Following the result of the EU referendum, Michael has released the following statement:
“The British people, including a majority in Sevenoaks, have given a clear instruction to the Government.
First, we must respect that decision and ensure it is implemented. Second, we must safeguard our trade with Europe and ensure that jobs and businesses involved in the EU market are protected. Third, whichever way we voted, we must all now work to bring the country together.”
Michael was welcomed to SupaJam in Swanley on Friday.
Founded by David Court and Nick Stillwell, SupaJam supports young people aged 16-19 from across the district of Sevenoaks who have fallen out of formal education. Currently supporting over 40 young people, the scheme will expand to support 90 in September.
Students work towards the accredited Music Business Diploma, supported by education in life skills and formal English and Maths qualifications. Seven out of every 10 young people who attend SupaJam move into further education, employment or training when they leave.
Michael spoke to students and tutors and observed lessons and activities. He was also given the opportunity to try his hand at the music technology used by the students.
Michael said: “SupaJam is doing great things in Swanley. Its remarkable record is turning lives around and helping young people to meet their potential. I look forward to working with David and Nick as they expand their ambition even further.”
On this day in his constituency, Michael also met representatives from the Electrical Contractors’ Association and local councillors.
In advance of the referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union on 23rd June, Michael will be discussing his views at two local events:
On Thursday 9th June, Michael will attend an event hosted by Euclid Law at Donnington Manor Hotel in Sevenoaks. The event will begin at 7.30pm and tickets must be reserved in advance by emailing email@example.com.
On Thursday 16th June, Michael will participate in a debate chaired by Adam Boulton at Sevenoaks School beginning at 7.30pm. More information is available here.
Michael has welcomed the announcement that the Government will introduce a new legal right to a fast broadband connection.
In the Queen’s Speech, Her Majesty stated: ‘Measures will be brought forward to create the right for every household to access high speed broadband.’
The news is a boost to Michael’s ongoing campaign to secure improvements to broadband for homes and businesses throughout his constituency. Michael has already met representatives from BT and is continuing to press for assurances about the progress of the superfast rollout programme.
Michael said: “I am delighted by this new commitment. Sevenoaks needs better broadband, now and for years to come. This new universal obligation will mean that no home or business is left behind. I will continue to fight for my constituents to ensure it is implemented as soon as possible.”
Michael has welcomed the decision by Weald of Kent Grammar School not to exclude parts of his constituency from its 2017 admissions policy.
The announcement made last night means that areas such as Westerham, Crockham Hill and Brasted will all now be included in ‘Category A’ of the Oversubscription Criteria. The proposed changes, which were due to come into force in time for the opening of the new grammar school annexe in Sevenoaks, would have led to pupils from these areas having a lower chance of admission to the school. The school will next consult for the 2018 Admission Policy.
Michael raised his concerns with the school as part of the recent consultation process. He said: “This is the right decision by Weald of Kent. It is vital that the places at our new annexe go to local pupils. My constituents across Sevenoaks will now have access to a grammar school education for their children, regardless of where they live.”
Last May, I was honoured to be elected for the fifth time as your Member of Parliament.
Since the election, I have continued to work hard on behalf of all of my constituents. I hold two advice surgeries each month, as I have done consistently since 1997, and I regularly raise issues and concerns on your behalf. My Westminster office also deals with hundreds of emails and enquiries every week. I work closely with our county, district, town and parish councillors, as well as other organisations such as Kent Police, the Citizens Advice Bureau and West Kent Housing.
I remain closely involved in campaigns across Sevenoaks and Swanley. From fighting to save Hextable Dance Studio to defending Sevenoaks Hospital, I am proud to support my constituents and fight for our communities.
Supporting our local schools
I am a strong supporter of schools across my constituency. Since the election I have visited schools in Westerham, Sundridge, Swanley, Sevenoaks, and elsewhere to speak to pupils and answer their questions about my work as MP.
Winning our campaign to secure grammar school provision last October was probably my best ever day as your MP. This decision was long in coming but the priority now is to get this annexe built and open for local parents and pupils. My next goal is to secure grammar provision for boys and I am working on this.
Getting a better deal for commuters
Our ageing railways cause a huge amount of frustration for commuters and passen
gers. Disruption may be the price of the vital work at London Bridge – but passengers need to know why they are delayed and what is being done about it. I was concerned to learn on a recent train cab ride that drivers are often unable to inform passengers about ongoing disruption and slow running while their train is in operation. Making sure drivers and passengers have rapid, clear and sufficent information is essential. I will continue to raise these issues with Southeastern to make rail travel easier for my constituents.
