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How should Conservatives oppose?

John Redwood (Wokingham)

I have  heard a couple of Shadow Cabinet members on the BBC setting out the Opposition position. They clearly found it difficult. They rightly sounded chastened by the electoral disaster that beset them. They apologised and sounded contrite.

They do however have a vital role to play. In a Parliament where 34% of the voters have such dominant representation and where the third largest party largely agrees with the government, the 121 Conservatives need to provide strong criticism where the government is wrong and a good alternative where its laws and policies will not work.

They need an early agreement amongst themselves as to why their candidates did so badly. They need to apologise for the bad errors that led to the result and move on to the current world. They should not apologise for everything and accept  the blame for all the problems Labour will now expose and blame on the previous government.

The three big mistakes I think they should apologise for are the boom/ bust inflationary cycle Bank and Treasury delivered, the huge overrun of migration which they should have controlled and the collapse in public sector productivity 2020 to 2023 which pushed up taxes and worsened services.

In Opposition they should support the government’s aims of the U.K. growing faster than the rest of the G7, of providing  high quality public services and promoting opportunity for all. Where government does good things that support these aims they should back the government. I will set out in a later blog where they already need to oppose and warn, as early policy announcements will take Labour further from these aims.

Update: Portobello Beach

Deidre Brock (Edinburgh North and Leith)

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) have updated their advice.

Interview with SpectatorTV

Steven Baker (Wycombe)

Steve Baker, former MP and Conservative minister, joins The Spectator’s political correspondent James Heale on Spectator TV for his final interview before he takes a break after losing his seat in the general election. He discusses the future Tory leader, the rise of Nigel Farage, and why he’s the man […]


Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle upon Tyne North)

CATHERINE TAKES ON ROLE AS SCHOOLS MINISTER IN NEW LABOUR GOVERNMENT  Catherine is delighted to have been appointed as the Minister of State for School Standsrds within the Department for Education following the recent General Election. Following her appointment, Catherine commented: “It is an absolute honour and a privilege to have been asked to serve […]

Today is Srebrenica Memorial Day

Richard Burden (Birmingham, Northfield)

Today is Srebrenica Memorial Day: a day to pay tribute to the victims and survivors of the 1990s genocide in Bosnia, and a day to commit to challenging hate, both at home and overseas. The Remembering Srebrenica theme for Memorial Week 2024 is “I Am Because You Are”. In the West Midlands we have two Srebrenica memorial events taking place today with Bosnia and Herzegovina UK Network, one on Birmingham and the other in Newcastle-under-Lyme.
10 July 2024
George Freeman reiterates his commitment to support local businesses

Business confidence and investment in the East and in Norfolk is the key to raising prosperity and opportunity.  

Having had a career running high growth businesses here in the East before Parliament I would say business in our area need a few key things:

🚩political stability & clear policy signals 

🚩an East Anglian Mayor to drive big infrastructure investment to upgrade our road, rail, digital, water & energy connectivity 

🚩Planning:  with Tourism our No1 industry - as cannot allow the destruction of our world famous  coastal landscape & bird habitats by massive energy pylons & substations 

🚩bold reform of offshore wind connectivity via an offshore N Sea ring main connecting at Bacton & Sizewell instead of hundreds of pylons & cables 

🚩serious private / public partnerships for Town Centre & Coastal regeneration 

🚩Lower VAT on Pubs and self employed small businesses 

🚩Innovation: a plan to grow the Norwich Research Park and Hethel Innovation Centre out to the SW of Norfolk “the Norfolk Research Triangle” for Town & Village regeneration- NOT surround Norwich with massive commuter estates for yet more traffic on the A11 and A47. 

🚩Skills: building on the success of the Academy & Apprenticeship program with a crusade for upskilling Norfolk school leavers for todays high tech workforce


Read the EDP article here

Ysgol Heol Goffa petition presentation

Nia Griffith (Llanelli)

The presentation of a 5,000 signature petition against Plaid Cymru’s deplorable u-turn on their promise of a new school for Ysgol Heol Goffa to Carmarthenshire County Council today is a clear sign of the overwhelming opposition to their decision.

Why have other councils across Wales been able to make this a top priority and continue to build similar new schools for children with complex additional learning needs when Plaid in Carmarthenshire have not? Their complete lack of clarity and transparency has only made matters worse for pupils, parents, staff, governors and local communities.

I congratulate campaigners on their unity in fighting to ensure that those children who require the specialist education that Ysgol Heol Goffa delivers get the facilities they deserve.

Along with Carmarthenshire’s Labour councillors, I will continue to give my full backing to this campaign. Plaid really need to start listening and urgently map out a clear future for ALN provision in Carmarthenshire that truly meets the needs of young people across our county, including a new school for Ysgol Heol Goffa.

I am delighted and humbled to have been re-elected as the Labour MP for Leicester West.

Representing Leicester West has been the honour of my life and I’ve always worked hard for local people. I am ambitious for our city and country and I will continue to work tirelessly for everyone in our community regardless of how they chose to vote in the election.

I am proud to have since been asked by the Prime Minister to serve in Government as Labour’s Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. People have voted for change and Labour are determined to deliver our plans to get Britain working, tackle poverty and provide security in retirement in every corner of our great nation.

If you live in Leicester West and I can be of any help or support, please do not hesitate to contact me at any time by emailing liz.kendall.mp {at} parliament(.)uk or calling my office on 0116 204 4980.


The post Liz is re-elected as the MP for Leicester West and appointed Secretary of State for Work and Pensions appeared first on Liz Kendall.

It’s a privilege to be re-elected to Parliament by the great people of Beaconsfield, Marlow and the South Bucks villages. Today I swore the Oath of Allegiance to His Majesty The King. I look forward to continue being your local champion in Beaconsfield, Marlow and the South Bucks villages.
Today Greg Smith MP swore the Oath of Allegiance to His Majesty King Charles, his heirs and successors, as he committed to not only serve country, but all constituents of Mid Buckinghamshire. Greg said, "I will remain a strong, local voice for Buckinghamshire and this started from the day you…

John Lamont comment on re-election as Borders MP

John Lamont (Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk)

Thank you to everyone who voted to re-elect me as your MP for the Scottish Borders. It was a bad night for the UK party but my brilliant team helped me to defy expectations and win again here in the Borders. Thank you to all the tremendous volunteers and activists who gave up their time to help me…


Bill Wiggin (North Herefordshire)

I want to thank all the wonderful people who voted for me. Thank you so much for your kindness and support. It has been an honour to represent you for almost all of this Century – since 2001 – for the last twenty-three years. The best part of being your MP has undoubtably, been the …

Environmental Audit Committee

Philip Dunne (Ludlow)

3 July 2024
Environmental Audit Committee

Since dissolution of the 2019-2024 Parliament, I have stepped down as MP for Ludlow, and ceased to be Chairman of the Environmental Audit Committee. In the few days between the announcement of the General Election and dissolution of Parliament I was pleased our committee was able to publish a report summarising the work we had done during the Parliament.

