ARTICLES

Mel writes regularly for the Mid Devon Advertiser, Dawlish Gazette, Crediton Gazette, Crediton Courier, Okehampton Times, Herald Express and Express and Echo. Some of his articles appear below:-

Latest Articles

  • Mid Devon Advertiser
    31 Mar 2017

    Last Wednesday is a day I will not forget. One of my roles in Government is to ensure that we maintain our majority through what is known as ‘Pairing’. Basically, any Conservative MP who wishes to absent themselves from Parliament when there may be votes needs my permission to do so. I enter into private agreements with the opposition parties to ‘Pair’ so that for some of our MPs who will be aw.... Read more...


  • Mid Devon Advertiser
    17 Mar 2017

    Last week the House was packed to hear the Chancellor. The record for the longest budget speech belongs to Gladstone who in 1853 addressed the Commons for 4 hours 45 minutes sustained by eggs and sherry. The shortest speech belongs to Disraeli. Philip Hammond delivered his between modest sips of water, in 56 minutes. It was set against a background of Brexit and the deficit. Both require cautio.... Read more...


  • Mid Devon Advertiser
    10 Mar 2017

    In the South West one of the most pressing issues is affordable housing and one of the greatest pleasures I have had as a local MP has been to support and visit affordable housing schemes in the constituency. At the heart of rural communities in towns and villages such as Upton Pyne, Sandford, Buckfastleigh and Lapford I have seen first-hand the quality of local new affordable housing and have .... Read more...


  • Mid Devon Advertiser
    03 Mar 2017

    Last week I was busy focusing hard on two hugely important local issues – Education and Health. The new national funding formula for schools is currently out for consultation. The proposals see the majority of schools in our constituency receive increased funding but an important minority including our 3 secondary schools would see a reduction. So last week I had separate discussions with the H.... Read more...


  • Mid Devon Advertiser
    24 Feb 2017

    The NHS has never been out of the news. Not just under this government but of those of all colours and going right back to its inception. It has always been under pressure to keep up with the demands that all of us rightly make to treat those in need. Against a backdrop of the pressing necessity for controlling our public finances we have continued to increase funding for the NHS. More cash alo.... Read more...


  • Mid Devon Advertiser
    17 Feb 2017

    Last week I was out and about right across our vast constituency. In Christow I visited the local Primary School and met with Head of Teaching and Learning, Andrew Swainson and members of his excellent team. Christow Primary has made great progress since becoming part of a multi academy trust. Rated as ‘good’ by Ofsted, pupils at Christow are achieving above average in reading and maths at Key .... Read more...


  • Mid Devon Advertiser
    10 Feb 2017

    The most common question people have asked me since the UK voted to leave the EU is, “what will Brexit look like?” With the publication of the recent White Paper, the Prime Minister has given us a clear picture of the deal she will seek to strike. We will take control over immigration and this will mean leaving the Single Market – a step that means significant economic challenges. The big quest.... Read more...


  • Mid Devon Advertiser
    03 Feb 2017

    Education is one of the main reasons I entered politics. My parents left school at 15 and 14 – for me a free place at a grammar changed my life forever. We are very fortunate to have many fine schools in Devon. Given the sparse nature our county there are many of them and our constituency alone is home to 3 state secondary schools and 43 primaries. I spend a lot of time visiting local schools a.... Read more...


  • Mid Devon Advertiser
    27 Jan 2017

    Last week I was busy right across our vast constituency - one of the largest in the country and covering 125 parishes. In North Tawton, I officially opened the town’s new modernised Post Office. Following the retirement of former postmasters Nigel and Rosemary Davies, after 16 years of  outstanding and dedicated service, the branch is now operated by Andrew Bayley, who also runs the succes.... Read more...


  • Mid Devon Advertiser
    13 Jan 2017

    2017 will see key legislation going through Parliament that will directly affect Central Devon. The rollout of superfast broadband remains one of my top priorities in our constituency and the Government has already invested £1.7 billion in broadband nationally with 92% of homes and businesses now able to access superfast speeds - but in Central Devon where sparsity is a key challenge we are dow.... Read more...


  • Mid Devon Advertiser
    06 Jan 2017

    2016 has been a turbulent and unprecedented year for our country. While the Government has been working hard to fulfil its manifesto commitments: raising the tax-free personal allowance to £11,500 from this April (amounting to a tax cut for 31 million people); extending free childcare and sticking to sound economic policies that now see unemployment standing at an 11-year low, it is Brexit that.... Read more...


  • Mid Devon Advertiser
    30 Dec 2016

    I guess we’ve all done it – embraced a heap of New Year’s Resolutions only to let them clatter from our grasp sometime before January was out. This cycle of unrequited ambition follows, of course, in an old and venerable tradition. The Babylonians made promises to the Gods at the start of each year – that they would return that which they had borrowed and satisfy their debts – make peace with t.... Read more...






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