MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

There was a festive start to this week with the annual Christmas lights switch-ons in Ansdell and St Annes.
Some of the cast of Lowther Pavilion’s pantomime were on hand to throw the switch in Ansdell and it was good to see them supporting our local shops.
I am delighted the St Annes switch-on was also well attended on Saturday, but unfortunately could not be there.
I would ask everyone to make at least some of their Christmas purchases from our towns’ traders. It is vital for the future of our small businesses and high streets that they get as much business as possible in the crucial festive period.
It’s great to see the investment in lights and events that have been made to attract visitors and residents alike to our shops.
This week, the Drinking Water Inspectorate wrote back to me to say the investigation into the Cryptosporidium outbreak which affected so many of us last year is still ongoing, and they are unable to release information in case their investigation leads to a criminal prosecution.
But as your MP I am demanding information and I will continue to press the DWI to get answers to those questions for you.
In Parliament, I had a working lunch with the British Iraq All Party Parliamentary Group with visiting politicians from Iraq.
We talked about Mosul, and I pressed with them the fact they have to provide protection for minority groups, including Christians.
They have to improve the situation for religious minorities and they gave exactly that commitment.
Members of the Foreign Office were there to help and we will be checking the situation in the future. This was a follow-up meeting to my visit to Iraq to see the persecution religious minorities face in the country.
I also attended a Dogs Trust reception in Parliament to see the good work the charity does.
It is the UKs largest dog welfare charity and cares for approximately 17,000 dogs each year through its network of rehoming centres. Its aim is to ensure we reach a point where all dogs can enjoy a happy life, free from the threat of destruction.
Among its campaigns at present are the care of greyhounds, issues around the breeding and advertising of dogs, puppy smuggling and the ‘Big Scoop’ which urges dog walkers to pick up their pets’ mess – all campaigns I’m happy to support.

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