Others will judge whether this has been impactful, but we have certainly been busy during the past four and a half years, not least in the face of the disruption due to the global pandemic. 

Since forming in early 2020 after the 2019 General Election, our Committee held 178 meetings, of which 146 involved taking oral evidence from witnesses, and published over 2,200 submissions of written evidence. This work allowed us to publish 23 reports to the House of Commons, and 18 responses from the government to our reports. 

Much of our scrutiny of environmental matters over the 2019-2024 Parliament concerned the passage and provisions of what is now the Environment Act 2021 and how these have been implemented. Key measures included establishment of long-term targets for improving the environment; an Office for Environmental Protection; and statutory environmental principles to guide policymakers across Government. 

Early in the Parliament, our outstanding team of clerks ensured that soon after the pandemic struck we could move our meetings and evidence sessions online, which allowed the Committee's work to continue. 

In 2021, we published our reports on Greening the post-Covid recovery and Energy Efficiency of Existing Homes, following which the Chancellor endorsed one of our principal recommendations by announcing in the 2022 Spring Statement the expansion of VAT relief for energy saving materials, giving a significant boost to the take up of home insulation and renewable energy solar PV systems.

I have campaigned personally for better water quality in our rivers. So I was pleased the Committee agreed to take forward work on this issue, and our inquiry into Water quality in rivers, which resulted in our seminal report in January 2022, was recognised by the Institution of Civil Engineers in presenting the Committee its Chris Binnie Award for Sustainable Water Management for 2022. 

We have had a significant strand of work in exploring how to boost nature and published two reports into the UK's role in promoting biodiversity, domestically and internationally. We were close to concluding our inquiry into The role of Natural Capital in the Green Economy, on which I hope our successor Committee will decide to publish a report arising from this work.

Another innovative area of our work was done by our sub-committee, which undertook research into the UK's role in both the Arctic and Antarctic. Members of the Committee visited both, we believe the first ever visit by a Commons Select Committee to Antarctica. Our report The UK and the Arctic Environment was presented to an Arctic Circle Conference in Iceland when published in 2023. Our planned report on Antarctica will inform a report which our successor Committee may choose to publish.

One of the key functions of the Environmental Audit Committee is to hold the government to account on its legally binding net zero obligations. So we have maintained our scrutiny of Government policies to deliver emissions reductions, taking evidence regularly from the Climate Change Committee on the findings in its annual reports to Parliament on progress in reducing emissions. We also undertook a series of short reviews of emerging and enabling technologies where the UK has significant opportunities to develop major new renewable industrial sectors. 

The Secretary of State for Energy and Net Zero responded positively to our proposals to increase parliamentary scrutiny for the Seventh Carbon Budget next year.

It is impossible to recognise all the work of the Committee over five years in one article – nor to thank properly all of the excellent Committee staff and specialists, without whom our work could not be done. But I hope the work we achieved will speak for itself, and will help inform the next Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee in their own chosen lines of inquiry. 


Rt Hon Philip Dunne
Former MP for Ludlow (2005-2019) and former Chairman of the Environmental Audit Committee (2019-2024).

General election 2024 speech

Chi Onwurah (Newcastle upon Tyne Central)

You can watch the speech here or read a copy below:


Speech upon being elected as the MP for Newcastle Central and West


Thank you.

This is a huge honour and privilege. I would like thank the Returning Officer and her team for all her hard work, the police for all their support and protection and all the staff here tonight who have made democracy work transparently and incredibly quickly.  And thank you to my fellow candidates, for a lively, honest and thoughtful campaign.

My deepest thanks to the fantastic Newcastle Central and West Labour Party members and volunteers for the unbelievable hard work, with special thanks to my Agent, David and the core team who organised everything.  And I’d like to thank my partner Damon for all his support. And cooking.

But most of all I would like to thank the people of Newcastle Central and West

I came into politics after a career in engineering to represent the people I grew up with, here in Newcastle. The best city in the world with the best people in the world. On doorsteps across Newcastle Central and West I have heard again and again the clear message – we want change. We want an end to the chaos, the incompetence, sky rocketing prices, crumbling public services, stagnating economy, self interested politicians and  scandal ridden Government—a government that simply doesn’t care about people like us.

If the early results are right, we will wake up to a Labour Government led by Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer. A Government at the service of working people. A Government which will turn the page on the last 14 years, delivering a better future for working people, bringing green prosperity to every corner of our nation and restoring Britain’s reputation on the world stage.

A Government that works with the people of Newcastle to build a future of hope and prosperity in place of the despair and disillusionment so many feel today.

As we move forward to a better future the  great strength of Newcastle is the diversity of our communities and our unity as one community  with shared values.  I see those values in every face I meet. We are a city where democracy, solidarity and human rights runs deep.   Today has been a day of unity—of an overwhelming call for change from our community.  I want to reach out my hand, and the hand of the Labour Party to all the people of Newcastle, no matter how you voted today.  Our future as a community, as a nation, will be so much brighter together, in a spirit of consideration for each other.  My promise to you is to listen to you, to stand up for you, for our community, our values, and our future. Now is the time to come together for a better Newcastle. Our future is waiting for us.  We can build it together.

When I was Housing Minister I formed strong views about how we can build the houses young people urgently need, and protect the unique character of our landscape, towns and villages

Anne-Marie's update on education

Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Berwick-upon-Tweed)

Education is the greatest investment we make for our kids’ future and the economic success of our country. Thats why I am proud to have got funding for Alnwick’s Duchess Community High School back in 2016, saved Scremerston and Norham schools, and we are seeing Amble’s Calvert Spence new buildings…

It was lovely to take part in the service to mark 250 years of current #Irvine Old Parish church.

The service demonstrated #Irvine Old’s strong connections with the local community, with representatives from many key civic groups from Incorporated Trade Guilds to Burns Clubs.

