MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

This week I had the pleasure of attending an event at the Imperial Hotel in Blackpool which brought back good memories of my time as a representative at Conservative Party conferences in the resort.

Blackpool was a fantastic place to hold a conference back in the day and I remember listening to many famous speeches in the Winter Gardens and attending various side events at venues around the resort.

The thousands of people who attended always needed somewhere to stay and I know from many conversations I have had with local hoteliers that businesses down the road in Fylde certainly felt the positive impact of that.

I still believe that conferences belong in our seaside resorts, many of which have struggled economically in recent years and would welcome the return of such large-scale events, which provide a boost to the whole area.

While I know the main political parties have some concerns over the quality of conference facilities on offer in seaside resorts, I always espouse the virtues of Blackpool as a conference location when speaking to senior party figures on the subject.

This week, I attended a meeting at United Utilities’ headquarters in Warrington to meet the Chief Executive, Steve Mogford, and press him on timescales as to when we could expect to see the current boiled water notice affecting Fylde lifted.

Today marks four weeks since the notice was put in place and while many properties in the St Annes area have now been told they once again have wholesome water, much of Fylde is still under the drinking ban.

I hope that in the coming days we will see the notice lifted for the whole area and those affected appropriately compensated for the inconvenience this has caused.

While the investigation into this incident will be handled by the Drinking Water Inspectorate, I have now written to the chairman of the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs Select Committee to ask if its members will look into this matter to provide the appropriate Parliamentary oversight.

The announcement this week of a £500m investment in HM Naval Base Clyde demonstrates this Government’s commitment to defence and should be welcomed locally, where thousands of people are employed by BAE Systems.

That is why I supported the commitment in the last budget to meet the NATO recommendation to spend two per cent of our national income on defence every year of this decade, which will protect jobs in Fylde.

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