Sunday, 19 April 2015

Looking forward to 3 Hustings tomorrow - will be at Hexham QEHS first thing for a BBC radio Newcastle debate

Really welcome Chancellor's Lloyds decision to allow public to have shares + take control of the bailed out bank Lloyds

We are backing small businesses with NI changes and Help to Grow funding

We’re helping small businesses grow and create jobs.
A future Conservative government will back businesses with Help to Grow, a new scheme to plug a £1 billion gap in funding for small businesses – so they can get the investment they need to grow and create jobs.
Small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy. They provide vital services and create millions of jobs, helping hardworking families get on in life.
But many successful small businesses struggle to get the backing they need to expand. Help to Grow will plug this funding gap, helping up to 500 of our fastest-growing small firms every year – so businesses can grow and take on more people.
Labour hit businesses with higher taxes and more regulations, which put both businesses and jobs at risk.
But the Conservatives are committed to making Britain the best place in the world to start, run and grow a business – and Help to Grow is a key part of that.
Our long-term economic plan is backing businesses with lower taxes and better infrastructure – which is creating jobs and securing a better future for Britain.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

50,000 new jobs created in the North East

The Evening Chronicle reports "Official figures showed the number of people in work in the North East has risen to 1,185,000, up from 1,135,000 two years previously.
In the same period, the number of unemployed people in the region fell by 25,000 people, to 100,000."
The facts are clear, the Conservatives long term economic plan really is delivering jobs and growth for the North East.

Protecting our local NHS

On two occasions my life has been saved by the NHS - once when I had my brain tumour in 2011 and once when I was crushed by a horse at Stratford Races when I was a jockey. As a result I had 12 broken bones, a pneumothorax, a ripped kidney and had my spleen removed. As a result I am immuno compromised and need the annual Flu Jab - given to me here in the pic by Sarah, who works in the GP clinic at Haltwhistle.

I came into politics because of my passion for the NHS, and have campaigned for NHS services for over 20 years. 

Over the past 5 years as your MP I have tried to do all I can to support local NHS services and will continue to do so if relected: I have helped lead successful campaigns to keep Maternity services stay at Hexham Hospital, and to protect A+E services at the Hospital.
After many years of supporting the project and after £4.6million investment, a brand new NHS hospital for West Tynedale has finally been built. I was there in Haltwhistle in March at the opening.  
I also led the campaign to scrap VAT on Air Ambulance, which will now save the Great North Air Ambulance £24,000 every single year, the cost of 10 life saving missions.
I have been been and will always continue to be a real champion of our NHS, and welcome the commitment my party leader has given to increase NHS funding if relected:

Ed Miliband is clearly going to do a deal with Alex Salmond to get to Number 10

Labour are still facing a wipe-out in Scotland -meaning a deal with the SNP is Ed Miliband’s only route to power. Again and again, Ed Miliband refuses to rule out this possibility.
He is so weak, everyone knows he would be in Alex Salmond’s pocket - with Scotland first before everyone else... and we will pay with higher taxes, more spending, more debt and weaker defences in uncertain times.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Haltwhistle walking festival starts soon and there are still places available on their many walks

Greece will leave the Euro - it is a matter of when not if, as their government will not take tough decisions

In 2010 the UK had a debt comparable to Greece's at the time. We have turned our country around by tough decisions and sticking to a long term economic plan. I am afraid the same cannot be said of Greece. They have been bailed out by other Euro zone countries [not including the UK, as the Chancellor took us out of the Euro bail out zone] on a repeat basis. But they refuse to cut their costs. The maths are simple. If you repeatedly spend more than you have, and have no plans for alternative income or the ability to get yet more borrowing then you will go bust. Greece is literally running out of money and refuses to take any action. It's exit is a certainty in my view.

