Category: Politics

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.

This article was first published on Lib Dem Voice and got a mixed reception… Last week’s report from the National Audit Office contained no surprises. But it was still devasting for High Speed 2. The complexity of the project was underestimated. Costs are ballooning. Value for money is deflating. The political uncertainty surrounding the project, especially the northern sections, will load more costs. It is “impossible to estimate with certainty” how much HS2 will eventually cost, the auditors conclude. But it will be north of £100bn. That dwarfs into insignificance the cost of a third runway at Heathrow. The drain on public finances is not the main problem. HS2 is environmentally destructive. Far from being green, it will destroy centuries old biodiverse landscapes. It will take a century for the scheme to pay back the carbon and environmental costs of construction.

European elections: In Shropshire the news was the rise of the environmental and progressive vote, as well a win for the Brexiteers

The votes for the European Elections have been counted. In the West Midlands, the Lib Dems are back with one MEP. The Greens are growing in strength with one MEP. Three MEPs were elected to the Brexit Party displacing UKIP’s three MEPs. Labour did badly and the Conservatives much worse. Under the D’Hondt system of proportional representation, that gives one seat each to the Conservatives, Greens, Labour and Lib Dems. The Brexit Party has three seats with a bigger vote share than UKIP achieved. In the West Midlands, the Conservatives and Labour lost 19,504 votes compared to the 2014 Euro elections. The Lib Dems and Greens gained 18,687 votes. The collapse of the Conservatives from 32% to 12% in a county that some regard as Tory stronghold is not just a reaction to the incompetent way that its politicians have managed Brexit. It shows diminishing faith in the three Tory MPs in our county. There is no doubt that the big news of this election is the rise of the six-week-old Brexit Party. But the growth of the

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