Parliament rose for the summer recess last Thursday and as usual it was accompanied by the usual hackneyed media claims that MPs are off on their long summer hols and won’t be back until September. If only my 90,000 constituents were all able to go away for the next 6 weeks and not need the services of their MP there may be some truth in this.
As it is recesses are a time for MPs to catch up on activities and visits in their constituencies which we often can’t get to when Parliament is sitting, and we are tied to Westminster for votes. In any case I am not planning to go away for August and with the exception of taking Monday off to celebrate my 30th wedding anniversary with my long-suffering wife it will be work as normal.
This week my office is continuing to deal with a lot of constituents worried that they will not get their passports in time to go away, and I am glad that we have a very high success rate in rescuing people’s summer holidays at the last minute. Another seasonal hazard has been a spate of unauthorised encampments in Adur, and I have been spending a lot of time with police and local councillors to try to minimise the disruption and often intimidation to residents.
Last month new powers came in under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act so that police can take more decisive action to tackle unauthorised encampments when they are causing environmental damage or distress to the community – not just the landowner. Police will now be able to ban trespassers from returning to a patch of land for a year, rather than just three months. The position in law is now very clear – trespassers must move their vehicles when asked to do so, or face jail time and a hefty fine. I have included full details of the law change in my latest newsletter.
Later this week I will be attending a conference on UK foreign policy and Ukraine at Wilton Park as well as visits to Worthing Football Club, Brighton Hospital and to discuss the New Monks Farm site with IKEA. On Friday I am particularly looking forward to opening the World Croquet Championships as the international event returns to our very own Southwick Croquet Club. Then it’s back to Southwick on Saturday for a street surgery from 11am in Southwick Square. See you there, probably in shorts if the warm weather returns.