The extraordinary political times we live in continue and this week we welcomed the newly elected Conservative MP for Copeland to Westminster.  By-elections, either at local or national level can bring interesting and even historic results, and last week, as we saw in Copeland, was no exception. The result was a clear demonstration of the support for Theresa May’s vision and policies for our country, that reach out to improve the lives of everyone.

Meanwhile, back to business and I am pleased that the Article 50 Bill, which seeks to give the Prime Minister permission to formally trigger the process of leaving the EU, continues its passage through Parliament.   Let us hope that progress in the House of Lords continues to be made unhindered and that we can finally get on with the beginning of the process to formally negotiate our position outside of the EU.

Closer to home and one of the issues that is often raised with me locally and which I in turn regularly raise in Parliament, and comment upon is the protection of our precious greenbelt. I was therefore pleased to hear at Prime Ministers Questions recently that the Government reiterated that it is very clear that the greenbelt must be protected, and boundaries only altered when local authorities have fully examined all other reasonable options.   I remain convinced that there should be a clear focus on “Brownfield First”.  And whilst I am very conscious of the housing pressures across the wider West Midlands Combined Authority area, I am pleased to hear that the “Brownfield First’ approach is a pledge made by Mayoral candidate Andy Street.

Weekends back home from Westminster would not be complete without my regular constituency surgeries, meeting and visits and so I was delighted to be able to round off last week, with a visit to the wonderful Walsall Silver Thread Tapestries whilst they were on display at the Village Centre in Pelsall.  It has been estimated that each tapestry represents at least 2000 sewing hours by volunteers.  They capture so much of our local history, and the spirit of community.  They are simply stunning!

And a final shout for the week must go to Rushall for a fun evening of sausage and mash, and skittles! – clear demonstration of the very essence of communities coming together for an enjoyable evening whilst also fundraising for a local cause.

For those of you living in the Brownhills area I will be holding another one of my pop-up surgeries at the Community Association on March 10th. If you would like to make an appointment please get in touch with my office on 01922 452228.