MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

Democracy is in full bloom at AKS Junior School – and I was there first-hand to see it.

I was delighted to be asked by teacher Mr Rice and headteacher Mr Walton to visit the children and talk about how Parliament works.

AKS is a member of Round Square, a group of some 168 schools worldwide which aim to inspire the younger generation. Its ideals are internationalism, democracy, environmentalism, adventure, leadership and service.

I spoke to the children about the Parliamentary process and they were eager to ask questions about the role of an MP.

I recently spoke on the same matter to children at St Joseph’s Primary School in Wesham who had visited Parliament, and earlier this year to children from Our Lady Star of the Sea.

There are more than a few aspiring politicians out there and I am delighted to see how many young people are interested in politics at such a young age.

I spoke this week in a debate on the aerospace industry to call for the Government to commit to a sixth generation fighter aircraft.

While I want to see everything possible done to secure more orders for the Eurofighter Typhoon, to help sustain more than 6,000 jobs in Warton, now is the time to give BAE Systems some long-term security and look to the aircraft’s successor.

It is absolutely critical that we keep our skills base by developing an aircraft of our own; by only buying into other projects, such as the American-led F-35, we risk losing the technology we lead the world in now.

We must have a commitment to design, develop and build a new aircraft of our own.

That commitment would help secure thousands of jobs. It would help keep us more secure. And it would help keep others secure around the world.

I make no apology for constantly referring to Warton’s highly-skilled workforce as the best in the world in their field – I want to keep it that way.

The Brexit bill continues in Parliament and there are some ridiculous stories doing the rounds.

This week we were told we voted that animals weren’t sentient, but nothing can be further from the truth. We simply decided that particular amendment to the bill was not right.

I am anti-hunting and an animal lover and know full well animals are sentient, and that sentience will be recognised in the correct manner, as mentioned in the debate but not reported by several news outlets.

None of these initial news reports even looked into the debate in which several Conservative MPs stated sentience was an absolute given. Not one MP, from any party, suggested sentience was in any way doubted.

We have higher standards in the UK than any other country in Europe when it comes to animal welfare and that will remain the case – and there are plenty more initiatives set to come.

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