Fortnightly Update #11 - 5.10.16

Welcome to my latest fortnightly update (slightly later than usual owing to party conference).

I count myself as a moderate Conservative. And for thousands of people like me, Theresa May’s speech at the conference in Birmingham was hugely welcome.
Crucially she anchored the Conservative Party firmly in the centre ground of British politics, spelling out a steely resolve to stand up for the many, not the few. She clearly believes, like me, that there is so much more to life than individualism and self-interest. What matters most is the strength of our society around us, and the care we take of others. I was inspired by the powerful metaphor of British triathlete Alistair Brownlee sacrificing his chance of personal glory to help his collapsing brother over the finishing line.
Meanwhile, there's been plenty going on in Cheltenham of course. A key highlight has been the recent announcement of the new partnership between GCHQ and Wayra UK. This is excellent news for Cheltenham and paves the way for the launch of Cheltenham's 'cyber innovation centre' in early 2017. The CIC is a  key element in my digital vision for Cheltenham which I unveiled back in 2014, and will generate jobs and investment for our town in this vital and growing sector of the economy. 

Thank you for reading.

Best wishes,

Alex Chalk MP

PS. Please note that these fortnightly updates are only intended to be an overview. They deliberately do not go into detail on all the projects I'm working on for our town. If you want an in-depth update on my various campaigns (from education funding, to the Air Balloon roundabout, to broadband etc) please do get in touch.

Over The Last Two Weeks, Alex has:

  • Given a keynote speech to businesses at the Cheltenham Connect Business Day in Up Hatherley on 'The Cyber Vision for Cheltenham'
  • Held talks with the Chief Executive of the local NHS Trust and fellow Gloucestershire MPs, following the surprise announcement that it had fallen into deficit. READ MORE HERE
  • Met with Foreign Secretary, Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, at GCHQ
  • Led, in his capacity as co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cycling, a delegation to Manchester to review examples of best practice in urban cycling design
  • Warmly welcomed the announcement of a new partnership between GCHQ and Wayra UK, paving the way for Cheltenham's development as a cyber hub of the future, with the official launch of the town's Cyber Innovation Centre expected in early 2017. READ MORE HERE
  • Held discussions with local NHS leadership regarding Gloucestershire's upcoming Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP)
  • Held a constituency surgery
  • Met members of the Cheltenham's local 'Gingerbread' campaign group to plan next steps in a campaign to address hardship faced by single parents - from contact to maintenance issues
  • Welcomed the Government's commitment to greater capacity and better facilities on Cross-Country trains passing through Cheltenham. Called on Cheltenham rail commuters to let him know their views about the Cross Country service ahead of the planned timetable changes in 2017. READ MORE HERE
  • Secured a commitment from the County Council to fix damaged street railings across the town, building upon an earlier (successfully fulfilled) commitment last year. READ MORE HERE
  • Welcomed important progress in his long-running campaign to replace unsightly tarmac infills with work starting in the High Street READ MORE HERE
  • Supported the Echo's Heart of Gloucestershire awards. READ MORE HERE
  • Launched a 'Paint My Postbox' campaign to spruce up Cheltenham's untidiest pillar boxes. READ MORE HERE
  • Hailed progress in his campaign to end broadband blight in Cheltenham, with news that residents in Old Farm Drive had reached an agreement with BT Openreach to upgrade their cabinet (with residents in Grace Gardens looking set to also do so imminently) 
  • Visited local design firm, Rimano, in their new offices on Clarence Street
  • Held talks with representatives from St Mungo's charity about what more can be done to address homelessness in Cheltenham
  • Travelled to Gloucester to lobby the Chair of the Gloucestershire LEP in relation to (a) Cheltenham's cyber innovation centre infrastructure (b) cycle infrastructure in Gloucestershire and (c) to reiterate his concerns about the proposed A40 Bus Lane scheme
  • Met the Learning Disability Employment team from Gloucestershire County Council to discuss ways to build upon Cheltenham's first ever Disability Confident Fair and encourage more local employers to employ people with disabilities
  • Attended the service for the new Archdeacon of Cheltenham at St Peter's Church in Leckhampton
  • Met with the Chief Executive of the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and the Chair of the Gloucestershire Local Nature Partnership to discuss plans to protect the local environment in Cheltenham and beyond
  • Secured an assurance that John Lewis remain strongly committed to opening their new store in Cheltenham at the Beechwood Arcade as planned, following concerns about possible delays to the building work 
  • Celebrated the Harvest Festival with members of the local Polish community at St Thomas More church. READ MORE HERE
  • Visited Natwest's offices in Cheltenham to discuss financial support and advice available to local companies and entrepreneurs
  • Presented certificates to graduates at the National Citizenship Service ceremony at Pittville Pump Rooms
  • Welcomed HRH The Duchess of Gloucester to Cheltenham for the opening of St Vincent's and St George's new accommodation at Bradbury Gardens
  • Supported the 125th anniversary of the Everyman - attending a performance of 'The Dresser' 
  • Met with local businesses at the Coronation Square Traders Association meeting to discuss plans to improve the square for traders
  • Taken part in a walking tour through Cheltenham's High Street to support and celebrate Cheltenham's inaugural Beer Week
  • Supported runners at the Park Run in Pittville Park
  • Visited Cheltenham College to lead a Q&A session for the pupil scholars
  • Taken part in a cyber security conference at the University of Gloucestershire
  • Met representatives from the Montpellier Traders Association to discuss efforts to change illogical parking signage which confuses and deters shoppers
  • Attended the opening of the new Last Word in Art exhibition at the Wilson Museum
  • Held talks with members of the Gloucestershire Jewish Liberal Community 

