MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

The biggest news affecting many constituents in Fylde this week has been the announcement of a potential merger between BAE Systems and EADS.

I found out about this potential merger at the same time as everyone else and immediately set about finding out what it could mean for workers in Fylde.

Having met with ministers, BAE Systems management, and spoken with the trade unions, I am actively trying to promote dialogue between all parties, so that all our questions can be answered.

What I am adamant about, is that, should a merger go ahead, the headquarters of military air solutions must remain at the Warton site – the workforce here is far too valuable to risk losing.

I should say that EADS are already partners with BAE on the Typhoon, and perhaps this would provide an opportunity to capitalise on more export deals, something that I have long championed on behalf of the Warton workforce.

Also, EADS is perhaps best well known for their ownership of Airbus, and perhaps would provide an opportunity to recapture some of the civil aviation market here in Fylde.

I am proceeding with optimism, while working hard for the workers at BAE systems, who do so much for our community.

A more ongoing issue in Fylde is of course that of potential natural gas extraction.

This is an issue that I am consistently working hard on, and last week, was able to voice some Fylde residents’ concerns regarding regulation, in the form of a Prime Ministerial Question (PMQ).

Due to the ballot process, it is not often that MPs get a chance to ask a PMQ, and I was determined to use this opportunity to highlight to the Prime Minister some of the just concerns we have here in Fylde.

The Prime Minister assured me that any future extraction would be contingent on “stringent safety and environmental standards, follow deep consultation with local communities and fit within our overall energy commitments”.

This is something I have continued to press in Westminster Hall debates, and I will carry on doing so.

Finally, I could not write this column without paying tribute to the recent announcement regarding the victims of the Hillsborough disaster.

I was particularly moved by the actions taken at Goodison Park where the city stood united for the 96 – it was a very emotional scene and highlighted the very best of sport.

My thoughts are with all those who have campaigned with such grace to find out the truth surrounding this terrible disaster.

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