Articles

Referendum

Earlier this week, David Cameron published a draft bill that would legislate for an In-Out referendum on our membership of the European Union by 2017. He would have liked to include this bill in the Queen's Speech as a piece of government legislation but unfortunately the Liberal Democrats wouldn't allow it. Because we Conservatives are in coalition and do not have a majority of votes in the House of Commons, we can only do things as a government with Liberal Democrat support. But I am confident that a Conservative backbencher will take up the Prime Minister's draft bill and introduce it as a Private Member's Bill in the next session of Parliament.

St Wulfram's Church

Next weekend I will be joining lots of people from Grantham on a cycle ride to raise money for the repair of the wonderful spire of St Wulfram's. Because we are lucky enough to grow up and live our lives alongside extraordinary buildings like this, we often take them for granted - and forget how spectacular they are and what dizzying ambition they represent. Just imagine if, today in 2013, someone submitted a planning application for a stone building, 282 feet in height, to be constructed in the heart of our town.

Margaret Thatcher's Funeral

It was an great honour to sit among my fellow Members of Parliament representing the people of Grantham at the funeral of Margaret Thatcher this week. After the noisy debates of the week since her death, I am glad to say that the service at St Paul's was completely free of politics. Her family and friends came together with people who had worked with her closely and people, like me, who had admired her from afar, to pay respects and say thank you for the extraordinary life of an extraordinary woman.

The Budget

When times are tough and family budgets are being squeezed, the overriding priority of Conservatives in government is to help people who work hard and want to get on. This week, the Chancellor responded to the concerns of working people throughout the country: by cutting beer duty (and scrapping Labour's beer duty escalator), by cancelling the increase in the fuel duty that Labour had planned for September and by offering unprecedented help for working people who want to buy their own home but do not have enough money put by to pay for a 20% deposit.

Charles Read Academy

Last Friday, Lincolnshire County Council leader, Martin Hill, and I attended a public meeting in Corby Glen. It was packed full of parents concerned about the future of Charles Read Academy which has been threatened with closure in 2014 by the West Grantham Academies Trust. I understand better than ever the value parents place on Charles Read and the very personal education it is able to provide children, especially those with special needs.

Grantham Hospital

In the week when Robert Francis' report on the appalling catalogue of neglect at Stafford Hospital was published, the future of the National Health Service and our own much cherished hospital in Grantham are rightly at the front of people's minds. Twenty years ago Grantham Hospital suffered its own dark days at the brutal hands of Beverley Allitt - and it took a long time for it to recover from that awful episode.

In-Out Referendum

This week David Cameron announced that a Conservative Government will negotiate a better deal for Britain in Europe and then give the British people the final say on our membership of the European Union in an in-out referendum. The negotiation will begin in 2015, if the Conservative Party wins the election, and the in-out referendum will take place by 2017.

Wind Turbines

In the last few years, south Lincolnshire has seen a lot of wind turbines go up. The last government ducked all difficult decisions about Britain's energy supplies and left us dangerously reliant on unreliable sources of oil and gas in Russia and the Far East. They failed to plan for the replacement of our ageing nuclear power stations. They failed to work out what was going to replace North Sea oil as reserves dried up and coal-fired power stations closed down.

Christmas

For me and many others in Grantham, Christmas started last Friday in ChristChurch on Finkin Street with the Salvation Army's Carol Service in aid of Mencap and the Grantham Gateway Club. The programme contained a variety of special treats including superb singing by Walton Girls School choir and some very good gags by the service's compere, Steve Sutton, fomer Nottingham Forest and Grantham Town goalkeeper.

St Wulfrum's

Last week I spent two gorgeous autumn mornings in St Wulframs: the first on Monday for the funeral of my friend Ian Smith and the second on Sunday for the Service of Remembrance. Both times there were hundreds of people in the pews. Both times St Wulfram's echoed to the sound of some of our most stirring hymns.