Tag: Dunne

Local councils have been meeting online during the pandemic. After a few teething problems, the practice of meeting online has worked well. But yesterday the government declared councils must meet in public after 7 May. Many councillors think this is too early. A good many councils, including Ludlow Town Council and Shropshire Council, do not have suitable buildings to accommodate all their councillors, let alone members of the public, while social distancing remains in place. Will any councillors or members of the public want to attend the cramped Ludlow Town Council meeting in the Guildhall on 24 May? Or the Shropshire Council meeting four days earlier, with its 74 councillors and at least 25 officers and public attending in a chamber set out like a university lecture hall? This is retrograde move that will reduce the effectiveness of local democracy. Not for once, ministers are out of touch with reality. The compulsory return to face to face for councils is only happening because local government has long been an afterthought in the government’s deliberations (and, for that matter, allocation of funding). Parliament has run out of time to debate the required legislation that would extend powers for online meetings. Faced…

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Covid Watch: Shropshire businesses step in after our county’s MPs shamefully vote against proving free school meals in holidays

Earlier this week, all five Shropshire MPs voted against giving children from poorer families school meals during school holidays. The MPs, who seem not to know what it is like to be on the poverty line, think families can thrive on Universal Credit. It was their “let them eat cake moment”. The MPs include Philip Dunne who has recently taken on a part-time job alongside his supposedly fulltime job as Ludlow’s MP. Fortunately, cafes, restaurants and businesses around the county have stepped in and are offering food to families with children who qualify for free school meals. Our communities are stepping up just as our MPs step down from their responsibilities.

Challenge ahead for MP Philip Dunne as he takes lead of Commons Environmental Audit Committee

Former minister and Ludlow MP since 2005, Philip Dunne has been elected chair of the environmental audit committee (EAC) by follow MPs. I congratulate him. His predecessor was Mary Creagh, Labour MP for Wakefield who lost her seat in November’s general election. Under Creagh’s leadership, EAC was forthright, challenging the government on many of its policies and bringing new issues to the its attention. Dunne himself says Creagh will be a hard act to follow.

Philip Dunne’s intervention in the Commons on Mortimer Forest cabins could kill the scheme

The row over the proposed development of 68 holiday cabins in the Mortimer Forest shows no sign of going away. A planning application was expected in June but we have yet to see it. I wasn’t planning to write on this again until that application was submitted. But the intervention yesterday of our MP, Philip Dunne, is worth sharing. In response a question, from Philip, Thérèse Coffey, minister for woods and trees, said the government wasn’t at all happy with the cosy commercial arrangement between commercial cabin builder Forest Holidays and the publicly owned Forestry Commission. I doubt this will kill the scheme but I hope it will.

Phillip Dunne, our Ludlow MP, is from today no longer a health minister. It comes just a day after he made an uncharacteristic gaffe in the House of Commons. But few will be surprised that he has lost his job after a lacklustre performance in the health role. Now we have an opportunity to have an MP that puts Ludlow first and a parliamentary career second. Will Philip take it?

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