Fortnightly Update #7 - 08.08.2016

Welcome to my seventh fortnightly update, designed to let you know what I am doing on your behalf. Parliament is currently in recess, but there is still much going on affecting Cheltenham.
If you’ve never visited Parliament, places are still available for my latest tour for Cheltenham residents on Monday 22 August (just £13, including coach travel!). For more information please urgently contact Hannah Wright on
I am also running my third student internship week (16-19 August) after successful courses in the last two years. There will be opportunities for students to try their hand at a mock parliamentary speech, have a go at debating in the Cheltenham Borough Council chamber, and learn about how Parliament works. Plus prizes! There are only a few places left, so please do encourage anyone who might be interested to send their applications to Ben Carlton on
Thank you for reading.
Best wishes,

Alex Chalk MP

Over The Last Two Weeks, Alex has:
  • Called on the local NHS Trust to review its decision to downgrade night-time A+E services at Cheltenham General Hospital following the news that the Gloucestershire NHS Hospitals Trust has been found to be in breach of its licence READ MORE HERE
  • Held talks with the Government's health watchdog, Monitor, regarding their investigation into the Gloucestershire NHS Hospitals Trust
  • Helped organize Cheltenham’s first ever ‘Provider Showcase’ in conjunction with Job Centre Plus to highlight the opportunities open to those people hoping to boost their job prospects or skills base READ MORE HERE
  • Welcomed 50 Lansdown residents to Parliament for a tour and Q+A session
  • Paid tribute to the bravery and spirit shown by Bournside students involved in the bus crash in France READ MORE HERE
  • Attended a special service at the URC on Salisbury Avenue to pray for the quick recovery of Bournside students in hospital in France
  • Received regular briefings from Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials regarding the condition of two Cheltenham pupils in question, who thankfully have now returned home
  • Launched the application process for his third annual internship week for Cheltenham students. READ MORE HERE
  • Launched a survey and campaign to improve mobile phone coverage in Leckhampton. READ MORE HERE
  • Visited key Cheltenham employer CF Roberts to meet staff, discuss their plans for the future and to listen to their suggestions about ways to improve the apprenticeship funding system. Alex has since submitted a Parliamentary Question to the Business Secretary, Greg Clark MP, asking for clarification in relation to an issue raised affecting local businesses
  • Spoke at a Remembering Srebrenica commemoration at Gloucester Guildhall, attended by Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire
  • Attended a consultation event (part) at the Fairview Cricket Club regarding the future of the Maple Leaf pub on Hewlett Road
  • Supported Cheltenham Senior Voice's Royal Birthday Party celebration at the Springbank Community Resource Centre
  • Hosted his first 'Pub Politics' session for local residents in St Mark’s at the Kings Arms on Gloucester Road. More to follow!
  • Supported the Oakley Family Fun day on Clyde Crescent with his family
  • Hosted an Information Event at the Mayflower restaurant on Clarence Street for Cheltenham businesses hoping to take part in a 'Cheltenham in Parliament' day in October to showcase the best of the town in Westminster
  • Met the founders of the Cheltenham-based One to One Maths initiative, to congratulate them on their success in delivering maths classes in prisons and discuss their plans to roll out their educational programme across the country
  • Addressed a gathering of Cheltenham residents at the Tivoli pub regarding the UK's future relationship with the EU and the implications of Brexit
  • Met local students taking part in the National Citizenship Service course at Gloucestershire College's Princess Elizabeth Way campus and took quesitons
  • Supported the opening of the new 'Sup and Chow' bar and restaurant on Bath Road
  • Been interviewed by BBC Radio Gloucestershire, BBC Points West and ITV News to discuss the efforts to return Bournside pupils home safely following their bus crash in France  
  • Appeared on Heart Radio, the Breeze, BBC Radio Gloucestershire and in the Echo to discuss the health watchdog, Monitor's, investigation into Gloucestershire's Hospital Trust
  • Written two columns for the Echo, as well as a special piece regarding Cheltenham General Hospital READ HERE

Parliament is currently in recess.
However, it is still possible to hold the Government to account during this period through the form of Written Questions. Alex has submitted the following questions to Ministers, many of which have arisen from constituency casework issues. Updates with the Government's response will be posted on his website:
To ask SoS for an estimate of the cost of uprating the student loan repayment threshold in line with earnings?
To ask SoS what action he has taken to encourage research into M.E, building on NICE’s strategy for M.E. research and similar work carried out by the Institute of Medicine in the US?
To ask SoS what consideration has been given to applying the target of spending 0.7% of GDP on international aid over a five-year term to help ensure value for money?
To ask SoS what discussions have taken place between the British and Iranian authorities to secure the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British citizen, currently detained in Iran?
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy:
To ask SoS when funding bands for apprenticeships starting post-April 2017 will be published?
To ask SoS what consideration has been given to removing the protection to sea gulls in urban areas, to enable local authorities to manage populations more effectively?
To ask SoS what consideration the Government has given to granting Local Authorities greater powers to resolve neighbourly disputes stemming from the reservation of parking spaces, using items such as traffic cones or refuse bins?
To ask SoS whether the Government has any plans to reassess eligibility criteria for bereavement benefits so that unmarried couples who have cohabited for many years are able to claim the same bereavement benefits as married couples and civil partners?
In addition, Alex has responded to hundreds of emails from constituents and attended a number of other meetings and events in Cheltenham. To view his written and oral contributions in Parliament from the whole year CLICK HERE.
Alex will be holding constituency surgeries in August and September for residents who wish to raise any issues with him. Appointments must be booked in advance by calling Hannah Wright on 01242 210473 or emailing

Launching the Cheltenham Provider Showcase, organised in conjunction with Job Centre Plus
With a couple of the Showcase exhibitors
Welcoming Lansdown residents to Parliament 
Meeting participants on the National Citizenship Service course at Glos Col
Meeting with John Sidwell, the founder of One to One Maths
A letter Alex received from the Polish ambassador following his contribution to a recent Parliamentary debate
Attending the Springbank Community Resource Centre to meet local residents and take part in a Q+A session
Supporting the excellent Oakley Fun Day on Clyde Crescent
Copyright © 2016 Alex Chalk MP, All rights reserved.

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