My thanks for always making me feel welcome, over the last 9 years as your MP, and I was delighted to lay an Early Day Motion at Westminster to mark the occasion.

The full EDM text can be found – 250th anniversary of Irvine Old Parish Church – Early Day Motions – UK Parliament

Conservative Parliamentary Candidate, Graham Stuart, attended the unveiling of a memorial board to commemorate the Number 47 Squadron in Memorial Gardens, Beverley. Number 47 Squadron of the Royal Air Force (RAF) was formed in Beverley as a Royal Flying Corps in 1918 and protected Hull and the East…
My Plan for Ashford 
Maria Miller local MP wants all schools to be "good" or "outstanding". Currently 90% of Basingstoke schools are good or outstanding (up from 52% in 2010) but Maria wants to see 100% of Basingstoke children being given the opportunity of the best education. To help achieve that Aldworth will reopen…
Following the announcement that Rt Hon Sir David Evennett had decided to step down at the General Election on 4 July 2024, members of the Bexleyheath and Crayford Conservative Association have chosen local man, Mark Brooks OBE, to be the Conservative Candidate. Sir David had been the Member of…

Royston Smith (Southampton, Itchen)

At midnight tonight I will no longer be the Member of Parliament for Southampton Itchen. I have served the city both locally and nationally for over 25 years but now it’s time to move on to new challenges. It’s an overused statement, but it really has been the honour of my life.

The post appeared first on Royston Smith.


Stephen McPartland (Stevenage)

This was the website for The Rt Hon Stephen McPartland, who was Member of Parliament for Stevenage from 2010 until the dissolution of Parliament on 30th May 2024 when he retired from frontline politics to pursue new opportunities.

Access and functionality of this website is undergoing development.

Resignation Announcement

Steve McCabe (Birmingham, Selly Oak)

After much deliberation, I’ve made the difficult decision to stand down as the Member of Parliament for Birmingham Selly Oak and make way for someone new.

It has been a privilege to serve as the Member of Parliament for the constituencies of Hall Green and then Selly Oak over the past 27 years.

I’ve worked with many caring and talented people, from all sorts of backgrounds, who want the best for our communities and to make a difference. I am incredibly proud of the achievements of the Blair and Brown governments, ground-breaking policies like the Minimum Wage, Sure Start, Neighbourhood Policing, record spending on the NHS and Civil Partnerships, to name but a few.

Representing the communities of Brandwood, Billesley, Bournville, Druids Heath, Selly Oak, Stirchley, and Hall Green has been the honour of my life. We have worked together to tackle rogue landlords, save Katie Road NHS Walk-In Centre, protect our local libraries, and much more. And we have come together for many social activities including my annual Veterans’ Day, the Great Get-Together, Cakes for Care Homes, and to collect donations for food banks. Together I think we have made a difference.

The past 14 years have been hard. I’ve witnessed the damage done to so many of our public services and the impact of government decisions on the people I represent. Our country is in desperate need of change. I am convinced that Keir Starmer is the man who will deliver that change. He will lead a government which puts the public interest first and deliver the change the country needs.

I’ve always tried to be a hardworking and straight-talking constituency MP. This has been a difficult decision, but I’ve often said I hoped I’d know when to go.

I am committed to Keir Starmer’s Labour Party and his vision for our country, and I look forward to playing my part in delivering a Labour Government.

I want to express my gratitude to all the Party members and volunteers who have supported me over the years and the people who have voted for me to represent them at a total of seven General Elections. It has been an honour.

Yours sincerely,

Steve McCabe
Former Member of Parliament for Birmingham, Selly Oak

Dissolution Update

Victoria Prentis (Banbury)

At midnight tonight, Parliament will be dissolved. From that point, there will no longer be any MPs until after the General Election which will take place on 4 July. While Parliament may not be sitting, my office can deal with urgent casework enquiries only via the usual channels.   As many will…

General Election 2024

Anne Marie Morris (Newton Abbot)

Over the past 14 years, it has been my honour to serve as your Member of Parliament for Newton Abbot, a period marked by significant achievements and significant investment.  I am standing again as a candidate in the General Election to finish what I started  and continue to fight for those things…

John Healey (Wentworth and Dearne)

John Healey says we’re experiencing an ‘unprecedented’ youth mental health crisis

England is in the grips of a deadly crisis in youth mental health while the government continues to deny the problem, says John Healey.

It comes as new analysis has highlighted the severity of the crisis in youth mental health care under the Tories, with increasing numbers of people dying by suicide, detentions under the mental health act rising, and more young people in crisis than ever before.

Rishi Sunak recently suggested that many people suffering mental health problems were just experiencing "the everyday challenges and worries of life” and should not receive medical support.

But, just last year, John’s Schools Mental Report revealed every school that responded reported an increase in the number of mental health cases they had to deal with and a rise in anxiety issues for both students and staff.

John Healey said: “I’ve been calling for an increase in mental health support for young people for the past six years – when I carried out my first Schools Mental Health report.

“Since then, the situation has worsened with a record 780,000 children and young people across the country having been in contact with mental health services over the last year alone.

“It’s clear to see we are experiencing an unprecedented crisis in mental health care, with children and young people crying out for support.

"Instead of attempting to cover up the scale of the problem, the next Labour Government will give people the support they desperately need. We'll roll-out 8,500 mental health staff to cut waits, put mental health hubs in every community and support in every school, to help people get back onto their feet.”

Labour's analysis echoes concerns made by a number of charities, experts and those affected by mental ill-health. Last month the Children's Commissioner claimed that children were being treated like 'second-class citizens' when it comes to mental health care, with reports that children have to attempt suicide several times before being able to receive mental health treatment.

Labour has made tackling the crisis in mental health a cornerstone of their mission to get the NHS back on its feet and make it fit for the future. The next Labour Government will deliver 8,500 additional mental health staff, specialist mental health support in every school and an open access mental health hub in every community. This plan is funded by scrapping tax loopholes for private schools and private equity fund managers.

In an era where technology and education converge, distance learning has emerged as a pivotal force in reshaping the educational landscape. As we stand on the cusp of a new decade, this article delves into the transformative journey of distance learning, unraveling the latest trends that are sculpting its future. We will also cast a forward-looking eye on the horizon, offering evidence-based predictions that will illuminate the path for learners, educators, and institutions in the coming years. Join us as we navigate the contours of this digital revolution, charting a course through the innovations and challenges that will define the next chapter in the story of distance learning.

