MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

I congratulated the Prime Minister in the House of Commons this week after he pledged a £178bn investment in our national defences as part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review.

Over the next decade we will create two new strike brigades, forces of up to 5,000 personnel each, fully equipped to deploy rapidly and sustain themselves in the field as part of the review. We will also invest in nine maritime patrol aircraft to protect our nuclear deterrent, hunt down hostile submarines and enhance our maritime search and rescue.

This is an investment to protect our way of life, which has once again come under attack from fanatics. We are fortunate to have the finest armed forces, counter-terrorism police and security services in the world and we will equip them to defeat this terrorist threat and help keep us safe.

The Prime Minister met President Francois Hollande at the site of the recent atrocities in Paris on Monday and said the “world is coming together” to fight ISIL in Syria and a unanimous UN Security Council resolution, which pledged the international community to “redouble” action against ISIL, supports that position.

He said it was his firm conviction that the UK should join air strikes in Syria but the final decision would be made by MPs. The House has already voted to allow strikes against ISIL in Iraq and I know many of my colleagues agree that we should now extend that to take out the terrorists’ bases in Syria too.

However, defence is not the only thing we should be focussing on and I was delighted when the Prime Minister announced a new £150m investment in the UK’s first national Dementia Research Institute this week.

For far too long this terrible disease has been dismissed as a natural part of the ageing process when the truth is it is one of our biggest health challenges.

This Government has been clear that we want Britain to lead the way in tackling this disease. We have already taken great strides – since 2010 investment in research has doubled, hundreds of thousands of NHS and care staff have had specialist training and more than a million Dementia Friends have taken part in awareness sessions, including my own event in Fylde.

This institute is another great step and will allow us to bring together cutting edge research tools and expertise to defeat this disease once and for all.

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