Herald column July 19th 2018

Everyone else may be stressing about everything Brexit at Westminster but I am focussed on the crucial committee stages of my Private Member’s Bill on civil partnerships, marriage registration and stillbirths. It is a long drawn out process getting a PMB through, fraught with obstacles but hopefully next week I will be able to report on progress.

It was great to welcome not one but 3 sets of students from the constituency to Westminster in the last week. On Thursday I was delighted to host the West Sussex Youth Democracy Awards for the sixth time where those schools who have most engaged with the recent youth cabinet and UK Youth Parliament elections are recognised and awarded a rather nice chunk of glass. Almost 15,000 votes were cast and in the case of one of the 7 schools present the turnout was 100%. I am delighted that Shoreham College and Davison’s were amongst the winners.

A few days later a further 45 Davison’s girls were also treated to a tour of Parliament and mock debates before being subjected to a question and answer session with me whist it was good to welcome a similar group from Worthing High School earlier. It is always a pleasure to welcome groups from the constituency to visit Parliament and would encourage others interested to get on with it as we are all going to be moved out in a few years’ time whilst the place is gutted and restored. The Department of Health building which is likely to be the temporary home of the Commons doesn’t quite have the same allure as the Palace of Westminster!

Back in the constituency last weekend I really enjoyed my first, and Worthing’s first, Pride of which there is more elsewhere in the Herald and on social media. Suffice to say I had a lot of odd looks when I attended the RAF Cadets service of commemoration and thanksgiving for the Royal Air Force 100th birthday later that afternoon in the magnificent Lancing College Chapel, having failed to remove all my glitter! It was good to see the young cadets joining in the celebrations alongside a couple of veterans from WWII Hurricanes who regaled us with their extraordinary tales of courage. And particularly poignant in Lancing College Chapel where many of the seats have a brass plaque dedicated to pupils of the school who 100 years’ earlier went to war never to return.