The Impact of Technology on Distance Learning

The trajectory of distance learning has been inextricably linked with the march of technology. In its nascent stages, the limitations of available technology restricted distance learning to static correspondence. However, as technological capabilities advanced, so did the possibilities for distance education. Here are key technological milestones that have shaped distance learning:

  • The Internet and World Wide Web: The introduction of the internet opened up new avenues for communication and information sharing, leading to the creation of the first online courses.
  • Learning Management Systems (LMS): Platforms like Blackboard and Moodle provided educators with tools to create structured and interactive courses, allowing for the management of learning materials and student progress.
  • Multimedia and Interactive Content: The integration of videos, animations, and simulations has transformed static learning materials into dynamic and engaging content.
  • Mobile Learning: The proliferation of smartphones and tablets has facilitated anytime, anywhere learning, further breaking down barriers to education.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning: These technologies are personalizing learning experiences by adapting content to individual learning styles and providing real-time feedback.
  • Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR): Immersive technologies are creating new dimensions of learning by simulating real-world environments for practical learning experiences.

As we look towards the future, we can expect technology to continue playing a transformative role in distance learning. The integration of AI and advanced analytics is predicted to refine the personalization of learning, making it more adaptive and responsive to individual learner needs. The growth of VR/AR is set to offer even more immersive learning experiences, potentially revolutionizing fields like medical and military training. Moreover, the continued expansion of high-speed internet access and mobile technologies will likely make distance learning even more accessible and prevalent around the globe.

In the next decade, we anticipate that distance learning will not only supplement but, in some cases, supplant traditional educational models, offering a viable and often preferable alternative. As the digital divide narrows and technology becomes more inclusive, distance learning stands poised to democratize education on an unprecedented scale.

The Intersection of Gaming and Online Learning: The Case of CSGO Gambling

The digital realm has not only revolutionized education but also transformed entertainment and leisure activities. An interesting crossover is seen in the world of online gaming, particularly with phenomena like CSGO gambling site. This activity, which involves betting on the outcomes of matches in the popular game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, exemplifies the convergence of gaming, economics, and the use of digital platforms. While seemingly unrelated to education, the underlying technology and psychological principles of engagement and risk-reward mechanisms are remarkably similar. Understanding such intersections can provide insights into how digital environments captivate attention and foster user interaction, aspects that are increasingly relevant to educational technology developers.

As we look towards the future, we can expect technology to continue playing a transformative role in distance learning. The integration of AI and advanced analytics is predicted to refine the personalization of learning, making it more adaptive and responsive to individual learner needs. The growth of VR/AR is set to offer even more immersive learning experiences, potentially revolutionizing fields like medical and military training. Moreover, the continued expansion of high-speed internet access and mobile technologies will likely make distance learning even more accessible and prevalent around the globe.

In the next decade, we anticipate that distance learning will not only supplement but, in some cases, supplant traditional educational models, offering a viable and often preferable alternative. As the digital divide narrows and technology becomes more inclusive, distance learning stands poised to democratize education on an unprecedented scale.

The Rise of MOOCs and Online Platforms

The landscape of distance learning has been dramatically reshaped with the emergence of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and other online learning platforms. MOOCs, which offer unrestricted participation and open access via the web, have surged in popularity due to their ability to provide free or low-cost education to a global audience. Platforms like Coursera, edX, and Udacity have partnered with top universities to deliver courses across a multitude of subjects, from computer science to philosophy.

These platforms have revolutionized the role of distance learning in education by:

  • Democratizing Access: MOOCs have broken down barriers to education, enabling people from all walks of life to access high-quality courses from prestigious institutions.
  • Encouraging Lifelong Learning: With the flexibility to learn at their own pace, individuals can acquire new skills or enhance existing ones, irrespective of their age or career stage.
  • Facilitating Career Advancement: Many MOOCs offer certification upon completion, which can be instrumental in helping learners advance or pivot in their professional lives.
  • Supporting Blended Learning: Traditional institutions are increasingly incorporating MOOCs into their curricula, offering a blended approach that combines online and in-person instruction.

The next decade is likely to see an expansion of MOOC offerings, with a growing emphasis on micro-credentials and specialized programs designed to meet the evolving needs of the job market. Additionally, we can expect advancements in technology to enhance the interactivity and personalization of MOOCs, making distance learning an even more engaging and effective educational experience.

Distance Learning in the COVID-19 Era

The COVID-19 pandemic has served as a catalyst for an unprecedented surge in distance learning. Educational institutions around the world were compelled to rapidly adapt to remote teaching methods to ensure continuity of education. This shift, although initially disruptive, has underscored the flexibility and resilience of distance learning frameworks.

Institutions have adapted to the pandemic by:

  • Expanding Online Offerings: Schools and universities have significantly increased the number of courses available online, often utilizing synchronous (live) and asynchronous (pre-recorded) formats.
  • Investing in Technology: There has been a concerted effort to invest in digital tools and platforms to support online learning, including LMS, video conferencing software, and digital assessment tools.
  • Training Educators: Teachers and professors have received training in digital pedagogies to effectively deliver content and engage with students in a virtual environment.
  • Supporting Students: Institutions have implemented support systems to assist students with the transition to online learning, addressing challenges such as internet access, digital literacy, and mental health.

As we move beyond the pandemic, it is anticipated that many of these changes will become permanent fixtures of the educational landscape. The integration of hybrid learning models, which combine online and in-person instruction, is expected to grow, offering students greater flexibility and personalized learning pathways. The experience of the COVID-19 era is likely to drive further innovation in distance learning, with an emphasis on creating more resilient and accessible educational systems for the future.

The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Personalized Learning

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is at the forefront of revolutionizing distance learning by offering personalized educational experiences. AI-driven systems are capable of analyzing student data to tailor content, predict performance, and provide customized support. Here’s how AI is enhancing distance learning:

  • Adaptive Learning Platforms: These platforms use AI to adjust the difficulty of tasks based on student performance, ensuring that each learner is challenged at their own level.
  • Intelligent Tutoring Systems: AI tutors provide one-on-one instruction, offering explanations, guidance, and feedback that are specific to individual learning styles and needs.
  • Automated Grading: AI can quickly grade assignments and exams, giving students immediate feedback while freeing up instructors to focus on more complex teaching tasks.
  • Learning Analytics: By analyzing data on student interactions with course material, AI can help educators identify who might need extra help and what topics need more coverage.

