Thursday, 28 July 2016

Summer Recess


Parliament has now dissolved for the summer recess. I am looking forward to taking the opportunity to spend more time in the constituency and catch up on some of the exciting projects in Cornwall. I am looking forward to meeting people around the constituency, and I have a packed and varied diary over the next few weeks.
Next week, I will be having a meeting to catch up on the Cornwall Devolution Deal. Cornwall has its own unique identity and being a peninsula at the end of the line, I have always said we should have more control over the way we configure key services.
Among the more unusual visits is one to Cornish Edible Insects at Carnkie. The company offers insect-based products for human consumption, and is a unique enterprise for the region. I am also looking forward to several “out and about” days in Mount Hawke, Portreath, Hayle and Constantine, where I meet as many local people and local groups as possible.
will also be catching up with young people who are taking part in the National Citizenship Service (NCS). NCS aims to bring together young people from a range of backgrounds, helping to break down social barriers and develop self-confidence. I have met groups participating in NCS previously, and it has always been clear to me just how beneficial the scheme is. I was working for David Cameron when he first came up with the idea over a decade ago and it is good to see the scheme growing.
I will also be catching up with local companies including Rodda’s, and visiting the Kresen Kernow Archive Centre at Redruth.  I am very proud of what has been achieved at the Archive Centre. Redruth is the most international of Cornish towns. Of the 8 million strong world-wide Cornish Diaspora, around a quarter can trace their roots back to Redruth. We exported mining expertise around the globe from Australia and South Africa to California, South America and Mexico. Redruth Town Council has shown tremendous enthusiasm for the archive project and credit should also go to both existing and former local councillors for their support.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Government reshuffle


I am delighted that I have been re-appointed as Minster of State for Farming, Food and the Marine Environment at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. I said during the EU referendum campaign that I hoped to be the first Farming Minister in over 40 years with the power to design a new national agriculture policy starting from first principles, so I am delighted to be offered this opportunity.
 
We have an enormous task ahead of us. I do think it is important now to bring the country together, put the campaign behind us and all work together to implement the collective will of the nation.  I am pleased that a government has now been formed, giving us the certainty to move forwards and put in place new agriculture, fisheries and environment policies.
 
Rather than having lawyers coming in to my ministerial office to tell me that nothing can be done because of EU law, instead my office can now become a vibrant hub of discussion with farmers, fishermen, scientists, ecologists and volunteers talking about how we can try new things and do better for our agriculture, fisheries and environment.
 
I want us to put in place a very close partnership with the EU based on friendship and cooperation and I want the UK to be a generous and outward looking country that is a good global citizen.  I will strive in the months ahead to ensure that we get our approach right.

Friday, 15 July 2016

Development


When it comes to development around our towns I have always been clear that we should prioritise building on brown field sites over green field sites.  The industrial legacy that we have around Camborne, Redruth and Hayle means that we have a large number of heritage buildings but many of them are falling down.  If we spend the time and effort getting things right, we can save these buildings and the unique features that make them special while providing new homes and employment for families who grew up in the area.

There are always complications to developing brown field sites with the extra costs of thinking about unique designs as well as the costs of remediation and land decontamination.  To make things more complicated still, we are never far from a mine shaft in this part of the world and that can add to the cost in unexpected ways.  But the prize is worth the extra effort.  Consider how the old Holman's site around Camborne Train Station has been transformed or how Heartlands in Pool has really started to take shape. Consider the transformation of Hayle Harbour and the major changes taking shape at the old derelict Redruth Brewery with the new archive project.  We have made great progress but there is further to go.

In recent weeks I have had meetings with several of the key developers who own remaining difficult sites at Tuckingmill, South Crofty and the old Avers garage site.  I want to get things moving at Tuckingmill.  I have also met local planners to ensure that the latest version of the Cornwall Council local plan will retain a strong preference for brownfield development in the existing footprint of our urban area.   We need to keep up the momentum and focus on solutions to these difficult, derelict sites so we can make Camborne, Redruth and Hayle the place of choice to live and set up a business in Cornwall. 

Monday, 11 July 2016

Leadership


I have never known a more turbulent time in politics.  Scarcely a day goes by without another resignation of some sort.  We are in the eye of the storm.  However, it will settle down in time and clarity will eventually prevail.  By the time you read this article the first two rounds of the Conservative leadership contest will have been completed.
 
I wish that David Cameron hadn’t resigned.  He did not need to in my view.  It was quite possible for him to put together a negotiating team to manage the outcome of the EU referendum while staying on to provide some continuity and to help with relations with other EU countries.  However, he didn't want to carry on so now we must calmly choose a new leader.

I worked for David Cameron for almost three years including during his own campaign for the Conservative leadership. From the very beginning I could see that he had the judgement and temperament to become a really great Prime Minister.  It has been fascinating to see him catapulted from an unknown MP twelve years ago to become leader of the party and then leader of our country.  I have seen him grow at each stage and as each challenge presented itself.  No one is born to be Prime Minister and there is no special training.  You have to learn it from trial and error on the job.  You either have the aptitude to do it, and manage to overcome obstacles and become stronger after each and every setback or, rather like Gordon Brown, the job overwhelms you and you get gradually eroded by it.

While David Cameron will be disappointed at the way things have ended, I think that history will judge him well. He took the helm in desperate times and steered the country back to economic recovery. He was the only Prime Minister I can think of who had the temperament to make coalition government really work for a full five years.  I am very sad to see him go but it has been a real privilege to have worked with him.