Herald column May 17th 2018

This week I found myself in court. Not on my own account I hasten to add but in support of Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan, the London couple who are challenging the Government to extend to all couples the right to a civil partnership and whose campaign came to a climax at the Supreme Court on Monday. My Civil Partnerships Private Members Bill will make this possible in law and hopefully the court will tell the Government this is an inequality which cannot be sustained anymore and supporting my Bill is the quickest way to achieve equal civil partnerships. There is more on my website at www.timloughton.com

Last week in Parliament as co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group to find justice for 1950’s women disproportionately hit by measures to equalise the state retirement age I announced the findings of our recent survey to find solutions to right this wrong. Peter Bottomley and other MPs across the political divide have championed this cause yet the Government remains resolute that they have done enough to help over the transition period. Given that potentially more than 3 million 1950’s born women have been affected and I have met many within my own constituency clearly this problem still needs to be resolved. We put forward several practical and affordable solutions which came from the women themselves and are now lobbying ministers to look at seriously. Again you can find more details on the WASPI section of my website.

After a busy street surgery on Saturday I linked up with the ‘No to IKEA’ protesters who walked from the New Monks Farm site in Lancing to protest at the inevitable added traffic congestion and air pollution that a store forecast to attract 2 million customers a year will bring. Whilst most people will accept some development on the site, particularly much needed new homes, such a car based retailer just kills the whole project stone dead. With other higher tech companies locally desperately looking for expansion space I fail to accept that we could not create a much more sustainable business park on the site with much needed higher skilled jobs. Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of IKEA and they are progressive and popular employers but this is just the wrong site.

Straight after the demonstration I entered a completely different world and was privileged to help celebrate the 97th birthday of the remarkable Shoreham legend that is Dinkie Flowers, the Queen of the Dance.’ Dance pupils past and present and many friends came along to the Shoreham Centre where she had started her dance classes 50 years ago when the centre opened and performed a special tribute in her honour – and she joined in although we had to stop her doing the splits! A remarkable lady.