Could Kielder Forest see the reintroduction of a big cat - the return of a Lynx? Read the Journal report

Cutting taxes to reward hard work

While Labour and the Lib Dems have confirmed they will raise taxes, we’re committed to cutting income tax and rewarding hard work.
Income tax cuts are a key part of our long-term economic plan – to help taxpayers keep more of their hard-earned money and be more financially secure.
In this Parliament, we’ve halved the deficit as a percentage of GDP and cut taxes at the same time – proving that tax cuts and a stronger economy can go hand in hand. In the next Parliament, we’ll do the same – with our five commitments to reward hard work:
  • Ensure that those who can afford it pay the most in tax, and continue to crack down on tax avoidance and tax evasion
  • Cut income tax for 30 million people and take everyone who earns less than £12,500 out of income tax altogether
  • Back aspiration by raising the 40p tax threshold – so that no one earning less than £50,000 pays it
  • Deliver tax free childcare and a tax cut for married couples – to help families get on in life
  • Keep taxes low for working people and their families by continuing to cut the deficit and live within our means

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Corbridge Memory Cafe today - Corbridge is a leading dementia friendly community

It was a privilege to chat today with Parish Councillor Melvyn Stone, and several of his helpers, who are doing so much for so many as volunteers. I trained with Melvyn earlier in the year to be come a dementia friend:
For people with dementia, memory problems or who want more information or just a nice cuppa with good people the Memory Cafe in Corbridge Parish Hall every 3rd Thursday in the month is another way local people are ensuring that dementia can be addressed. I have nothing but admiration for everything that Melvyn and his team are doing. If you wish to support the Memory Cafe then all contributions and assistance would I know be welcomed.

Local lad David Skelton writes on why the Conservatives are now the party of working people

Helping more first time buyers onto the property ladder

More than 300,000 people took their first step on the property ladder in 2014.
Official figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders show that there were more first-time buyers last year than any year since 2007. (Source: CML, 22 Jan 2015)
Our long-term economic plan is helping people achieve the dream of owning their own home by:
  • Introducing Help to Buy, which has already helped over 73,000 families – the vast majority first-time buyers – own their own home
  • Building more homes – housebuilding is at its highest since 2007 and planning permission was granted for 240,000 new homes in the year to September 2014
  • Reducing the deficit – so we safeguard the economy for the long term and keep mortgage rates low
When they were last in power, Labour wrecked the economy and getting on the housing ladder became nothing more than a pipe dream for thousands of hardworking taxpayers.
But by building a stronger economy and helping people buy their own home, our plan is backing hardworking families across the country – and securing a better future for Britain.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

River Tyne beautiful tonight after a long day

Long day with Hexham meetings, Prudhoe all afternoon and side trips to Horsley, Dalton and Fenwick. Finished with a pint of Nell's Best at The Boathouse in Wylam, where I took this picture of the River Tyne, as the sun went down.

Broadband rollout continues as Corbridge now has access to high speed fibre broadband

After a long campaign the final cabinets are now live in Corbridge, meaning the whole village now has access to high speed fibre broadband.  
This is good news for businesses and local people. 
Properties closest to the cabinets can benefit from download speeds of 80 Mbps and upload speeds of 20 Mbps and, as the technology uses the existing copper connections between the cabinet and the properties, these speeds will reduce over distance from the cabinet. This unfortunately means some of the communities outside the village cannot yet benefit from the improved services, but we are working to extend the coverage with additional funding. 

NB: It is important to note however that the improved speeds do not happen automatically and if residents or businesses do not upgrade to a fibre based broadband service they will see no improvements. Services are available from a range of internet providers including BT, Plusnet, TalkTalk, O2, EE and others, and our feedback is that many people have been able to upgrade at no extra cost, or in some cases actually saved money on the monthly payments. We have a comparison tool on our website ( which allows people to enter their postcode and phone number to see which deals are currently available – alternatively many people choose to just contact their existing provider to upgrade.
I am acutely conscious that some villages and isolated rural communities are yet to receive their broadband upgrade. This is a massive job, at high cost, but we are getting there: my latest blog in march gives you more details of when and how this is happening:

