Last week started with a busy Wednesday morning where I first joined Ben Houchen in launching the new flights from Teesside to Heathrow. Not everyone realises but Teesside Airport is predominately in the Sedgefield constituency. It was great to see this reintroduction as this now means we have excellent connectivity from here to the rest of the world via both Heathrow and Amsterdam allowing both business and leisure options.

I then went straight to Ferryhill where the local Councillors have started a petition supporting efforts to reopen Ferryhill Railway Station. I am also working with the Labour MP’s to the north of me in reworking an application to reinstate the Leamside Line which would significantly improve connections and rail capacity into Tyneside and Wearside.

After a couple of days away with Mrs H, I then joined Cleveland Bridge on the M42 where they were installing the first steel bridge on the HS2 project. This bridge has been fabricated from weathering steel (same as the Angel of the North) at their site in Darlington, which is within the Sedgefield constituency. It was then transported in 16 sections, the largest of which was 50 tonnes, before being assembled next to the junction to create a structure weighing 2,750 tonnes. This structure was then moved into place whilst I was there on Saturday, to see a man driving a bridge is a new experience for me! The important message for me from this is that when people ask what HS2 does for the North East, the answer is twofold, it is the increased capacity on our national rail network but additionally the jobs it supports for local industry.

Monday saw me back at Play Cafe, probably the last time for a while due to other commitments and then Westminster reopening. Tuesday has seen a number of constituents meeting me in our offices.

To give you a flavour of our emails for the week, we have the usual personal ones from constituents that we try to prioritise and then we have campaign emails that are from a coordinated source and are an identical email sent from numerous people, we will answer these but after the more personal ones. The greatest quantity of these this week were Newcastle United and Super Trawlers, I have supported both the need for more transparency from the Premier League and the need for us to increase control of our waters.

Stay safe, wash your hands,

cover your face and give people space.

Paul Howell, Member of Parliament for Sedgefield