I should know when to keep my mouth shut. I took part in the second reading of the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill and was promptly put onto the team to take the Bill through its Committee stages. Despite the dryness of its title, the Bill aims to consolidate government funded advice bodies, particularly on pensions, into one new entity – the Single Financial Guidance Body. Additionally the Bill allows for mandatory breathing space for those facing pressure from lenders, and further adds controls over Claims Management Companies so that their fees are more closely regulated and cold calling techniques curtailed. And so this is a Bill that affects us all in one way or another.
Another recent parliamentary appearance was in the closing stages of the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill. If you’d like to hear me weave Google maps, errant sheep, a drunken cyclist and Arnold Schwarzenegger into a five minute speech in the Commons, then do look it up.
I got involved in the debate about the failure of Carillion which raises questions as to the effectiveness of current Insolvency rules upon corporate failures. Too often, those smaller companies down the supply chain find themselves unpaid and potentially facing ruin. This has to stop and I am calling for change.
The fight to stop live animal exports out of Ramsgate took a huge leap forwards. I hosted a hugely successful event in advance of the Rt. Hon Theresa Villiers’ second reading of her Bill to ban the trade. It was good to invite local campaigners from Kent Action Against Live Exports as well as a sprinkling of celebrities including Joanna Lumley, Selina Scott, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Frederick Forsyth and Jan Leeming. Following assurances given by the Secretary of State Michael Gove MP, Theresa has stood her Bill down for now. I honestly believe we are on the cusp of success in getting this cruel trade banned for good.
I am increasingly concerned as to the militant nature of the new Labour/Momentum campaigning style. The abuse and threats heaped upon my good friend Jacob Rees-Mogg MP at Bristol University were truly shameful. There are reports of increased anti-semitic and other hate crimes across Kent over the past year. The link between Labour’s new blind eye to holocaust deniers and terrorism supporters in its ranks and encouragement of direct action against anybody with whom it disagrees can hardly go unnoticed. We need to be vigilant against this new style of politics, it is insidious and evil.
Locally we are seeing Labour activists stoking up fear amongst the vulnerable about potential changes to stroke services in Kent. Whilst we all want everything, everywhere, increasing specialisation of medical procedures means that centres of excellence will increasingly emerge with better outcomes at the heart of any change. I prefer to keep an open mind on these matters during the consultation period. I may be wrong, but I am fairly sure that clinical professionals know more about stroke services than Momentum activists.