With one election over, you might well ask which one? The Police and Crime Commissioner election of course. Turnout was disappointingly low across Thanet and Kent in general at around 20%, but the role will have increasing relevance as plans progress for Fire and Rescue and even work of the Probation service to come under the influence of the PCC. I was obviously delighted that Kent returned a Conservative in Matthew Scott to the post. I look forward to working with him in obtaining the levels of policing and resources in Thanet that we need.
I had the opportunity on Tuesday 10th May of proposing my Bill to amend s33 of the Harbours, Docks and Piers Clauses Act 1847 to allow local authority operated ports the right to refuse the trade of the export of live animals for slaughter abroad. This is of huge local relevance following the High Court action against Thanet District Council, costing local taxpayers up to £5m in compensation and costs following the council’s suspension of the trade after the dreadful events in September 2012. The proceedings can be viewed on the Parliament website. The Bill passed its first reading unopposed, and I now await future Parliamentary time to be able to progress it further. What is obvious is that no matter what change that may be made to domestic law passing through Parliament, the reality is that Article 35 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union would apply, as would European Court precedence on the operation of the single market, meaning that we would be powerless to stop this trade that most feel to be abhorrent no matter what Parliament or local people demand; a simply ridiculous situation. Something else to add to the mix when considering your vote on 23rd June.
The Work and Pensions Select Committee, of which I am a member is an active one. We recently reported on pension Auto-enrolment, and we will shortly be interviewing Sir Philip Green, previously of British Home Stores to understand the pension hole now left with the insolvency of the business. Pensions are front and centre of much of my work, and this is a final call for any who wish to attend my Women Against State Pension Age Inequality (WASPI) conference this Saturday 21st May between 10.00am and 11.30am at Ramsgate Football Club to discuss the issue of pension age changes. If you would like to attend, please contact my office on 01843 603242. Lots of other events on this weekend, notably Ellington Park May Fayre: hope to see you there.
We now enter an intense period of campaigning in advance of the EU referendum on 23rd June. No matter what your view, do get involved; don’t look back after the event with the nagging feeling of “I wish I’d done more”. I will be on the speaker circuit around the region between now and referendum day. I hardly need tell you that I am with Vote Leave.