Local Councillor Info
ANDREA LEADSOM MP for South Northamptonshire
SNCA, 9 Prospect Court, Coutreenhall Road, Blisworth, Northants NN7 3DG Tel: 01604859721
Email: www.andrealeadsom.com or Andrea.firstname.lastname@example.org
Parish Council Report
I thought I would take this opportunity to share with you my thoughts on this last year. It has certainly been a very busy year, locally, nationally and internationally.
I think we were all amazed by the Arab Spring. First, we saw Tunisia over throw their Government, then Egypt and finally the brave Libyans achieved the end of Gadaffi's long years of dictatorship. Meanwhile there is still unrest in Egypt and the stories coming out of Syria are horrific. I said towards the beginning of last year that it is a dangerously fine line that foreign governments must tread in their efforts to try to help other nations. We had to make that decision with regards to Libya, whether to impose a no fly zone and whether to help arm Libyan rebels. I believe that Parliament made the right decision to intervene in Libya and whilst the road ahead will be hard, I hope there are brighter days ahead for Libya and the other countries that are going through transition to greater democracy. Where Syria is concerned, we have no mandate from the international community to provide military support, but continue to work for peace there.
We witnessed the tragic Japanese Tsunami that caused so much devastation and disruption, the appalling terror attacks in Norway and we were shocked by the phone hacking scandal. We also experienced the disgraceful behaviour of rioters in our towns and cities last summer. The right to freedom of speech and the right to protest are extremely important and should be protected at all cost; however, what we witnessed on the streets of some of our major cities was nothing more than greed that spread fear and intimidation through the thuggery of a minority. I was pleased MPs of all parties robustly condemned the violence and destruction. Those who went out to riot would do well to learn a lesson from the citizens of the countries involved in the Arab Spring who have been fighting to regain their streets not destroy them.
However, 2011 also had some fabulous highlights: the Royal Wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in April caught the attention of around 2 billion people worldwide and was a fantastic day that highlighted exactly what is great about Britain. The extra bank holiday was also well received! I am sure Britain's opportunity to host the Olympics this summer will offer a boost to morale as well as to our economy. Last month I had the honour of being present in Westminster Hall as the Queen addressed Parliament on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee and a new stained glass window was unveiled in honour of her 60 years on the throne. It is truly a remarkable achievement and we all owe her gratitude for her long and distinguished service to our country.
A key issue which has dominated the news has been the European Union. Greece, Ireland and Portugal have received bailouts as the sovereign debt crisis continued to sweep across Europe and it is difficult to see how and when this crisis will end. It is very clear that we were right never to join the Euro and events suggest that whatever happens, we almost certainly never should. I believe now is the right time for us to negotiate a better deal with Europe, and I am leading a project in Parliament to define what that relationship should be.
My work on the Treasury Select Committee has been focussed on creating a better and stronger regulatory system for banks. I continue to press the Government to do more to ensure greater bank competition – availability of finance to business remains poor.
2011 has also been a busy year in Northamptonshire. My campaign against High Speed Rail continues even though the Government have announced its intention to go ahead with the project. I have established the HS2 Compensation and Mitigation Forum which will meet on a regular basis to discuss campaign ideas and share information. The Secretary of State for Transport, officials from HS2 Ltd and experts who have worked on similar projects will be invited to address the group to answer questions and offer advice. If this project is to go ahead I am determined constituents will receive fair and timely compensation.
I remain committed to Localism and making sure local residents have a say on how their communities look and feel. I hope the Localism Act will go a long way to achieving this but I am still working with the Government to iron out some strong concerns. I am also working closely with the Department for Energy and Climate Change to look at alternatives to meet our energy security needs other than onshore wind farms – I feel that there has been a shift in thinking and that these incredibly intrusive turbines are no longer as central to policy as under the previous government. Energy security is vital but it’s not clear onshore wind turbines can genuinely contribute to our long term security as they are extremely inefficient.
The Northamptonshire Parent Infant Project (NORPIP) has been launched this year and is growing fast. Work has already begun to help parents who are struggling to form a secure early bond with their new born babies. Prevention is much kinder than cure and early intervention is the ultimate in prevention. The first ever NORPIP carol concert at Magdalen College School in Brackley raised a staggering £1,800! I am also organising an early intervention conference on the 18 May with Rt. Hon. Iain Duncan Smith as the keynote speaker.
I attended some wonderful local events during the year including many school visits, trips to Museums including Sulgrave Manor and the new Towcester Museum as well as the Ironstone Railway Trust; I saw the soon to be restored Iron Trunk Aqueduct at Cosgrove, attended the opening of the fabulous new ‘Wing’ at Silverstone, met with many businesses and local charities, attended the Army Cadets Annual camp in Norfolk, the Wootton Walk in the Park, the Blakesley Show and the superb Remembrance Day Service at All Saints Church in Northampton, to name just a few highlights. I have enjoyed meeting lots of people out and about in the constituency as well as during the 12 advice surgeries and 12 drop in surgeries I held during the year at Towcester, Wootton and Brackley. I have also been delighted to host visits to Parliament from South Northamptonshire schools.
We have recently heard the Chancellor’s Budget statement. I know these are difficult times for many in our economy but I am confident that the Government is on the right course to lead us to better and more prosperous times. Now is the time to stick to our programme of cuts with reforms that will lead to a better and more competitive future for Britain in an ever more global world.
Residents of ... have an open invitation to join me for a coffee in Westminster if you should ever find yourself there! Also if I can be of any help with events in the community or if you have a personal issue you would like to discuss with me, please do contact me through my Westminster office on 020 7219 7149.
With best wishes