Over the last two weeks, I held two public meetings in Molesey (at St Lawrence’s School, pictured above) and Claygate, for residents to question me about my local priorities, government policy and wider national (or even international) issues. Locally, I explained what I was doing to support the provision of more school places for local schoolchildren, the review of local community hospitals, and the positive long term impact that Crossrail 2 (given the green light in last month’s Budget) will have on train overcrowding.
I gave an update on current noise levels from Heathrow Airport, and the need to test the range of assumptions in the Davies Commission on the noise and environmental impact of (potential) expansion. I talked about the government’s action on the economy, including cutting taxes on businesses and low and middle income families, and help for people trying to get onto the housing ladder.
At each meeting, I took well over an hour of questions on lots of different topics. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the two most popular issues were the upcoming EU referendum and Junior Doctors’ contracts. I put forward the positive case for leaving the EU: less red tape at home so small businesses can create more jobs, freer trade abroad to promote exports and cheaper prices at home, stronger border controls to better manage immigration, and greater democratic control over the direction of our country. As ever, I enjoyed hearing residents’ views and priorities – these meetings always help keep me on my toes!