Giving people more security in retirement

We’re giving people more security in retirement.
As part of our long-term economic plan, we’re extending the 65-plus pensioner bond scheme by three months – helping pensioners boost their savings with market-leading rates.
Labour left the country in the deepest recession since the war, with many pensioners seeing their incomes fall as a result of the low interest rates pursued to support the economy during this difficult period.
But with our 65-plus bond, Britain is helping pensioners out in return. The bond is already the most successful savings product in our history, and now over a million pensioners will have the opportunity to benefit.
We’re also backing our pensioners by:
  • Raising the state pension by £800 since 2010 – our triple lock ensures that pensions rise every year in line with wages, prices or by 2.5%; whichever is highest
  • Committing to keep the triple lock for the next Parliament
  • Abolishing Labour’s 10p tax on savings – so pensioners keep more of their hard-earned money
Our plan is supporting people who do the right thing. The 65-plus bond is the latest example of that, giving pensioners the opportunity to get more from their savings – so they’re more financially secure in retirement.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Hustings dates - further debates between all 5 candidates at the General Election

Saturday 18th April Hexham QE High School – 2.30pm. Run by Northumbrians for Peace & sponsored by Hexham Quakers. I have been asked to correct the original posting. I was originally told that this was to be a joint event with the Hexham Abbey, but I am now told this is not the case. It is chaired by George Hepburn. Open to all. If you want to ask a question come along at 2 and a committee will assess the suitability of the question you wish to ask.

Monday 20th April

19.00 - Prudhoe Hustings - St Mary Magdalene’s Church, Prudhoe. Run by the local  church, and hosted by Rev Charles Hope. Open to all

Friday 24th April 19.30 - Ponteland Hustings, United Reform Church, Broadway, Darras Hall. Also run by the local Church. Open to all

In addition, there are multiple other debates including 2 school debates:

9am to 10am - QEHS School Hustings 2015 [pupils, and BBC Radio Newcastle only]

13.30 – Prudhoe CHS School Hustings [pupils only] at the Fuse Media Studies Centre

I am doing a large number of other events, debates and hustings both in the constituency, and in the wider North East, including a BBC TV Debate, and on other media outlets.

Helping getting people into work

We’re fixing Britain’s welfare system and helping young people get on in life.
Under Labour, youth unemployment rose by over 40% and young people across the country were left on welfare, without the opportunities to get a job and succeed in life.
But we’re changing that. A future Conservative government will require 18-21-year-olds who haven’t been in employment, training or education for six months to do 30 hours of community work a week as soon as they start claiming benefits.
As part of our long-term economic plan, we’re fixing the welfare system. That’s not just saving Britain money, but also rewarding work, changing lives and giving everyone the chance of a better future.
We’ve already created 2 million apprenticeships and are committed to delivering 3 million more – giving young people the skills they need to learn a trade and reach their potential. But we want to go further and effectively abolish long-term young unemployment.
That’s why we will require unemployed 18-21 year olds to do daily community work, as well as look for a job. That will give young people the work experience they need, and the order and discipline of turning up for work every day.
Welfare is not a one-way street. Yes, we will support young people – but the something-for-nothing benefits culture of Labour is over. That will help young people stand on their own two feet, so they can move off welfare and into work – securing a better future for themselves and for Britain.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Labour MP Liam Byrne's infamous April 2010 letter states why we cannot trust our economy / future with Labour

Support for the NHS as Conservatives pledge an extra £8bn a year for NHS

Simon Stevens is in charge of the NHS and he set out what he wanted - an extra £8Billion increase in spending to protect our precious NHS; this has now been promised by the Conservatives, with a guarantee of an £8bn increase in spending per year above inflation by 2020. However, you can only do this if you have a strong economy,  a long term economic plan and a strategy. There will be other choices to be made on other departments.

The Chancellor has said "I can confirm that in the Conservative manifesto we will commit to a minimum real-terms increase in NHS funding of £8bn in the next five years.

That is a minimum of £8bn over and above the £2bn down payment that I announced in the autumn statement last year. We’ve funded the NHS through the last five years; today we commit to fund it for the next five years.

