The focus in Westminster continues to be on the Conservative Party’s leadership contest. With several rounds of voting now completed the field is narrowing and by the time this column goes to press we will most likely know who the final two candidates will be, those who will face the Conservative Party membership in a final selection vote.
I have had a lot of people speak to me and get in touch with me in recent weeks about the contest. Some are of the thinking The Prime Minister should be allowed to stand in the membership vote. I appreciate their views but believe the rules of the contest should not be changed. Because the Prime Minister resigned he is not eligible to stand and as a party we now look forward, rather than back. The remaining candidates will, over the coming weeks, have a chance to make their case to members up and down the country and we will have a new Prime Minister ready to take up the reins when Parliament returns from the summer recess.
While the contest goes on so does the business of Government. I was at the Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford on Friday, helping fly the flag for Fylde manufacturing with the amazing Typhoon team from BAE Systems. It was good to hear that the Government has real faith in the Typhoon programme and is ready to invest in a multi-billion pound upgrade to the fleet which will further enhance this tried and tested combat jet. The upgrade will support jobs, skills and investment at Warton and I very much hope lays the ground for further Typhoon orders from customers around the world.
At the weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Great Eccleston show, a fantastic opportunity to display the very best rural Fylde had to offer. The good weather was most welcome and it was lovely to see so many people out and about enjoying the exhibits, sampling the food and drink on offer and attending the many demonstrations. Rural tourism is a growing market for Fylde and events like the Great Eccleston Show are a great opportunity to show off what our smaller towns and villages have to offer. With some brilliant places to eat and drink and to stay I can really see Fylde’s countryside taking off as a destination, an offer to compliment, rather than rival, the seaside resorts people know so well.
The sunny weather has, of course, brought people flocking to the coast. Beach safety is important but keeping cool in the heat is equally vital. That is why, this week with exceptionally high temperatures, I have been encouraging people in Fylde to check in on vulnerable friends and neighbours, to ensure they have what they need and that they are staying well. If we learned one thing from the pandemic it was how we can work together and stick together as a community, something I hope we can continue to do, whatever the challenges we face. It is something we in Fylde do so well so please, continue to stay safe and look after others.