MP’s Column (Cornishman Edition)

We now know that the EU referendum takes place on June 23rd.

I fully supported the Government’s commitment to give the British public a say. I voted in favour of a referendum and have observed with interest the Prime Minister’s negotiations with EU bureaucrats and member state leaders. It is right that the British people have a say. The issue will undoubtedly dominate politics and the media for next four months and it will be difficult to know who to believe.

Although a natural euro-sceptic, I believe we should have reliable information about the benefits or otherwise of EU membership. I am exploring a mechanism whereby an independent lay-persons factsheet can be provided for voters.

The EU membership debate must not distract us from important domestic issues. The truth is we must continue to maintain our focus on the important work of integrating health and social care.

In April Helston Community Hospital will become the responsibility of Cornwall Community Foundation Trust as community health transfers from Peninsula Community Health. A smooth transition is intended and patients are unlikely to notice the transfer. However, it all plays a part in the integration of health and social care and we must not allow ourselves to take the foot off the pedal.

The rebuilding of parts of Helston Community College remain a priority for this me. Every day we ask pupils and staff to work in classrooms that are not fit for purpose and, whilst progress is being made, we can not accept any further delay. Low wages must be addressed and work is being done to create skilled jobs.

Goonhilly Earth Station is part of the solution and will play an essential role if Cornwall realises its ambition to host the UK’s first and only spaceport at Newquay Airport. A spaceport will serve the emerging space tourism industry and enable us to put small satellites and other small payloads in space. The space sector seems bit out of this world but has the potential for well paid skilled jobs for Cornish residents!

So bring on the referendum but not at the expense of domestic priorities.