Fortnightly Update #18 - 30.1.17

Welcome to my latest update.

As I write this on Sunday evening, the headlines are dominated by Brexit and the latest Trump executive orders. In the interests of keeping this update a manageable length, these are not addressed  in detail here (although the articles in the 'Media' section below reflect further on Brexit).

I will however say this: it is a key role of any British government to protect the rights and freedoms of UK nationals at home and abroad. So I welcome the announcement that the Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary will now make representations to their opposite numbers in the US Government about any proposed travel ban and its implications for Britons. It is vitally important that the Government stands up for all Britons, regardless of race or religious belief.

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. I will respond substantively, if I may, under separate cover 

Over the last two weeks, Alex has:

  • Called in Parliament for government to make clear what the UK's status would be in the event that MPs decline to endorse the final Brexit deal Read more here
  • Held talks with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid MP, to press for more local government funding for Cheltenham within the Local Government Settlement
  • Spoke up in Parliament on behalf of the UK's higher education sector, and called for measures to ensure it remains attractive and accessible to foreign students - a key source of revenue
  • Met the Environment Minister, Dr Therese Coffey MP, to lobby for an Air Quality Grant for Cheltenham to reduce pollution locally and discuss ways to make our buses more environmentally friendly
  • Called for the UK's intelligence agencies, including GCHQ, to be able to continue their acclaimed work alongside EU intelligence agencies post-Brexit  Read more here
  • Praised local charity, St Vincent’s and St George’s, in the House of Commons for their work with local disabled people while welcoming the announcement of two new accessible 'Changing Places' toilets for Cheltenham  Read more here
  • Received a briefing from the Defence Secretary, Rt Hon Sir Michael Fallon MP, regarding the progress of the UK’s counter-Daesh campaign in Iraq and Syria
  • Supported child sponsorship charity ‘Compassion’ at their exhibition in Parliament, where Alex was named as of one of the top 20 MPs for advocating female rights 
  • Held talks with national mental health charities, Young Minds and Children’s Society, ahead of his planned parliamentary Inquiry into the impact of social media on young people’s mental health
  • As Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Pro Bono, hosted talks with senior parliamentarians concerning the Government‘s plans for courts modernisation and civil justice reform, public legal information and the forthcoming post-implementation review of the 2012/13 legal aid reforms
  • As Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cycling, hosted seminar on encouraging more children to take up cycling to live healthier lives
  • Met the Justice Minister, Sir Oliver Heald MP, together with Richard Graham MP to discuss plans for the modernisation of the Gloucestershire courts estate
  • Attended a briefing with Rear Admiral Alex Burton, Commander UK Maritime Forces, concerning the future of the Royal Navy
  • Hosted 50 constituents for a Q&A in Parliament
  • As part of an ongoing Justice Select Committee inquiry into the 'Implications of Brexit for the Crown Dependencies' took part in a three-day visit to the Channel Islands (Jersey and Guernsey)
  • Alex had several meetings, including with:
    • Chief Minister of Jersey
    • States Members
    • Representatives from finance, agriculture, fisheries sectors
    • Chief Minister of Guernsey
    • Lieutenant-Governor, Vice Admiral Sir Ian Corder KBE
    • Law officers - Attorney General and HM Procureur
  • You can read the media coverage of the visit HERE
  • Back in the UK, Alex quizzed witnesses as part of JSC inquiry into 'Governor Empowerment and Prison Performance'. The session focused on devolving power and autonomy to prison governors


Alex is vice-chair of 'f40', a group which represents England's lowest funded education authorities. It includes Gloucestershire. f40 currently has 41 member authorities representing 2,817,857 pupils (35.9% of the total in England) in 9,002 schools (41%).

  • Alex travelled to Stafford for key meeting with the f40 Fair Funding executive to consider response to Government's new National Schools Funding Formula
  • Interviewed on the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme and called for changes to be made to the proposed new education funding formula (Cheltenham gains 0.6% overall, but Alex argues that the distribution formula needs to be overhauled to make it fairer)


  • Welcomed the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson MP, to Cheltenham to meet local business and hear their views about Britain's future relationship with the EU
  • Called upon Cheltenham Borough Council to honour its commitment to end parking charges after 6pm, following the launch of a residents' parking survey READ MORE HERE
  • Commemorated National Holocaust Memorial Day at a poignant service in the council chamber of Cheltenham Borough Council
  • Met staff at the new head offices of the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom. They oversee the recognition and comparison of international qualifications and skills
  • Met representatives from the local Constabulary to discuss plans for a dedicated Gloucestershire Stalking Clinic
  • Met with the local arm of the Government's Broadband Delivery Project (BDUK) - Fastershire - in his office for an update on the latest procurement stage of the ''infill'' programme to assist residents living in ''e-poverty''. A full update to residents living in the affected areas will follow shortly
  • Attended a celebration and dedication at Bethesda Methodist Church 
  • Met the mother of local Balcarras pupil to discuss her campaign for 'deemed consent' for organ donation
  • Joined Hesters Way traders and the landlord of Coronation Square shops for a meeting to press for local improvements
  • Attended a lunch with the Cheltenham Trust to discuss its role in the town's future cultural offer
  • Welcomed Royal Mail's commitment to clean up Cheltenham's post boxes following his campaign  READ MORE HERE
  • Condemned the use of torture as a method of interrogation READ MORE HERE
  • Appeared in a Gloucestershire Echo article regarding his ten-hour shift with local emergency response police READ MORE HERE
  • Written two columns for the Gloucestershire Echo. You can read all of Alex's columns HERE

Alex has also submitted the following parliamentary questions to the Government. The answers will be published on his website when they are received:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health for an update on the work to identify the root causes of the rising costs of indemnity for NHS GPs, as identified in the NHS England/Department for Health document ‘GP Indemnity Review’ dated July 2016

To ask the Secretary of state what financial aid can be given to prospective postgraduate students from Northern Ireland, where postgraduate loans are not available, who have previously been living and studying in England but are not eligible for a loan from the Student Loans Company as they are deemed ‘not normally resident in this country’?

Alex will be holding a constituency surgeries in February ad March for residents who wish to raise any issues with him. Appointments can be booked in advance by calling 01242 210473 or emailing


Lobbying ministers for Government support to improve air quality in Cheltenham's with the Environment Minister, Therese Coffey MP 
 Welcomed Royal Mail's commitment to clean up Cheltenham's post boxes
Lobbying the Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid MP, for the best possible local government funding deal for Cheltenham
Discussing the Gloucestershire courts estate with the Justice Minister, Oliver Heald MP and Richard Graham MP
Visting the National Recognition Information Centre's new Cheltenham offices
Copyright © 2017 Alex Chalk MP, All rights reserved.

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