This week has been remarkable, from the King’s Speech to nuclear submarines and Remembrance Services to the very sad news about the passing of Bill Cooksey.
As I am sure you will have heard Bill Cooksey, our remarkable 102-year-old veteran, sadly passed away last week. Bill was unbelievable in his achievements but even more so for his continual positive outlook. Walking 100 miles, cycling 1000 miles and completing the Great North Run were all amazing but his attitude of ‘what’s next’ was even more so. He was an inspiration to us all. RIP Bill.
On Monday, I visited Hardwick Primary School in Sedgefield before calling at the Cornforth Partnership. They are a fabulous organisation that do so much, not only in Cornforth, but throughout Durham including in Newton Aycliffe. On Tuesday it was the King’s Speech – I had the privilege of attending the speech and was seated in the Royal Gallery in the House of Lords. This is the gallery the procession passes through after the Robing Room on the way to The Lords Chamber where the speech takes place. I then met with the Chair of Bishop Middleham Parish Council who was visiting Westminster for a meeting. Later, Tuesday 7th November, I had a briefing dinner with Commodore David Eagles about the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.
On Wednesday I joined the Transport Committee to start our enquiry on HS2 and raised questions about how the Network North funds should be applied before then heading to a brief on our nuclear deterrent. This was in anticipation of the visit to His Majesty’s Naval Base, Clyde (HMNB) at Faslane on Thursday and Friday. This is where the UK nuclear deterrent is based and we had the opportunity to see the workings of the base and its importance. We were able to see inside HMS Ambush and to see a Vanguard class in dry dock. As always, on these visits, we see some amazing kit but some even more amazing people. On the train back from Faslane I joined the MP meeting with Durham County Council leadership.
This weekend was, of course, Remembrance weekend. I laid 25 wreaths over the weekend from Thornley to Hurworth and Bishopton to Middridge. Eight of these were laid by my representatives and I thank them for helping. I was able to attend services at Sedgefield, St Luke’s, on Saturday and Newton Aycliffe, St Clare’s and Aycliffe Village St Andrew’s on Sunday. The rest I laid individually as I travelled across the constituency.
Monday proved that politics is full of surprises and I warmly welcome David Cameron’s return to Government. David is a considered, experienced and wise choice to represent our country abroad during this turbulent time in geopolitics. I am also delighted to see my good friend, colleague and North East champion, Richard Holden, MP for North West Durham, become Conservative Party Chairman. A wise move which will surely cement our region’s influence at the top table.
In other news – this week sees the continuation of the King’s Speech debate, which concludes on Tuesday 14th November and I will have Transport Committee on Wednesday along with Department of Science Innovation and Technology (DSIT) Orals where I have a Question to the Secretary of State, the Rt Hon Michelle Donelan MP. I will then be back in the Constituency at the end of the week.
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