The integration of AI into distance learning is expected to deepen over the next decade, leading to more nuanced and effective personalization. Predictions for the future include AI becoming more adept at recognizing emotional cues to better support students’ mental well-being and further customization of learning paths to suit individual career goals.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in Education

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies are set to transform distance learning by providing immersive and interactive educational experiences. These technologies enable students to explore concepts in a three-dimensional environment, making learning more engaging and memorable. Current and potential uses include:

  • Simulated Laboratories: VR can simulate laboratory environments, allowing students to conduct experiments without the need for physical resources.
  • Virtual Field Trips: AR and VR can transport students to historical sites, museums, or even outer space, providing enriching experiences that would be impossible or impractical in the real world.
  • Medical and Technical Training: VR provides a risk-free platform for medical students to practice surgeries and for technical students to gain hands-on experience with machinery.
  • Language and Cultural Immersion: Language learners can use VR to immerse themselves in environments that mimic the countries of the languages they’re studying, enhancing their understanding of both language and culture.

Over the next decade, we can anticipate broader adoption of VR and AR in education, with advancements making these technologies more affordable and accessible. The development of more sophisticated content and the integration of AI with VR/AR experiences will likely lead to even more personalized and effective learning opportunities. As these immersive technologies become mainstream, they will play a crucial role in overcoming the limitations of traditional distance learning, providing students with practical, hands-on experience in a virtual setting.

The Shift Towards Competency-Based Education

Competency-based education (CBE) is a growing trend in distance learning, prioritizing the mastery of skills over time spent in a classroom. Unlike traditional education models, CBE allows students to progress at their own pace once they demonstrate proficiency in a subject area. This approach is particularly well-suited to online learning environments where learners have varied schedules and learning styles. Key features of CBE include:

  • Personalized Learning Paths: Students can focus on the skills they need to develop, moving forward once they’ve demonstrated competence.
  • Real-World Relevance: CBE often involves practical tasks that simulate real-life challenges, making the learning experience more applicable to job settings.
  • Flexible Assessment: Evaluations are based on demonstrating knowledge through projects, portfolios, or exams, rather than accumulating credit hours.

The integration of CBE into distance learning curriculums is transforming education by aligning it more closely with industry needs and learner preferences. In the next decade, we can expect CBE to become more prevalent as educational institutions and employers increasingly recognize the value of skill-based learning.

The Integration of Social Learning in Online Education

The incorporation of social learning into online courses and platforms is redefining the solitary nature of distance learning. Social learning theory suggests that people learn from one another, via observation, imitation, and modeling. Online education platforms are increasingly facilitating this by including collaborative and social elements such as:

  • Discussion Forums: Online forums allow students to discuss course materials, share insights, and ask questions, fostering a sense of community.
  • Peer Assessments: Learners evaluate each other’s work, providing feedback and gaining different perspectives on the subject matter.
  • Group Projects: Virtual workspaces enable learners to collaborate on assignments, mirroring teamwork in a traditional classroom or workplace.

The importance of collaborative and social learning elements cannot be overstated, as they not only enhance the learning experience but also help develop critical soft skills such as communication and teamwork. As we look to the future, these interactive components are expected to become more sophisticated, leveraging technology to create even more engaging and supportive online learning communities.

Challenges and Criticisms of Distance Learning

Distance learning has been a game-changer for many, but it’s not without its challenges and criticisms. Some of the most pressing issues include:

  • Accreditation and Recognition: Concerns persist regarding the accreditation of online programs and the recognition of qualifications by employers and traditional institutions.
  • Quality of Education: Critics argue that the quality of education can suffer in online settings due to a lack of face-to-face interaction and hands-on experiences.
  • Access and Equity: Despite its potential for inclusivity, there remains a digital divide, with students in remote or impoverished areas often lacking the necessary resources or connectivity to participate effectively.
  • Student Engagement: Keeping students motivated and engaged without the physical presence of a classroom environment can be challenging for educators.
  • Academic Integrity: Ensuring the authenticity of student work and preventing cheating in an online context is a significant concern for institutions.

As we advance, addressing these criticisms will be crucial in refining distance learning methodologies and ensuring their acceptance and effectiveness in the educational ecosystem.

The Future of Hybrid Learning Models

The next decade will likely see a significant evolution in hybrid learning models, which blend online and in-person instruction. Here’s what we can expect:

  • Increased Adoption: Hybrid learning will become more commonplace, with institutions recognizing the value of combining the flexibility of online learning with the benefits of face-to-face interaction.
  • Customized Learning Experiences: Technology will enable more personalized hybrid models, allowing students to choose when to attend in-person sessions and when to engage online.
  • Enhanced Collaboration Tools: Advancements in collaborative technologies will make online components of hybrid learning more interactive, mirroring the social aspects of traditional classrooms.
  • Focus on Outcomes: Hybrid models will increasingly emphasize learning outcomes, with a shift towards competency-based approaches that validate skills regardless of how they are acquired.

Hybrid learning models represent the future of education, offering a balanced approach that caters to diverse learning preferences and schedules while maintaining the quality and structure of traditional education.

The Role of Big Data in Shaping Educational Strategies

The emergence of big data analytics has become a cornerstone in refining distance learning. Educational institutions now leverage vast amounts of data to enhance student learning outcomes and tailor educational strategies to individual needs. Big data’s role in distance learning includes:

  • Personalized Learning Experiences: By analyzing student interaction with online materials, educators can personalize content delivery, catering to different learning styles and paces.
  • Predictive Analytics: Data analytics can predict student performance, allowing for early intervention strategies to help at-risk students.
  • Curriculum Development: Insights from data help in designing curricula that align with student needs and industry trends, ensuring relevant and up-to-date course offerings.
  • Student Retention Strategies: By identifying patterns that lead to dropouts, institutions can develop targeted retention strategies to keep students engaged and enrolled.

In the next decade, big data is predicted to further revolutionize distance learning, with more sophisticated analytics tools providing deeper insights into student behavior and preferences. This will enable even more customized and effective educational strategies, driving success for both students and educational institutions.

