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Fortnightly Update #19 - 13.02.2017

Welcome to my latest Fortnightly Update. 

President Trump, Article 50, Speaker Bercow - global and national politics is certainly febrile at the moment.

But there is also plenty going on that directly affects us here in Cheltenham - a new school for the town, my campaign for new LINAC (radiotherapy) investment for CGH, the latest instalment in the Air Balloon saga (we'll get there eventually). The problem of urban gulls in Cheltenham even got a mention in Parliament. 

I hope this is helpful. 

Best wishes,


Alex Chalk MP

P.S. Please note that these fortnightly updates are intended to be no more than an overview. 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
P.P.S. Thank you to those who have written about Article 50/Brexit, Donald Trump, and Dubs. I will respond substantively, if I may, under separate cover 
 
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Over the last two weeks, Alex has:

IN PARLIAMENT 
  • Spoken out in Parliament about Article 50 WATCH HERE or  READ TRANSCRIPT HERE
  • Held further talks with the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling MP (following up November 2016 meeting) regarding the A417 Air Balloon scheme. Secured commitment to trigger formal consultation on the £250m roads scheme this year
  • Called in Parliament for students to be excluded from official immigration figures to reflect the importance of the higher education sector to the UK export economy READ MORE HERE
  • Held talks with the Schools Minister, Nick Gibb MP, together with fellow Gloucestershire MPs, to press for changes to the draft national funding formula for schools. (Cheltenham gains 0.6% overall, but Alex argues that the distribution formula needs changes to make it fairer)
  • Described President Trump's immigration executive order as ''wrong and divisive'' READ MORE HERE
  • Hailed end of the Iraq war probe into British soldiers, stating "We are a nation of laws, and we expect high standards from our troops. But wrecking lives without any credible evidence in support brings the legal process into disrepute"
  • Met the Regional Medical Director for NHS England to make the case for a new LINAC radiotherapy machine at Cheltenham Hospital (sought from the Government's £130 million fund) 
  • Marked World Cancer Day at a reception in Parliament READ MORE HERE
  • Called in Parliament for the international aid budget  to be used in the fight against the ivory trade and to protect endangered species READ MORE HERE
  • Spoke in a debate about the scourge of urban gulls, securing a commitment from the Environment Minister to organise a ''gull summit'' for local authorities to share best practice READ MORE HERE
  • Called for action to tackle the soaring costs to GPs of medico-legal insurance cover READ MORE HERE
  • Launched a parliamentary inquiry into the impact of social media upon adolescent mental health, recruiting national charities - the Children's Society and Young Minds - as the joint secretariat for the report
  • Met Cabinet Office Minister, Ben Gummer MP, and raised concerns about fragmented responsibility for UK cyber defence (Cabinet Office, MOD, FCO and DCMS all have a role)
  • Spoken in debate regarding funding of the Serious Fraud Office READ MORE HERE
  • Held talks with broadband minister, Matt Hancock MP, to press the Government's broadband delivery arm (BDUK) to speed up their decision on Fastershire's draft contract to use public money to deliver superfast broadband to Cheltenham areas missed out (following 2016 OMR) of commercial roll-out (for more detail see Broadband Update)
  • Supported the ADS Rocketry Challenge in Parliament to encourage more Cheltenham pupils to study STEM subjects
  • Met with French and Irish medical experts at Lyme Disease reception in Parliament on behalf of affected constituents to discuss latest developments in detection and treatment  
  • Scrutinised the Government’s proposed Public Services (Health) Regulations as a member of the Delegation Legislation Committee
  • Met the regional representative from the national nursing union (and Cheltenham resident) to discuss nurses' pay
  • Met police officers in Parliament to discuss whether 'spit hoods' should be standard-issue kit for response officers READ MORE HERE
  • Pressed the Immigration Minister to clarify the reasoning behind the Government's decision to end the Dubs child migrant scheme READ MORE HERE
  • Met campaigner, Marc Abraham, regarding campaign to abolish third party puppy sales
  • Supported 'Accessibility Showcase' of technical innovations targeted at helping people with disabilities 
  • Supported 'English Wine Reception' to back the UK's burgeoning wine industry

 

JUSTICE SELECT COMMITTEE NEWS
 

  • Held evidence session for inquiry into 'The implications of Brexit for the justice system'. Witnesses included:
    • Chairman of the Bar Council
    • President of the Law Society
    • Clifford Chance partner
    • Issues discussed included:
      • UK lawyers' right to practice in the EU
      • Legal professional privilege 
  • Held evidence session regarding consultation on soft-tissue claims. For write-up of cross-examination (described as 'forensic MPs [nailing] insurers') READ HERE


CYCLING ALL PARTY PARLIAMENTARY GROUP (APPG) NEWS
 

  • Held latest session of inquiry into "Cycling and the Justice System" (reported in the Evening Standard) READ MORE HERE
  • Chaired Q&A with Roads Minister, Andrew Jones MP, concerning cycling. Session attended by Sustrans, British Cycling and several other stakeholders


