ARTICLES


  • Defending our democracy and supporting our farmers

    The Moorlander
    17 June 2019

    Last Thursday (6th June) I answered my first questions in the House as Leader of the House of Commons. I took the opportunity to stress the need to champion and protect our local high streets from retail crime which cost UK businesses £900million last year. Having spent time with businesses (plus charity shops) in my constituency who have been victims of vandalism and theft, I know the problem all too well.
     
    I also took the opportunity during the session to set out two personal objectives for my time as Leader of the House. The first is to defend our democracy against the misinformation and toxic abuse that has infiltrated politics largely as a result of social media. The second is to ensure my door is open to colleagues of every political persuasion. Perhaps the biggest surprise I had when I became an MP nine years ago was the realisation that many members of different political parties get on well and how the heated discussions that take place during PMQs are the exception and not the rule. Many colleagues work together very effectively in the pursuit of just causes and I believe that all members of the House want what is best for our country, we just have different ideas as to exactly what that is and how to achieve it.
     
    The past fortnight has seen the first ‘Farming Fortnight’ initiative from Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF) – an organisation devoted to delivering more sustainable food and farming. Between 3rd and 14th June many schools engaged with the initiative, with pupils learning more about the British food and farming industry which is worth £122billion to our economy and employs more than four million people. Few local issues have been more important to me as an MP than standing up for our farmers and, as we withdraw from the European Union, ensuring a good deal for the sector must be among the top priorities for whoever succeeds Theresa May. The future of British farming is linked to our efforts to combat climate change and preserve our environment and I support a greater emphasis being placed on the role farmers play in looking after our land, rivers, woodland and wildlife habitats when it comes to the funding they will receive from the UK Government after EU subsidies are ended. I held a very interesting meeting with local NFU members on this subject last month in Cheriton Bishop.
     
    Last week was also National Volunteers’ Week. I have spent time with around 300 local charities and voluntary organisations as an MP, providing help wherever I can. Whether someone is giving up their time to run a community coffee morning, coach youngsters at a sports club, serve customers in a charity shop or assist with a local litter pick, every hour spent volunteering for a good cause makes our communities even better places to live in.
     
    For more from Mel follow him on twitter @MelJStride or visit www.melstridemp.com.






CONTACT DETAILS: