MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

Over the half term holiday, I visited British Armed Forces personnel in the Falklands.

I got a lift to the islands with the RAF, and had an overnight stop on Ascension Island on the way.

We stayed in the British Military complex at Mount Pleasant, some 40 miles from the capital, Port Stanley.

It was a great privilege to stay with the Armed Forces and to see how important the Typhoon, built by BAE Systems in Warton, is to the islands.

It is the centrepiece of the island’s defence.

While on the islands, I met a large number of serving personnel from the north west of England, and I understand in the near future, some of our soldiers from Weeton will be spending time on operational duties in the Falklands. I wish them well.

Back in the constituency, I was delighted to see an ‘outstanding’ rating for the Starr Hills care home in Ansdell.

The service was rated Outstanding for being caring and responsive, and Good for being safe, effective and well-led. It is a wonderful and thorough inspection report.

We are quick enough to criticise when care falls below the standard expected – we must also celebrate excellent inspection reports such as this.

The management and staff at Starr Hills should be rightly proud all their hard work and commitment to the care of others has paid off.

I congratulate them for their hard work, and am sure it will continue into the future for the residents of the home and their families.

I was dismayed this week to see Lancashire Police refuse to name a number of prisoners still on the run from Kirkham Open Prison.

One of the prisoners has been missing for some 17 years – more than three times his initial five-year sentence and no doubt many more times what he had left to serve when he absconded.

It matters not how long ago it was – he is still unlawfully at large.

We must make sure these people are caught. They could be working in the black economy to avoid detection – and that raises the prospect of potential criminal activities.

Some of those abscondees were serving time for crimes including robbery, possession of a firearm, conspiracy to supply class A drugs and assault. I hope they were only serving the last months of their sentence at Kirkham. I have written to the Prisons Minister to ask just that, and what action is being taken to find the missing prisoners.

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