Bringing Oyster to Sevenoaks was another promise I made at the general election. Rail passengers have waited long enough and I will be meeting the Rail Minister again shortly to push for a definite date.
Fighting for our NHS services
I am committed to our local NHS. We need to see more services in Sevenoaks, not fewer. That’s why I have continued to defend Sevenoaks Hospital against the threat of closure. The withdrawal of some clinics was concerning but I have secured assurances that these vital services will continue to be available for local people.
Protecting GP services is also important. There is a review of GP provision underway and I will ensure the views of local people are fully represented. The NHS is so much more than the big district hospitals like Pembury and Darent Valley; it works best where it is local and loved.
The doctor prescribed me Xanax and assured that if I took it right before bedtime and went to bed on time than I would have a good sleep and wouldn’t experience any weakness in the morning, but only a good mood. And he was right, I strongly advise this drug to those who sleep poorly and hardly fall asleep.
Boosting our local economy
In Sevenoaks and Swanley, our local economy is strong. Compared with 2010, there are 600 fewer people out of work, including 200 fewer young unemployed, and we have 600 more businesses. I see evidence of this progress on each of my regular constituency days. Since the election, I have visited businesses, shops and local sites throughout the constituency and I have more visits already planned for the next few months.
But there is still more to do to support our local economy. Broadband is a key issue that businesses and the Chamber of Commerce continue to raise with me. I have recently begun a fresh campaign to demand further action from BT. We need to make sure our local businesses and those who work from home have the broadband they need to thrive, wherever they are based.
Michael has announced that he is ‘reassured’ after a recent visit to Sevenoaks Hospital.
His visit came following recent changes to the outpatient services offered by Sevenoaks Hospital.
Following significant local concern, Michael secured assurances from West Kent CCG and Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, that Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust would take over the clinics previously offered by King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
Michael was met at the hospital by David Griffiths, Chairman of Kent Community Health, Paul Bentley, Chief Executive, matron Rachel Nicholls and other representatives. They showed him the hospital’s wards and the Minor Injuries Unit, before accompanying him to Darent House, the former site of the Knole Centre. Mr Griffiths and Mr Bentley then briefed Michael on the latest developments at the hospital.
Michael said: “There has been some concern in Sevenoaks about the future of our hospital. Having visited, I am reassured that it will retain its vital role in our local NHS, taking pressure off acute hospitals like Pembury and Darent Valley. We need more local NHS care, not less, and I will continue to press for even more services to deliver the healthcare we need at Sevenoaks Hospital.”
On Friday, Michael opened The Vales, a new affordable housing development near Bat & Ball Station in Sevenoaks.
The development is owned by Moat Homes, which has worked in collaboration with SDC to build 11 new properties. The properties are a mixture of shared ownership and affordable rent homes.
Michael spoke to the assembled guests, which included representatives from SDC and Moat and several of the new residents. He congratulated Moat on the development, which is built on the site of the former ambulance station, before joining guests for a tour of the new properties.
Michael said: “I was delighted to open The Vales. We need more housing in Sevenoaks but we also want to protect our environment and the Green Belt. This innovative scheme is an example of how collaboration between councils and developers is reinforcing the bottom rung of the housing ladder, helping young families to work towards owning their own home.”
In response to Weald of Kent’s proposal to exclude several parts of his constituency from Category A of its new admissions policy, Michael has made the following statement:
“I am deeply concerned about the proposal to exclude areas like Westerham, Brasted and Crockham Hill. The original proposals, published before the annexe was confirmed, recognised that the lack of grammar school provision in Sevenoaks meant that priority ought to be given to applicants from the area. Now that we have an annexe, it is even more important to ensure that the places go to local pupils.”
Last Friday, Michael spent a busy day in Sevenoaks and Swanley. He visited Amherst School in the morning, answering pupils’ questions in a special assembly, before meeting local councillors in Swanley.
In the afternoon, he joined residents and staff of Gloucester House Nursing Home in Sevenoaks to celebrate its 25th anniversary celebrations.
Speaking about the visit, Michael said: “I was very pleased to help the staff and residents of Gloucester House to celebrate this anniversary. Speaking to the residents, it was clear that they have happy, fulfilled lives at the home thanks to its hardworking staff. That local, tailored approach is vital and we need to replicate it as much as possible.”
After speaking to residents, he travelled to Prime Place in the heart of Sevenoaks, where he joined the Mayor of Sevenoaks, Cllr Stephen Arnold, to open the new sales and marketing suite. Commenting on the opening, Michael said: “I first visited Prime Place, Sevenoaks last year, when it was little more than a building site. It’s a pleasure to see how much progress has been made and I look forward to seeing the completed development next year.”