• Tackling Climate Change and Championing our Post Offices

    Mid Devon Advertiser
    24 June 2019

    The UK has an excellent record on reducing our carbon footprint (we have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 25% between 2010 and 2018 and last year renewable electricity generation provided 33% of the nation’s energy compared to 6% in 2009) but much more needs to be done if we are to properly protect our planet for future generations. I am therefore supporting the Government’s plan, announced this month, for the UK to become the first major economy in the world to legislate to end its contribution towards global warming by achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This is an ambitious target but the future of our planet is too important not to try. Critics say that the impact would be minimal if countries like the USA and China do not follow suit, but efforts to tackle global problems has always begun with a handful of countries leading the way.

    Before becoming an MP in 2010 I ran a three-year ‘Save Our Post Offices’ campaign in Central Devon in response to the Labour Government’s post office closure programme which resulted in the closure of 40% of UK branches between 1997 and 2010. The Conservatives halted the programme and since then branch numbers have remained steady at around 11,500. Central Devon has the third most post offices of the 650 constituencies in the UK and I was delighted to have an opportunity to support one of our branches this week when the sub postmaster of Ashburton Post Office Stuart Rogers travelled up to Westminster for the Countryside Alliance Awards. The branch was chosen as the South West winner in the Village Shop/Post Office category. You could not find a better example of a branch not only functioning as a viable business but going above and beyond to help the local community. I have been very pleased to support Stuart and his team over many years, for example organising Stuart to meet with the Post Office minister to discuss how the Government can better support the network. I have also lobbied for banks to do more when it comes to promoting the banking services available at local post offices when a local bank branch closes – an issue I have been particularly active on in Okehampton.

    This week I also welcomed pupils from Dunsford Community Academy to Westminster, talking to them about the role of MPs and my new position as Leader of the House of Commons. I have met with around 20 groups of pupils from my constituency during visits to Westminster and always enjoy helping to nurture an interest in politics in our young people.

    The contest for the leadership of the Conservative Party and our next Prime Minister concluded its first phase last week. I managed Michael Gove’s campaign and so was hugely disappointed that he failed to get through among our MPs by the agonisingly small margin of just
    two votes.

    For more from Mel follow him on twitter @MelJStride or visit