Stourbridge News Column, 13th June 2019

 

Stourbridge News Column – Thursday 13th June

After a beautiful start to the month, the weather has sadly returned to form this week with much of the country drenched. In rainy Westminster, it is London Tech Week, and I have been out at various events, launches and meetings to encourage, celebrate and support our world-beating tech sector. I did the same late last week, when I was lucky enough to visit Japan as part of the G20 Ministerial meeting on Trade and the Digital Economy. As well as updating G20 countries on our work on cyber security, data and Artificial Intelligence, we also agreed to continue to work closely with our international partners. Something that will be even more important when Britain leaves the European Union.

I am always keen to make sure my ministerial work directly benefits people in our area. I recently met our local police leaders in Birmingham, where we discussed how they are using technology to make it easier for people to contact the police and report crimes. Technology has a vital role in reducing crime, as well as making citizens feel safe. The new live chat feature on the revamped police website means you can get in touch with an officer quickly and use the site’s advanced search functions to find safety and security advice too.

A short word on the Conservative leadership contest. Voting will be underway by the time this article is published. Towards the end of July, 130,000 or so members of the Conservative Party will choose between the top two candidates, which MPs will have whittled down from the original ten. That is an electorate fewer by half than the entire population of Dudley Borough, or less than 0.2% of the UK’s population. We should be looking at candidates who can appeal not just to this electorate, but to the country as a whole. There is a fine line between the desire for a fresh approach to the domestic agenda and promoting radical changes which really should be the preserve of a general election.

I will be in Stourbridge on Friday for meetings and an advice surgery. In the morning, I will hold an important meeting to discuss Stourbridge College, along with college principals, the University and College Union (UCU) and the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA). I am continuing to work hard to retain vocational education at the Hagley Road site, whilst ensuring students and teachers have the continuity and certainty they need during this process.

As ever, should you wish to get in touch with me, you can call my office on 01384 370574, or email me at margot.james.mp@parliament.uk. Please also sign up to my regular newsletter at www.margotjames.com/subscribe for more about what I am doing to represent you here and in Westminster.