Parliament has been in recess for the past two weeks to accommodate the various party conferences, but Alex has raised the following written parliamentary questions during that period:
  • To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether the Government is considering the introduction of a ‘floor’ level on the overall rate available through the Early Years National Funding Formula to ensure currently low funded authorities such as Gloucestershire do not lose out?
  • To ask the Secretary of State for Education what support will be available for local authorities to commission new nursery places should current providers withdraw or reduce their delivery of subsidised places?
  • To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether, as part of the EYNFF review, the Government will consider extending the transitional funding for maintained nurseries to include children’s centres providing early years education?
  • To ask the Sec of State what more can be done to require the manufacturers of sat-navs to ensure that HGVs are not inappropriately directed into narrow residential streets.
  • To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment the Government has made of the current regulatory framework for the use of disabled toilets?
  • To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps the Government has taken to tackle the misuse of disabled toilets?
  • To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps are being taken, in light of increasing recognition of the damaging impact social media can have on child and adolescent mental health, to help parents and teachers prepare primary age children for the pressures of the digital age.

Alex has also been given leave to introduce a Ten Minute Rule Motion in the House to extend the maximum sentencing for stalking on Wednesday 12thOct. Watch this space!
  • Written a column for the Echo regarding his cyber vision for Cheltenham. READ MORE HERE
  • Written a column for the Echo regarding the current state of the Labour Party. READ MORE HERE
  • Been interviewed on the Breeze about the Gloucestershire NHS Hospitals Trust's deficit and impending financial review 
  • Been interviewed by Heart Radio at the Conservative Party Conference


In his capacity as member of the influential Justice Select Committee, Alex addressed Rt Hon Lord Justice Treacy and members of the Sentencing Council about the need for more robust sentencing for stalking offences. The Council will be considering a draft Guideline on stalking later this year.


At the Conservative Party Conference, Alex spoke at a fringe event organised by Amnesty International entitled 'The Refugee Crisis: Have We Done Enough?' 

Alex will be holding a constituency surgery in October for residents who wish to raise any issues with him. Appointments can be booked in advance by calling Hannah Wright on 01242 210473 or emailing

Visiting Manchester with the APPG on Cycling
With the Beery Walking Tour at the Battledown Brewery
Welcoming HRH The Duchess of Gloucester to St Vincent and St George's new accommodation in Pittville
Celebrating the Harvest Festival with the Cheltenham Polish Tara
Supporting the installation of the new Archdeacon of Cheltenham in Leckhampton
Visiting Rimano's new offices on Clarence Street
Welcoming the start of work to replace unsightly tarmac infills on the High Street
Celebrating the 125th anniversary of the Everyman Theatre
Supporting runners at the Cheltenham Park Run
Visiting GCHQ with the Foreign Secretary
Supporting the ONE campaign to fight extreme poverty
Supporting Cheltenham's fabulous belly dancers in St Matthew's Church
Presenting the awards at the NCS Graduation Ceremony
What's on in Cheltenham
  • Cheltenham Jobs Fair - 7 October (9:30-1:30) at the Job Centre Plus
Copyright © 2016 Alex Chalk MP, All rights reserved.

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