Throughout the summer residents from across Aldridge-Brownhills have been repeatedly plagued by a series of Unauthorised Traveller Encampments, the latest of which has been yet another incursion at Aldridge Airport. Last year Walsall Council took some steps towards ending the upset and frustration caused to residents as a result of these encampments – the noise and anti-social behaviour, and the rubbish and mess so often left behind. However, this summer we have reached breaking point.

I have always been clear that whilst the measures taken by Walsall Council last year were a help, much more still needed to be done and I promised that I would raise the matter in Parliament at the earliest opportunity, this I have done after persistent lobbying and the Government have now made time to discuss these matters when the House returns in October.

This will provide an opportunity to look at the powers available to local Councils and the Police and, most importantly, how these repeated encampments impact on local communities like ours.
I will of course be reporting back to residents on this, it is now also incumbent on Walsall Council to seek the much talked about Borough-wide injunction. Protection of all my constituents must be paramount and we must bring to an end these Unauthorised Encampments on our precious Green and Open Spaces. Enough is enough. Residents want action.

On the wider political front, the Prime Minister’s bold speech in Florence last week about Britain’s exit from the European Union has built on her Lancaster House speech earlier in the year, demonstrating the Government’s commitment to deliver on the referendum result and beginning the process of creating a truly ‘Global Britain’ post 2019. Central to these objectives was the Government releasing their proposal for a future partnership with the EU on Defence and Security.

The first duty of a Government is to keep its people safe and since becoming a Member of Parliament I have always supported legislation which has strengthened our Armed Forces and the defence of our country. I was therefore pleased that over the summer the Government made a series of announcements which strengthen the security of the nation.

Our renewed commitment to spending 2% of our GDP on Defence together with the recent launch of the new Aircraft Carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, the biggest and most complex warship ever built for the Royal Navy are to be welcomed combined with the announcement of the National Shipbuilding Strategy this further demonstrates that this Government is determined to meet the challenges with which we are faced around the world.

This was first published by the Walsall Advertiser and the Sutton Observer on 29th September 2017.