We can make this commitment because we’ve got the track record and a plan to grow our economy. New figures, confirmed by the Treasury, show that in the five years from 2010-11 to 2015-16 we are set to deliver a real-terms increase of £7.3bn. And we have done that at the same time as halving the deficit as a share of GDP and cutting income tax for 26 million people. In the next parliament we will continue with the same balanced approach."

You can read George Osbornes full article here:

Helping our friends in Stockton

This weekend I was pleased to be able to lead a team of 20 volunteers from Hexham and Newcastle to help the excellent James Wharton in Stockton South.

The Conservative majority in Stockton South is just 332 and it will be close between James and his Labour opponent. James has been a hard working local MP for Stockton South and that really comes across on the doorstep. With less than 30 days the race will go down the wire, but I genuinely believe James' local popularity will see him through. 

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Securing a better future for our elderly

We’re building a Britain that offers everyone dignity and security in retirement.
If you’ve worked hard during your life, saved, paid your taxes and done the right thing, you deserve dignity and security when you retire.
It’s a key part of our long-term economic plan and it’s about the type of country we want to build: one where if you put in, you get out. And no one has put in as much as our elderly.
Our five commitments for dignity and security in retirement will:
  1. Reward those who have worked hard by continuing to increase the State Pension through the triple lock
  2. Reward saving by introducing a new single-tier pension
  3. Give people the freedom to invest and spend their pension however they like – and let them pass it on to loved ones tax-free
  4. Give everyone the help they deserve in later life by protecting pensioner benefits including the free bus pass, TV licence and winter fuel payment
  5. Ensure Britain has a strong economy, so we can protect the NHS and make sure no-one is forced to sell their home to pay for care. These commitments reward those who have worked hard and done the right thing – and will secure a better future for our elderly and for Britain.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

IFS and the truth about Living Standards

The most recent figures from the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the independent think tank, show that average household incomes are back to pre-recession levels. And with wages forecast to grow faster than inflation this year, experts expect living standards to rise further in 2015.
The IFS is also clear that income inequality is lower than in 2010, when Labour were last in power, and that pensioner poverty is at record low levels.
It’s another major milestone for the economy and shows that our long-term economic plan is working and ensuring families are more financially secure.
But the plan isn’t finished and, as the IFS warn, our economy is more vulnerable if we don’t deal with our debts.
Labour have no plan other than more spending, more borrowing and more debt. That would mean chaos for the economy – and hardworking families would pay the price with higher taxes, falling living standards and a less secure future.
We can’t put the progress we’ve made as a country at risk by abandoning the plan that’s got us this far.

Friday, 10 April 2015

North East England enjoyed biggest rise in living standards since start of the recession, study finds

"People in the North East have enjoyed the biggest rise in living standards since the start of the recession, according to a new study." reports today's Independent Newspaper.

The report highlights "The surprising findings suggest that the North-South divide which existed at the start of the downturn is no longer so clear cut.  

The 3.9 per cent rise in incomes in the North East since 2007-08 –worth £794 a year-- is due largely to jobs growth in the region. It will delight the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats as they try to answer Ed Miliband’s central election claim about a 'cost of living crisis'." 

Incomes in the North East were the lowest in Britain on the eve of the recession. But the region’s employment rate is now 2.9 per cent higher than before the downturn and it had a relatively shallow pay squeeze – 6.1 per cent between 2009 and 2014, lower than the UK-wide figure of 9.3 per cent."

