Stourbridge News Column, 18th October 2018

Stourbridge News Column – Thursday 18th October

I want to start by paying tribute to Derek Elton, who died two weeks ago aged 96. Derek was the most generous and determined man, who achieved so much and all for the benefit of others. He was awarded an MBE earlier this year for his work, which included an amazing eight decades of service to the Scouts. He helped found the Stourbridge and Halesowen branch of Age Concern, of which he became President, and raised the funds that brought the ‘Elton Centre’ into being. My sincere condolences to his family and friends – he will be sorely missed.

It seems a long time until Parliament is in recess again on December 20th – and you don’t need a crystal ball to know that it will be a turbulent two months. The key votes on whatever deal the Prime Minister can agree with the European Union in the coming weeks will probably take place next month.

Like the PM, and the silent majority in the cabinet, I care about the integrity of the United Kingdom. And like her I care about the employment, and future economic growth, that depend upon the easy trade with the rest of Europe we have enjoyed this last forty years. We need to agree a way for that trade to continue, uninterrupted, after we leave the EU next March.

I am in Stourbridge on Friday and Saturday for several important meetings, as well as a recording of BBC Sunday Politics in Birmingham – which you can watch on Sunday at 12pm. Before that, I will go to Russells Hall Hospital with other West Midlands MPs to meet senior clinicians. Whilst I remain concerned about the state of our local hospital, I want to commend NHS Improvement, along with the hardworking doctors and nurses at Russells Hall, who are acting to drive standards back up to where they ought to be. Rest assured that my fellow Dudley MPs and I will be following progress very closely indeed to ensure that improvements are made.

Later in the day, I will be attending a meeting with the chairs and principals of Black Country colleges to discuss key issues in the further education sector. We have some excellent colleges and schools in our area, so I am very interested to hear what we can do to better support them in the future.

Finally – good luck to Stourbridge FC, who play in the fourth round of the FA on Saturday against Guiseley!