Crisis in the NHS

Exmouth JournalBack to Westminster and Ed Milliband couldn't have wished for a better backdrop to launch his election campaign. "A & E Crisis Worst for Ten Years" screamed paper headlines. The pressure on the NHS certainly does feel as if it has reached breaking point with at least 14 hospitals declaring major incidents and cancelling operations.

The Economy

Exmouth JournalWhat we call the "the regulated period" of the 2015 general election campaign has well and truly begun. I’m afraid from now on in there will be many duelling speeches from the PM and his opposite numbers. Last week we had David Cameron attacking Ed Milliband’s plans for the economy while Ed Milliband took to the seaside with a speech on immigration in which he committed his party to introducing jail terms for employers who exploit migrant workers.


Express & EchoLast week the NHS published the A&E weekly situation report which showed that A&E units across the UK are struggling to hit their waiting time target as winter hits. Despite this, it is important to remain positive with a changing situation in health. By the end of this Parliament, there will be a million more people aged over 65 – and that puts pressure on A&Es across the country, with over a million more visits a year than in 2010.

Immigration & Autumn Statement

Two big platform moments here at Westminster. The first was when the Prime Minister gave a speech on immigration and the EU. In it he stated that although immigration benefits Britain it needed to be controlled, and it needed to be fair.

Well Being Act

Exmouth JournalSeveral people have contacted me about the Wildlife Trusts and RSPB campaign to introduce a Nature and Wellbeing Act. The nub of the campaign is to push for a change in how we do things, so that we put nature at the heart of how decisions are made.

Westminster Round Up

Express & EchoParliament may be on an election footing but there is still much work to be done. Some more good news however came last week when the ONS published labour market statistics for the three months to September. As these strong jobs numbers show, our long-term economic plan is delivering for Britain – creating a stronger, healthier economy, and moving us closer towards our target of full employment.


Exmouth JournalLast week Iain Duncan Smith announced the introduction of the ‘family test’ – a new check to ensure policies support families and family life. The thinking lies in the belief that families are the foundations of society. We now know that strong and stable units can have a huge impact on improving the life chances of our children. So to build a stronger society and secure Britain’s future the belief is that we should support them, and the relationships on which they are built.

Ebola & Iraq

Express & EchoConference season over it was back to a full programme at Westminster. Of most concern was the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, already a global threat to public health. The Government is very keen to express its belief that the UK should remain at the forefront of responding to the epidemic.

Conference Season

Exmouth JournalLabour was first off this conference season with a gathering in Manchester which for the party faithful went from flat to funereal after an uninspiring speech from Ed Milliband. Even the commentators were exasperated by the lack of detail beyond the platitudes

English Votes

Express & EchoScotland had spoken and the result was clear. The Scottish people had decided to keep our country of four nations together. For those of us, like me, who first stood as a Unionist candidate in Greenock and Inverclyde before becoming MP for East Devon, we all breathed a huge sigh of relief.  It would have been devastating to see our United Kingdom come to an end.