IN CHELTENHAM

  • Hailed success in campaign for a new all-through school in Cheltenham to address the shortage of school places in the town (this goal was set out in Alex's local manifesto in 2015) VIEW VIDEO UPDATE HERE
  • Met with senior figures at the Gloucestershire Clinicial Commission Group (CCG) to discuss Alex's four-point plan for healthcare in Cheltenham
  • Addressed over 50 local businesses at the Cheltenham BIG breakfast at Pittville Pump Room about his cyber vision for Cheltenham
  • Visited the offices of RE Resource Group to discuss implications of Brexit for recruitment market in Cheltenham
  • Joined inspirational Cheltenham mother, Natalia Spencer, and hundreds of pupils and parents from St James' Primary School for a circuit of the Park to mark the end of her round-Britain walk in memory of her daughter Elizabeth
  • Held an open community surgery at Morrisons in Up Hatherley/Warden Hill
  • Met representatives of 'Cheltenham Stronger in Europe' to discuss Brexit
  • Met the CEO of Active Gloucestershire to discuss promotion of more active lifestyles
  • Welcomed local Cheltenham author, John Martin, to his office. John has written a series of childrens' books about the adventures of Alfie and Frank (Alfie lives in Battledown Children's Home with Frank, his one-eyed teddy!)
  • Welcomed a delegation from the Cheltenham Green Party to his office to discuss topics including Brexit and President Trump 
  • Met Cheltenham hoteliers to discuss concerns about new permit parking arrangements in Pittville 
  • Held latest in a series of meetings with the Vice Chancellor of UGlos 
  • Hosted a constituency surgery in Henrietta Street
  • Been interviewed by two Cheltenham UGlos students regarding cycling
  • Met local campaign group CheltFems to discuss concerns regarding the 'transgender' debate
IN THE MEDIA
  • Interviewed by the Solicitors Journal about pro bono and public legal education amongst the legal community 
  • Interviewed by BBC Radio Gloucestershire regarding Article 50 and President Trump
  • Interviewed by Heart Radio regarding President Trump
  • Interviewed by the Breeze regarding his campaign to secure new cancer equipment at Cheltenham General
  • Interviewed by BBC Radio Glos regarding Lyme Disease 
  • Set out UK's clear and unequivocal opposition to the use of torture as a means of interrogation READ MORE HERE
  • Written two columns for the Gloucestershire Echo. You can read all of Alex's columns HERE
 
PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS

Alex has also submitted the following parliamentary questions to the Government:

  • To ask the Paymaster General what steps the Government takes to consult professional bodies in the IT industry before embarking on large scale IT projects to ensure best value for money? READ MORE HERE
  • To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what financial aid is available to prospective postgraduate students from Northern Ireland who have previously lived and studied in England but are not eligible for a loan from the Student Loans Company as they are classified as not normally resident in this country? READ MORE HERE

GROT SPOT UPDATE
  • Reported a number of graffiti-covered utility cabinets across Cheltenham, including those on Overton Park Road and Montpellier Parade
  • Lobbied the County Council to restart their tarmac-infill replacement programme on the High Street ASAP after weather-induced break over the winter period  
  • Welcomed the County Council's commitment to repaint worn lampposts in Montpellier as soon as the weather will allow 
Let me know you pet hate grot spot! We'll do what we can to get it fixed.
 
UPCOMING CONSTITUENCY SURGERIES

Alex will be holding a constituency surgeries in February and March for residents who wish to raise any issues with him. Appointments can be booked in advance by calling 01242 210473 or emailing alex.chalk.mp@parliament.uk

 

PHOTO GALLERY
Joining pupils from St James' Primary School to mark Natalia Spencer's astonishing round-Britain walk
Apologies for the hat. It's no defence, but it was snowing...
With members of Cheltenham For Europe
At 'Accessibility Showcase', hearing from Disability Minister, Penny Mordaunt MP
Conducting an inquiry into cycling and the justice system with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cycling
Lobbying the Transport Secretary about the earliest possible progress on the A417 Air Balloon scheme
Meeting pupils at the ADS Rocketry Challenge
Welcoming the resurfacing of Clarence Road. More please!
Meeting Lisa, the regional nursing representative, ahead of a debate in Parliament on nursing pay
Supporting World Cancer Day
Bethesda Church in Cheltenham, which celebrated hugely successful facility improvement project
Meeting Active Gloucestershire to discuss Cheltenham's activity levels
WHATS ON - EVENTS

Sunday 12th February: Monday 13th February:
  • Half Term Play Scheme at the Prince of Wales Stadium, Tommy Taylors Lane http://www.soglos.com/children-family/41655/February-half-term-play-scheme-in-Cheltenham
Tuesday 14th February: Wednesday 15th February: Thursday 16th February: Friday 17th February: Saturday 18th February: Sunday 19th February: Tuesday 21st February Friday 24th February: Saturday 11 March:
  • Cheltenham Symphony Orchestra at Cheltenham Town Hall www.cheltenhamsymphonyorchestra.info
Copyright © 2017 Alex Chalk MP, All rights reserved.


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