Accessibility and Inclusivity in Distance Learning

The imperative of making distance learning accessible and inclusive cannot be overstated. As education moves increasingly online, ensuring that all learners, regardless of their physical abilities or socioeconomic status, can access quality education is a priority. Efforts to promote accessibility and inclusivity in distance learning include:

  • Designing for Disabilities: Implementing universal design principles to create online content that is accessible to students with disabilities, such as captioning for videos and screen reader-friendly course materials.
  • Bridging the Digital Divide: Initiatives to provide affordable devices and internet access to students in remote or underprivileged areas, ensuring they can participate in distance learning.
  • Cultural Sensitivity: Developing content that is culturally inclusive and sensitive, reflecting the diversity of the global student body.
  • Support Systems: Establishing robust support systems, including technical assistance and tutoring, to help all students navigate and succeed in the online learning environment.

Looking ahead, the trend is towards even greater inclusivity, with technology playing a key role in breaking down remaining barriers to access. The next decade will likely see an increase in targeted programs and partnerships aimed at supporting underrepresented groups, making distance learning a truly universal educational option.

The Globalization of Education Through Distance Learning

Distance learning has become a conduit for global education, enabling students from disparate geographical locations to access quality education without the constraints of physical borders. This trend has facilitated international collaboration among institutions, educators, and students, creating a diverse learning environment that reflects the interconnectedness of our world. The impact of distance learning on global education includes:

  • Cross-Cultural Exchange: Students are exposed to diverse perspectives and can collaborate with peers from different cultural backgrounds.
  • International Curriculum: Courses often incorporate global contexts, preparing students for the international aspects of modern careers.
  • Partnerships Between Institutions: Universities worldwide are forming partnerships to offer joint programs, enhancing their educational offerings.
  • Access to Global Expertise: Learners have the opportunity to be taught by leading experts from around the globe, regardless of their location.

The globalization of education through distance learning is not just expanding educational access but also fostering a more inclusive and culturally aware student body. As we progress into the next decade, we can expect this trend to continue, with more institutions joining forces to provide a truly global education.

Predictions for Distance Learning in the Next Decade

The landscape of distance learning is poised for significant transformations in the coming decade. Here are some key trends, technologies, and practices expected to shape the future of distance learning:

  1. Advanced Personalization: Leveraging AI and machine learning to deliver highly personalized learning experiences, adapting to individual learning styles and needs.
  2. Immersive Technologies: Greater integration of VR and AR in curricula, providing students with hands-on, practical experiences in a virtual environment.
  3. Blockchain in Education: Utilization of blockchain technology for secure and transparent verification of academic credentials and achievements.
  4. 5G Connectivity: The rollout of 5G networks will enable faster and more reliable internet connections, facilitating smoother online learning experiences.
  5. Growth of Micro-Credentials: The rise of short, focused courses that offer specific skills and competencies to meet the rapidly changing job market demands.
  6. Data-Driven Decision Making: Institutions will increasingly rely on big data analytics to inform educational strategies and improve student outcomes.
  7. Increased Accessibility: Continued efforts to make distance learning more accessible and inclusive, with a focus on addressing the needs of learners with disabilities and those from underserved communities.
  8. Focus on Soft Skills: Online courses will place greater emphasis on developing soft skills such as critical thinking, communication, and collaboration.
  9. Hybrid Learning Environments: A blend of online and traditional classroom learning will become the norm, offering flexibility and personalization.
  10. Global Networking: Distance learning platforms will facilitate international networking, providing students with global connections that can enhance their career prospects.

The Evolving Landscape of Distance Learning

As we reflect on the transformative journey of distance learning, it is evident that this educational model has not only adapted to the changing times but has also been a catalyst for innovation within the educational sector. The key points discussed highlight the significant role technology has played and will continue to play in shaping distance learning. From the early days of correspondence courses to the latest advancements in artificial intelligence and virtual reality, distance learning has consistently pushed the boundaries of what is possible in education.

Looking ahead, the potential long-term impact of distance learning on the educational landscape is profound. It has the power to democratize education, making it more accessible and inclusive, while also providing personalized learning experiences that cater to individual needs and learning styles. The rise of MOOCs, the adoption of hybrid learning models, and the integration of immersive technologies are just a few examples of how distance learning is evolving to meet the demands of a diverse global student population.

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated the adoption of distance learning, and many of the changes implemented during this period are expected to have lasting effects. The shift towards competency-based education, the integration of social learning, and the focus on accessibility and inclusivity will continue to shape distance learning strategies and policies.

As we look to the future, we can predict that distance learning will become even more integrated into the fabric of education. With the continued advancement of technology, the growth of micro-credentials, and the increasing importance of soft skills, distance learning is poised to offer a more connected, personalized, and responsive educational experience.

In sum, the evolution of distance learning is an ongoing process, one that promises to redefine the educational experience for students and educators alike. Its trajectory suggests a future where learning is not confined by physical boundaries, time constraints, or one-size-fits-all approaches, but is instead a dynamic and inclusive journey that meets learners where they are and helps them get to where they want to be.

The post The Evolution of Distance Learning: Trends and Predictions for the Next Decade appeared first on Berger.

Angus MacNeil (Na h-Eileanan an Iar)

A pleasure taking part in Paul’s bill, which ensures any local government staff appointed on salaries over £100k must be voted on first by councillors.

Question on the Prison Building Programme

Jerome Mayhew (Broadland)

I am glad to hear that the contingency contained in the letter was not required. We can tell how tough this Government are being on crime and criminals by the very heavy population in our prison estate. The long-term solution is to build more prisons. Can the Minister update us on when he estimates…

Alex Cunningham and Chris McDonald Visit KP Snacks

Alex Cunningham (Stockton North)


Brendan O'Hara (Argyll and Bute)

Aldridge School Visit and Q&A

Wendy Morton (Aldridge-Brownhills)

I had an amazing afternoon visiting Aldridge School and watching their recent PHSE film that was produced in collaboration with Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust – Walsall Manor Hospital and Community Health. It’s clear that there is exceptional talent right here in Aldridge.

During the visit, I had the pleasure of engaging with students who challenged me with insightful questions about Westminster and Parliament, my journey into politics, and the various roles and responsibilities I have had.

A special thank you to Miss Irving, Head of Drama, and all the students involved in the film and Q&A session.

Nigel’s May Newsletter

Nigel Mills (Amber Valley)


Dear Constituent,

Welcome to my latest email newsletter to provide you with some updates on what’s been happening both in Parliament and around Amber Valley since my last newsletter.

It has been a busy couple of months in Parliament, with the enactment of the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Act 2024, a piece of legislation that I supported. Inflation is now down again, and the tax cuts announced by the Chancellor in the Spring Budget are starting to take effect. In local news, the Department for Transport is entering formal discussions with Alstom about an order for ten new trains, which would help save the factory in Derby.