You can read the full article here:

Sandstone Way opening - Northumberland's brilliant new cycle way: I will be cycling this with Ted this summer

The team who came along 2 weeks ago for the opening of the Sandstone Way have made the following video:

The Cycle Way is already transforming the local economies in Bellingham, Rothbury, Wooller and all places between Hexham and Berwick. In the summer I plan to cycle the route, time permitting with Ted, the original planner. Full credit to all the local groups who came together to make this happen, including the council, Northumberland national park, natural England and many others. A real team effort and further proof that Northumberland is the cycling capital of the UK. If I had to cite one group really supporting the Sandstone Way, amongst many, it would have to be the team at Cycle Pad:
The Journal report is here:

Labour in government will simply spend, and tax more

Since 2010 we’ve made great progress as a country, with the economy growing, wages now rising, and our national debt as a share of GDP forecast to fall in the coming year. But Labour would put that economic stability – and the livelihoods of millions of people – at risk.
Official analysis by the Treasury of Labour’s policy shows that a future Labour government would:
  1. Mean the national debt as a share of GDP rising again in 2016-17
  2. Borrow over £130 billion more in just four years
  3. Pay over £5 billion more in debt interest payments alone
  4. Burden every taxpayer in Britain with over £4,000 more borrowing
As these figures show, you can’t trust Labour on the economy. They have no plan other than more spending, more borrowing and more debt. That would wreck the economic turnaround; hardworking taxpayers would pay the price with higher taxes and less financial security.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

The Coalition government Help to Buy programme is transforming the Housing Market in the North East

Help to Buy, our policy to cut the cost of a deposit for a house, is helping tens of thousands of people buy their own home:
  1. Since 2013, over 88,000 people have purchased their own home with Help to Buy
  2. Over 80% of those are first-time buyers
  3. The average price of a Help to Buy home is £185,000, far below the national average – showing that the policy is helping those who need it most
  4. 94% of Help to Buy sales have been outside London – showing that it’s a policy that benefits the whole country
  5. Over half of Help to Buy homes have been new-builds – an encouraging sign that, with the economy growing, housebuilders have the confidence to build more homes
These strong figures follow our commitment to build 200,000 new Starter Homes for first-time buyers, and the news that enough public-sector land has been made available to build over 100,000 new homes in England. Humbles Wood in Prudhoe is a great example of this;
I have met couples there who have benefitted from this great government scheme. Help to Buy is working to provide great new homes to local people.
Our plan for housing is helping more people achieve their dream of owning their own home and giving security to hardworking families across the country.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Helping our friends in Berwick

Last weekend I was pleased to be able to lead a team of 20 from Hexham, Newcastle and all across our region to help our excellent Conservative Candidate for Berwick upon Tweed, Anne Marie Trevelyan.

Anne Marie is in a close battle with the Lib Dems, who have held the seat since 1973. She has been a dedicated and committed campaigner in her patch for the last 10 years. Anne Marie really would be a fantastic addition to Parliament fighting for Northumberland. With long serving Lib Dem MP Alan Beith standing down it really is all to play for!

Alex Salmond's price to prop up Ed Miliband - more borrowing, taxes and Scotland first before the UK

With Labour facing wipeout in Scotland, a deal with the SNP is Ed Miliband's only route into power.
Alex Salmond has named his price to prop up the weak Labour leader - and hardworking taxpayers would pay with higher taxes, more debt and weaker defences.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Monday, 6 April 2015

Since 2010 more businesses created, and more jobs created

Since 2010 there are 1.85 million more people with the security of a job and 760,000 more businesses - meaning a more secure future for hardworking people.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Fighting to protect our green belt

If there is one thing people know about me it is that I am a passionate supporter of our Greenbelt. 

founded the Greenbelt Protection Group in Parliament and I have passionately led the campaign against plans to build on the Greenbelt in our area, especially in Ponteland and Hexham.

Although the County Council is determined to push on with it's plans, myself and local campaigners are still trying to reduce the number of houses planned for our Greenbelt. 

The Iran foreign policy deal will make the world safer this Easter, and potentially for years to come

Iran holds the key to so much in the Middle East, and the successful agreement reached after months of negotiations is genuinely a very good step forward.

Full credit to all the diplomats and politicians on both sides including our Foreign Secretary, who has worked hand in glove with America's John Kerry, for ages to secure this deal. The deal lifts punitive sanctions and allows the reintegration of Iran back in to the world whilst at the same time preventing an escalation of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

President Obama has hailed the deal restricting Iran's nuclear programme as a "historic understanding" which, if implemented, will make the world safer. I support the efforts made, and the compromises that have to be reached to secure a better today and a far safer future.

