This weekend across the country there are lots of events planned to mark the 90th birthday of HM The Queen, including a service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral. Closer to home though I am looking forward to the Community Fun Day at St Thomas’ Church in Aldridge on Saturday and the Music Festival at All Saints, Streetly and an invitation to a birthday tea party in Rushall.

With communities coming together to join in the celebrations it is worth remembering that even in today’s world of the internet, social media, and the many so called mobile phone ‘apps’, that I claim to be no expert in, catching up with friends, family and neighbours is a vital ingredient of family life and strong communities. So too are the many community leaders and, organisations, and the many volunteers, who work, often quietly behind the scenes, to organise events such as these this weekend. They deserve our thanks.

The Queen has had 12 Prime Ministers, and several Governments, serving our country through extraordinary times. Yet throughout the years she has remained a rock of strength providing continuity and stability for all.
As we celebrate the 90th birthday of our country’s longest reigning monarch we are also reminded of her life of service and a duty to our country that began long before she became Queen. To those of us who seek to represent our constituencies and make a contribution to public life it is a reminder of the privilege and humility that such a position holds.
I am keeping my fingers crossed for continuing good weather this weekend as we wish her Majesty well for her 90th birthday, but sadly the good weather has heralded some unwelcome visitors – the arrival to Aldridge-Brownhills once again of unauthorised encampments on our open community fields and common areas.
I first encountered the problem here prior to last year’s General Election. To see it return again to the same places as last year is very disappointing. We should not accept that transitory visitors to the Borough of Walsall are somehow treated differently to permanent residents. Their ease and ability to flout laws that are readily applied to residents for a common good is indefensible.

I will therefore continue work with local councillors, Walsall Council, the Police and Parliament to find ways of deterring and further preventing these unwanted incursions into our communities that disrupt and damage our local environment. It is disappointing when so many work so hard to maintain the amenities of our local area that this can so easily be undermined by those who appear to enjoy a summer jaunt at our expense.