Tackling illegal immigration:

Immigration, as I have noted in previous newsletters, is an important issue for constituents. High levels of illegal migration are simply not sustainable: it has an impact on our ability to help those genuinely in danger who might come via our safe and legal routes.

Therefore, I am sure that you will be pleased to hear that the Safety of Rwanda (and Immigration) Act 2024 is now in operation. The Act is key to the Government’s pledge of stopping the boats. It provides that Rwanda is a safe country, notwithstanding UK law or any interpretation of international law. Those who arrive on our shores illegally will be sent to Rwanda and they will not be able to apply for return to the UK. The Rwanda scheme also acts as a deterrent – it eliminates the incentive to come to our country. The deterrent effect is already working: migrants are already leaving the UK and going to Ireland because they fear deportation to Rwanda. 

After consistently supporting the legislation at every opportunity, I’m eager to see the flights to Rwanda commence during the summer months.

Alstom’s Derby Plant – Saved!

Last month, Alstom was in redundancy talks over 1,300 manufacturing plant jobs as it was planning to shut production lines at its plant on Litchurch Lane. The closure of that plant would have also put 15,000 indirect jobs at risk. I raised this issue with the Minister of State for Transport, Huw Merriman, in the House of Commons Chamber, and you can find this here.

I am pleased to inform you that the Government has stepped in to save the plant – intense negotiations are now underway for Alstom to deliver ten new trains for the Elizabeth Line. I have had a meeting with the Secretary of State for Transport, Mark Harper, who reassured me that his Department is asking Alstom to confirm their long-term commitment to invest in Derby. The onus is now on Alstom to provide competitive pricing for the work and full transparency on its costings to enable this to progress to a satisfactory and swift closure.

I understand that the negotiations will conclude discussions no later than the end of May. Watch this space!

Positive economic news:

Three weeks ago, inflation fell to 3.2% – faster than expected and down from a peak of 11.1%. This is the lowest level in nearly two and a half years; low inflation helps our money go further. The Prime Minister made lowering inflation one of his five priorities; I am glad that he is delivering on his word.

In my March Budget Special Newsletter, I discussed the cuts to national insurance. These cuts came into effect from 6th April: the upshot is that the average worker will have an additional £900 in their pockets.

Mayor & Police & Crime Commissioner election results:

On 2nd May, elections were held for the Derbyshire Police & Crime Commissioner and new East Midlands Mayor. Both of these were won by the Labour Party, with Nicolle Ndiweni elected as the new Police & Crime Commissioner, and Claire Ward as the new Mayor. You can find the full results of the elections here.

Whilst clearly disappointed that the Conservative candidates of Angelique Foster (for PCC) and Ben Bradley (for Mayor) weren’t successful on this occasion, my congratulations go to Nicolle and Claire, and I look forward to working with them where appropriate, as well as holding them to account, for the benefit of Amber Valley. 

National Grid Chesterfield to Willington new line proposals:

Constituents may be aware of the launch of a new consultation by National Grid on a new overhead electricity line between Willington and Chesterfield. 

The route will run through Amber Valley from South Wingfield to Coxbench/Smalley with 3×50 metre high pylons every kilometre which would have a significant impact on the countryside.

The consultation is now open and will close on 9 July. You can find the full proposals here

East Midlands APPG launch:

As Co-Chair of the East Midlands APPG, it was a pleasure for me to host the official launch of the East Midlands Chamber’s Manifesto for Growth 2024. The Chamber is the voice for business in the region, with a growing membership of more than 4,100 businesses. In the Manifesto, the Chamber asks for greater investment in transport and digital infrastructure; skills reform to recruit and retain employees; and simplification of the tax system for businesses. I fully endorse the work that the Chamber does to highlight the priorities of local businesses in our region.

Supporting SEND education:

From reading your emails, I know that constituents are concerned about supporting Special Educational Needs education in our local schools. Therefore, I am glad that the Secretary of State for Education has allocated £15 million to Derbyshire to deliver more special needs places. The funding will be used to improve the accessibility of buildings and provide more specialist support for children with additional needs.

Parliamentary contributions:

Denby and Smalley Solar Farm Plans

In Prime Minister’s Questions, I spoke about the two huge solar farm applications in Smalley and Denby – which would sit just 500 meters from each other. Having had meetings with constituents about this issue, I urge that planning guidance should be changed to make it clear that solar farms must not displace productive farms in the Green Belt. Indeed, the investment should go on appropriate sites such as car parks or brownfield land. Building solar farms on agricultural land puts our food security at risk – a point made by the Prime Minister himself. I will continue to campaign against the building of those solar farms. You can find my question and the Prime Minister’s reply in full here.

The Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) Campaign

I have spoken to many constituents who were affected by the changes to the state pension age. I also most recently met with a group of women who were part of the WASPI campaign. I decided to raise this issue in the House of Commons: having read the report published by the Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman, I urged the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Mel Stride, to compensate the women who have been affected. This issue has gone on for long enough – I hope that the Government makes a decision on this matter quickly. You can find the full questions and debate here.

Street Watch:

As always, if there are any street repairs in your area, such as potholes, pavement repairs or broken street lights, you can report these issues and concerns to me quickly and easily here so I can ask for the repairs to be investigated and addressed.

GDPR and privacy notice:

Data laws changed with the introduction of the new GDPR legislation: you can find my office’s privacy policy here and, if you don’t want to receive these emails anymore, you can unsubscribe here.

Get in Touch!

As always, you can contact me by hitting the ‘reply’ button on this email, or you can ring my office on 01773 744341.

Twitter and Facebook

You can also follow me on Twitter @NigelMills and like me on Facebook here to stay up to date with news and events in Amber Valley throughout the month.

Yours sincerely,


Promoted by Nigel Mills MP, of Unicorn House, Wellington Street, Ripley, Derbyshire, DE5 3EH.

You’re receiving this newsletter because you subscribed to my mailing list.

Would you like to unsubscribe? Unsubscribe from this Newsletter here.

The post Nigel’s May Newsletter appeared first on Nigel Mills MP.

Robin Millar MP for Aberconwy and Laura Anne Jones MS for South Wales East wrote a piece for The Telegraph outlining their concerns in Wales following the publication of the Cass Review. You can read this below:    For years, parents, teachers, clinicians, women’s-rights groups and others across …

Local Update

Chris Grayling (Epsom and Ewell)

Dear constituent

I am writing to you with an update about three local issues.

