From ceremony to the constituency: what does the Queen’s Speech mean for Bury St Edmunds?

Having completed my first year in Parliament, this time I was able to thoroughly enjoy this year’s Queen’s Speech for its grandeur and its tradition, without the nerves of being a brand new Member. It was an honour to be a part of the proceedings and to enjoy the presence of Her Majesty, a feeling I am sure will never get old. However, more importantly, the Queen’s Speech itself carries the statement of business the next year. So what does the Queen’s Speech mean for Bury St Edmunds?

Broadband: connecting the county

Among the pomp and ceremony of last week’s State Opening of Parliament, my particular focus was on the announcements made in the Queen’s Speech. This annual event marks the start of a new parliamentary year in the calendar and announces what legislation the Government intends to bring forward for Royal Assent, in that time. The event outlines the priorities of the Government and gives MPs like myself, an idea of what to expect. One such announcement which sparked my interest, was around the delivery of rural broadband.

Accountability for the academies programme

One topic dominating our headlines has been education. Just last week, I visited the new site of Sybil Andrews Academy in Moreton Hall and met with local builders working hard to deliver the school for the new term. This week also saw 90% of all first choice school places allocated in Suffolk, an improvement on last year’s results. However, the national discussion has turned towards the Government’s proposal to convert all schools into academies.

Showcasing Suffolk at the West Suffolk Food Fair

This week, I had the pleasure of co-hosting a West Suffolk Food Fair in Parliament. As a Member of Parliament, you are always looking for ways to best support and promote your constituency. By hosting a food fair showcasing food and drink, home grown and produced in Suffolk, I want to show our London capital not only what is great about Suffolk, but why Suffolk produce should be considered amongst the best.

From Bills to Bury St Edmunds: the Enterprise Bill Committee

First, I would like to start by wishing all my constituents a belated Happy Easter. And while the political calendar rests for the period, I have a chance to reflect upon the busy schedules that dominate a sitting Parliament and legislators like myself. One such example is the work of Bill Committees whereby legislation is scrutinised line by line in order to deliver an effective Bill to be debated in the House. Most recently, I sat on the Enterprise Bill Committee.

Working for women: a week at the United Nations

Last week, I was granted the privilege of being selected as part of a British delegation, to attend the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW); the second biggest United Nations gathering in the calendar. This coveted event works to evaluate measures to promote democracy and gender equality, identify the challenges and set new global targets towards the advancement of women around the world.  

Delivering devolution: a plan for East Anglia

As this week draws to a close, a devolution deal for East Anglia is being finalised with the intention of delivering our very own ‘Eastern powerhouse’. In doing so, we have a once in a generation chance for Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire – three counties with similar economies and similar interests – to join together to deliver a joined up East Anglia and I for one, would like to see this happen.

Resourcing our forces for the future

Reflecting on my time in Parliament since May, one topic that has and will continue to dominate the agenda is defence; highlighted by the agreed air strikes in Syria and a vote on Trident due later this year.  Having recently visited our own RAF Honington, attentions are now turning towards the future of our security particularly since the release of the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) looking at the next decade of our defences.

Agriculture and the EU: what lies ahead?

With the debate surrounding our membership of the European Union (EU) well under way and having already declared my support for the renegotiations still taking place, it is about time we talk about the EU.