The hope is that the improvement in Iran relations will now improve the prospects for deescalation of violence in the wider Middle East. If this happens it will be a genuine tipping point.

If you want to read more on this issue my speech and the full debate on this country, and the wider Middle Eastern issues, in the Commons late last year, is found here:

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Grand National Tips - Shutthefrontdoor a worthy favourite for AP but others are better odds

Somehow I have agreed to go campaigning during the big race this coming Saturday, but at race time I will be stopping and heading for a TV to watch. APs horse is a worthy favourite: an Irish National winner with a touch of class and a reasonable weight - and he has been set out for this race. Expect him to start a very hot favourite - both because he is the bet of the race - and because of the AP factor. The great man retires if he wins. For my money it is written in the stars, although you don't back a horse on the day at the odds this fellow will be. I have a bet at 10-1 each way from a while back, but I fear he will start at odds of around 3-1 on the day which is crazy odds for a race like the Grand National where anything can happen. There are 30 fences, some horses don't take to the place, and hot favourites have been knocked over or brought down in the past. My dad rode in the race in the 1960's and himself was brought down at Bechers second time round!

Each Way prospects to appeal on the day:
- Balthazar King will go very close: he was second in the 2014 Grand National and based on that performance you’d expect him to go close again. Raised a few pounds by the handicapper for the 2015 renewal that shouldn’t be a major concern for this smart chaser, who again has been prepared with this race in mind. Very likely to make the frame.
- The Druids Nephew; I always prefer horses with less than 11 stone on their back, who are progressive, and I like The Druids Nephew who fits the bill, at good odds; the Neil Mulholland trained eight year old was superb in winning at the Cheltenham Festival. Will go close with a clear round and worth an each way punt.

If you want an outsider at long odds: Dolatulo has an outside chance

We have delivered 2.2 million new apprenticeships - transforming our skills base

Since 2010, we've delivered 2.2 million new apprenticeships - helping young people get the best start in life. Last year, 690 local young people started an apprenticeship, up from 430 under Labour in 2009/10. 

Friday, 3 April 2015

Easter events in Northumberland - hiking, food, gardens, the stars, a beer festival, top quiz and barrel racing

A good walk - you could go to Hadrians Wall
But if you want 5 places to visit these would all make anyone's top spots:
- The Beach at Bamburgh - a great walk and a top castle
- Roman Vindolanda = our best Roman and historical site
- Kielder Water and Forest Park:
They win awards all the time!!
- Alnwick Castle and its magnificent Gardens
For spring flowers then I would probably pick Cragside:
-It is a stunning house with amazing engineering everywhere and beautiful gardens filled with 40 miles of walks, rare flowers and so much more. It is a special place.
Two gastropubs holding spcial events:
- The Battlesteads Inn has a new observatory. It is a brilliant pub and has gone to great efforts to make itself a destination in its own right. Here is the report by the Courant:
- The award winning Feathers Inn is showcasing so much this Easter that their festival runs for many days. If you have not been I urge you to go - it's won awards for its food and has a great community atmosphere:
There is a beer festival, and on sunday night Toby sets a mean quiz and it is a good night, and Monday sees the barrel racing.

And if you want to go to church then where better to go than Hexham Abbey:

1.9 million more people with the security of a pay packet

There are 1.9 million more people in work since 2010.
That’s 1.9 million more people with the security of a pay packet to provide for their families.

In our area unemployment is down by over 50% since it peaked under Labour.

Locally, unemployment doubled under Labour in the last parliament, up from 543 people unemployed in 2005, to a peak of 1175 unemployed in 2010. 
The number of Jobseeker's Allowance claimants in the Hexham constituency in Feb 2015 was 542, that is down 54% compared to it's peak under Labour. There is more to do, but that is 633 more local people in a job, taking home a pay packet each month, and being able to provide for their families.
Even pre-recession in January 2006 there were 628 people unemployed in the Hexham constituency, higher than the most recent figures.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Working together as a team

For me politics is a team game. You have to be able to work together to get the best for your local community. That is why I am so lucky to have the support of the fantastic group of people below. They are the Conservative County Councillors who represent local people in my patch from Haltwhistle and Halton Lea Gate in the West, to Stannington in the East, where we were yesterday afternoon. The fact those two communities are about 45 miles apart gives you idea of the scale of my constituency!

