MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

This week I was pleased to hear that Virgin Trains has had its direct service from London to Blackpool approved by the Office of Rail Regulation. Blackpool has been campaigning for a rail link to London ever since the last direct service to the capital was scrapped in May 2003.

When the new service to Blackpool was announced in June I campaigned hard to both the Department of Transport and Virgin Trains for stops in rural Fylde to be introduced.

With many constituents frequently travelling to London I was extremely pleased that stops at Kirkham and Wesham and Poulton-Le Fylde will be included on the route, providing rural Fylde with a vital direct link to London.

With this improved access to the capital, it is my hope that there will also be greater business opportunities to help deliver local economic growth in Fylde.

Last week I was delighted that after a surge in the Yes campaign the Better Together campaign was able to prevail decisively in the Scottish Referendum. As a member of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee this has been an issue I have and will continue to be extremely active in.

Although this referendum returned a No vote, it has begun a constitutional shake-up that will change politics in the UK for generations to come. With a promised timetable on handing more powers over tax, spending and welfare to Scotland, the issue of the West Lothian question has come to the forefront of politics.

It seems only just and fair that as Scotland receives greater say over its own issues, that the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland should be afforded the same right in tandem with Scotland.

I am therefore pleased that the Prime Minister has asked Commons leader William Hague MP to draw up plans to restrict votes on English matters to English MPs, and promised a more wide-ranging shake-up of the constitution.

Finally, with Fylde having such fantastic golfing history, I just want to wish the European Team the best of luck when they face the USA Team in the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles this weekend.

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