Herald column November 22nd 2018

Summary of my email inbox over last few days: dump the PM and reject her Brexit plan; support the PM and her plan; vote for a ‘People’s Vote (because we didn’t trust the people the first time); ignore the referendum result and dump Brexit; honour the referendum result and just get on with delivering Brexit; we’ve been betrayed - you’re all rubbish.

I am sure I will be able to keep all my constituents happy – any suggestions anyone then answers on a postcard! For the time being I have recorded a short podcast on my website saying why I have a serious problem with the Brexit deal and cannot vote for it as it stands. Anyway by the time you read this things may have changed again.

Away from Brexit (is there an away from Brexit?) this week we are debating the Finance Bill in detail which resulted from the recent Budget. There were lots of good things in the Budget particularly for high street businesses who will now see a big reduction in business rates and many lower paid people who will be taken out of tax altogether but I am particularly pleased that the Government has seen sense and agreed to bring forward its measures to reduce the maximum stake on FOBT (fixed odds betting terminals.) Known as the ‘crack cocaine’ of gambling no good could come of allowing people to lose considerable amounts of money in record time in betting shops and they need to be reined in. I signed the amendment put down by Iain Duncan Smith and the Government has now agreed to act urgently.

I had a busy Friday starting with a meeting with the President of Mozambique where the UK has interesting trade prospects and ending with doing the Conga at the Adur & Worthing Business Awards at the Pavilion Theatre. Certainly Brexit does not appear to have dulled the capacity of our local businesses to let their hair down and have a good night out. Congratulations to Peter Webb of ETI and his team for putting on such a successful sell-out event really showcasing the range of exciting and growing businesses we have in Adur and Worthing – and their capacity for dancing and twirling napkins in tune to the music!

In-between all that there was quite a grilling from 400 students at Worthing High School for their inaugural Question Time event where I was invited to be on the panel along with Chief Inspector Miles Ockwell, Councillor Becky Cooper and of course the head himself, Pan Panayiotou. Well done to Pan for this initiative and the students for some really testing questions which certainly merited far more than the hour allotted and gave the lie to those who say young people are not interested in politics.