My regular update - 18 March 2019

I’m going to simply abandon any attempt at Brexit analysis and what has happened in Parliament and what might be around the corner as even a live blog would likely be out of date in this fast-moving drama. There are lots of ‘motions’ coming and going. They are simply that: motions not legislation, but if they have value at all Parliament refused to endorse attempts by some to take over the Parliamentary agenda for their own anti-Brexit purposes, took ‘No deal’ off of the table, a profoundly stupid move in my view, and resoundingly rejected any thoughts of a second referendum by 443 to 85.

I prefer to concentrate more widely on local issues this week. I’ve visited a lot of schools in the constituency of late. Some as part of a ‘Litter Angels’ competition across all Thanet schools in conjunction with Sir Roger Gale for North Thanet, to the Newlands Lane lower school site of The Royal Harbour Academy to celebrate UK Science week, Chatham & Clarendon Grammar School and Worth Primary School for in-depth discussions with school Governors as to the pressures of budgets.

The key theme from the competitions and science topics was a concern about plastic litter. The world produces some 350 million tonnes of plastic each year, most of which is derived from oil-based manufacturing processes. 10 million tonnes finds its way annually into the oceans where it remains almost indestructible, or upon breaking down to smaller particles can accumulate in the food chain. I was fortunate enough, in the same week, to hear from Sir David Attenborough giving a presentation in Parliament on the same theme. It has to be a moral disgrace that for years we have exported our plastic waste to poorer countries; an out-of-sight, out-of-mind approach which has to stop. We, as consumers need to demand of our retailers a serious reduction in single-use plastic use particularly when packaging is simply used for aesthetic effect rather than for any other meaningful purpose. The valid theme from The Royal Harbour students was a demand for water refilling stations across Thanet to minimise single-use bottles.

We are uniquely placed with the excellent Discovery Park site on our doorstep, and Thanet as a country leader in renewable energy sites through wind, solar and bio-gas production to make East Kent a true hub of science and technology through the STEM formula. As a science graduate myself, I’ll always support academic learning across this spectrum which lead to high-level, well remunerated local jobs in an area in which the UK excels globally.

I shall be presenting a Parliamentary petition on behalf of Thanet residents on the proposal to move stroke services to Ashford as part of a Kent-wide plan for reconfiguration of services. This is one of the unique opportunities for MPs to raise issues at the highest level by using the opportunities of the floor of the House of Commons. Kent County Councillors have greater power than I on this matter however. They will be deciding on the 22nd whether the new services plan should be accepted or referred back to the Secretary of State for Health for analysis and review, but I will have done my bit on an issue which has concerned many residents.