Councillors, of all party colours, and none, often work tirelessly for their local community, and often without the fanfare a General Election can create. I know I wouldn't have been able to have achieved half the things I did as the MP for the Hexham constituency without their hard work and support.
Between us we have also literally spoken to thousands upon thousands of local people - making sure we as a team are working on the issues that really matter.

Over the next few weeks, as they have done for the last few months, they will also be giving up their time, and shoe leather, to help me in the election. For that, I owe them a very big thank you. I am very proud to have their support. They are good people.

What a Labour / SNP deal would look like

A deal between Labour and the SNP - the only way Ed Miliband can get into power - would give Alex Salmond the veto over every Budget, every law, every vote.

Mr Salmond would, in his own words, 'call the tune'.

And ordinary families would pay the price with higher taxes, more debt and weaker defences.  I am a proud Unionist who fought hard to save the Union, but that doesn't mean Alex Salmond gets to play the tune.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

My campaign for re election to be your local MP

With less than 40 days to go until the General Election I have kicked off my campaign for re-election by signing a public pledge to fight a "clean and positive" campaign.

One of the most important issues for me is trying to restore voters’ trust and faith in politics. Politics must be about working together, delivering for our community, and standing up for our area.

As the 2015 General Election officially begins I have signed up to a Clean Campaign Pledge and asked my fellow candidates to the same. The pledge will give the people of Tynedale a clear personal commitment from all candidates that we will act responsibly and fairly during the forthcoming campaign.

I have committed to running a positive campaign based on my record as Tynedale's local MP over the past 5 years. Hand on heart, I can say it has made me immensely proud to serve for the past five years as your MP - and what a five years it has been!

A lot has changed for me over the last 5 years, not least surviving a brain tumour in spring 2011. There was a time that I really thought I would have to give up being the local MP. The NHS surgeon who saved my life warned me that the potential risks included paralysis down my right side and an inability to talk. On the day of the operation, May 5, 2011, I had been an MP for just one year. 

Thankfully the operation was a success, I am 100% recovered and I certainly haven’t lost the power to talk! The debt I owe to our NHS will remain with me forever.

There are people who say MPs shouldn’t get involved in local issues, that they should just stick to Westminster matters, and toe the party line. I couldn’t disagree more. In Parliament, I have been independent minded and I have tried my hardest to get stuck into local issues - campaigning to preserve our Greenbelt, fighting for rebuilds and fairer funding for our local schools, working on broadband improvements, lobbying for more jobs and helping to get transport infrastructure upgraded.

In 40 days time it will be time for local people to judge my record. It will be my name on the ballot paper. I am taking nothing for granted. If people think I haven’t been a good local MP, I do not expect or deserve your vote.

If however, local people think I have been a good local MP - I hope I can count on your support on May 7th.

It would be an honour for me if you felt able to support me in this election.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Campaign started by knocking on doors in Oakwood; Riding Mill and Hexham to follow

A spring morning in Oakwood took me back 5 years ago, when this picture was taken of me campaigning in the same village.
A very blustery morning saw sunshine, rain, gales and a spot of hail and snow for good measure. Good response on the doorstep! Soup and hot coffee in Corbridge have set me up for the afternoon in Riding Mill, and an evening in Hexham.

Berwick Action Day later this week - come along

Northumberland Conservative Councillors, activists and others will be travelling to help Anne Marie Trevelyan win the Berwick upon Tweed seat. I will be there.
Anne Marie is a brilliant campaigner, and we have had a great response when we have taken past trips. Pleased to be heading back en masse.  Full details on the Team Oppy site  

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