continues to grow and thrive.

I have the great privilege of chairing the All Party Group (APPG) on Brain Tumours and was delighted to be part of a group, including the Health Minister Lord O’Shaughnessy, to visit a research centre in London to announce a £45 million boost in funding for Brain Tumour Research.

The research centre called Blizard Institute was part funded by the Brain Tumour Research Charity. A similar research centre, funded by the Brain Tumour Research Charity, was opened at Derriford Hospital in 2014 (I was privileged to attend the opening).

As Chair of the Brain Tumour APPG I work closely with the Brain Tumour Research Charity to promote efforts to improve outcomes for Brain Tumour sufferers. Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40 and last week I launched an inquiry into the economic and social impacts of brain tumours. It is hoped that the inquiry will help us understand much more about the significant impact brain tumours have on people’s lives and help to focus our efforts where they matter most.

Already the snow of last week seems a distant memory but what did not escape my attention was the resolute way that people continued to carry on in particular those who care for our loved ones in their homes, the pharmacy delivery drivers and many others who provide a service we normally take for granted.

I know of farmers in West Cornwall who mucked in to help out especially on the Wednesday when the snow took so many by surprise. Without the photographs emailed up to me there’s no way that colleagues in Westminster would have believed how thick and fast the snow fell across the Lizard and West Penwith.

The Prime Minister’s statement last week (and largely repeated to us in the Commons on Monday) has been broadly welcomed and prepares the way for the European Council on March 22nd and 23rd.

Onlookers will be recognising the pattern of claims and counter-claims, apparent confusion, hype and political point-scoring that takes place both on all sides in the Commons and media as we run up to an important date such as this in the process of Brexit negotiations. Most would quite like MPs from across the House of Commons to knuckle down and work together in the national interest.