MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

THE only running I get to do these days comes when I have to rush into Parliament from my office across the road.

So I was full of admiration for the competitors last Sunday as I had the honour of starting the Freckleton half-marathon.

Sponsored by BAE Systems and the Sweatshop in Wrea Green, the half-marathon is a tremendous, enduring display of community spirit and teamwork which I was proud to be a part of.

A day earlier a long week began with my regular constituency surgery.

The surgeries continue to be fascinating and really help me to understand the political views and practical problems that local people are facing day in, day out.

Patterns of regular complaints emerge like the need for more affordable housing and primary school places and I will, of course, be campaigning for improvements in these areas and the others that people raise.

Later that day I visited Pierpoint Addiction Treatment Centre on Clifton Drive North, St Annes, to meet staff and clients there and discover more about their work and views on how best to rehabilitate addicts.

Back in London this week one of the highlights was a tremendous event in Parliament for the charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer. It’s a very worthy cause which I was encouraged to be a part of by three excellent ladies from Fylde and I was honoured to be nominated for their Patsy Calton campaigner of the year award.

I also met with Virgin Trains to discuss their plans for the future of the West Coast Main Line, a direct rail link to the Fylde and their planned improvements to Preston Station.

In the Commons chamber, meanwhile, I spoke at Communities and Local Government Questions to ask the Secretary of State to keep up the pressure on councils to provide weekly bin collections – something I know a lot of people would welcome.

And finally I had a fascinating meeting with Sport England about Olympic legacy and their Protecting Playing Fields fund. I would ask anyone with concerns about the future of their local playing field to get in touch.

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