M25 closure – planned for 13th May

Firstly, if you have not already been told, the next closure of the M25 will take place from 9pm on Friday 10 May to 6am on Monday 13 May between junction 9 (Leatherhead/Epsom) and 10 (Wisley) in both directions. Whereas last time we were not particularly touched because the closure was the other side of Junction 10, this time we will be much more directly affected. The diversionary route will run through this area. All the details are here


But the advice from the project team is to avoid driving locally that weekend if at all possible.

South Western Railways – overcrowding on Waterloo line

I met South Western Railway’s new Chief Executive last week to discuss the continuing issue of overcrowding on the Waterloo line, particularly for people trying to catch trains at Worcester Park. I managed to get them to introduce two semi-fast trains in the evening peak last year to help with the issue, but the morning peak remains a real problem. I have been pushing them to give us two extra morning trains as well.

At the moment the issue is that they do not have enough rolling stock to increase the number of services. The new ten coach trains have been delivered, but the company has not yet been able to reach an agreement with the unions to use them. Very frustrating. And the passengers suffer.

When and if this gets resolved, the first new trains will go onto the Windsor line, but SWR have promised to make extra capacity available on our line at that time. In the meantime I am pushing them at least to reorganise their existing fleet to get a couple of ten coach services into the morning peak for the time being. I will keep you updated.

Castle Road Footbridge

I met the Regional Director of Network Rail on the site of the Castle Road footbridge a couple of weeks ago to push for more rapid action to replace the bridge, which had to be removed because it was structurally unsound.

He has promised me that the work is now going ahead, and will be done this year. It will involve a full closure of the line later in the year, but in the meantime there is a lot of piling and preparatory work to be done on the site. They will be consulting residents about the impact of this shortly.

Home Start – Volunteers

Finally, I have had a request from the local branch of Home Start who are looking for volunteers. If you do not know the charity, it uses experienced parents and grandparents to provide support for vulnerable families in the area.

Volunteers Fair

I am planning another volunteer fair for local charities next month, and will circulate details of that shortly. But if you are interested in helping Home Start, please email Tracey Cobb  at Tracey.Cobb@hseeb.org.uk.

I hope you are keeping well

With best wishes


The post Local Update appeared first on Chris Grayling.

Local MP Martin Docherty-Hughes has challenged both Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer to deliver a cast-iron guarantee that they will fully compensate the 6,000 WASPI women in West Dunbartonshire.

SNP MP Docherty-Hughes has warned that a failure to right the wrongs of unfair changes to state pension age would be a “betrayal to the women in Scotland who have been so badly let down Westminster”.

It follows the publication of a report last month by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) which calls on the UK parliament to provide suitable compensation for the country’s estimated 3.6 million WASPI women.

Both the Tories and Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour Party have been criticised by campaigners for failing to give a guarantee that their parties will honour Westminster’s responsibility to provide justice and fully compensate the 1950s-born WASPI women.

The House of Commons Library estimates that a total of 6,020 women in West Dunbartonshire have been hit by unfair changes to their state pension age, with over 335,000 impacted across Scotland. 

Commenting, local MP Martin Docherty-Hughes said:

“Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer must finally give a cast-iron guarantee to the WASPI women in West Dunbartonshire that they will be fully compensated for this huge Westminster scandal.

“For too long, more than 6,000 women in my constituency have been silenced – but no longer. 

“The report from the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman could not have been clearer – the WASPI women were failed, and they were failed by Westminster. 

“So whether it’s Rishi Sunak or Sir Keir Starmer that enters No. 10 after the next general election, both political leaders must now commit to fully compensating the millions of women who have been let down by the system.

“A failure to do so would be a betrayal to the women in Scotland who have been so badly let down. They have suffered for long enough. It is time for action.”

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Skegness Grammar School played host to Matt Warman MP’s second annual William of Waynflete (WoW) inter-school debate competition, with Boston High School proclaimed worthy winners for the second year running. Boston Grammar School were runners up and all participants received medals kindly sponsored by Chattertons Solicitors and Wealth Management.


Skegness Grammar School was originally founded in Wainfleet by William of Waynflete in 1483 as a feeder school for Magdalen College Oxford , also founded by William, and the site still stands currently housing the Wainfleet library.


The debate competition was named after William who rose from humble beginnings to become Lord Chancellor of England as well as first Provost of Eton and Bishop of Winchester. It aims to raise aspiration in local students by encouraging confidence in public speaking. Four teams from Skegness and Boston Grammar Schools, Boston High School and Skegness academy, competed to ‘do battle with words’ – a concept appropriate for a parliamentary style debate which as Matt pointed out, originates from the 11th century Old French parlement  meaning “discussion, discourse”.


Commenting after the event Matt Warman MP said – ‘I was delighted to extend the opportunity again for year 12 students to debate some of the most pressing issues of our time. From AI to freedom of speech, debaters showed an excellent grasp of the issues with thorough research and engaging arguments. Since my first debate last year I’ve been heartened to hear that in addition to the trip I arranged to the Houses of Parliament, schools have formed their own debate societies, held their own competitions and in one case travelled as far as Scotland to participate in debates.


The All-party Parliamentary Group on Oracy argues that Oracy should be counted alongside literacy and numeracy as a Foundational Skill with evidence showing that oracy improves academic outcomes and supports wellbeing and confidence. I am pleased to play my part in highlighting the importance of this skill and delighted that local schools have been so keen to ensure their pupils benefit.’

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Diana Johnson (Kingston upon Hull North)

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New GP Surgery Back on Track for Shifnal

Mark Pritchard (The Wrekin)

New GP Surgery Back on Track for Shifnal

The local Clinical Commissioning Group has confirmed that the funding is in place to build a new GP surgery for Shifnal.

Commenting, Mark Pritchard MP said:

"I'm delighted that, in the last 24 hours, the Shropshire NHS Clinical Commissioning Group has confirmed to me that the new GP surgery in Shifnal will go ahead this year.  The building plans are well advanced and NHS England has provided the extra funding needed.  Local councillors and Shifnal Matters 2021 have supported me in pushing for this new surgery, and I'm glad that the NHS has listened to local needs."

New Hospital in Sutton Confirmed

Paul Scully (Sutton and Cheam)

I am delighted to write and tell you that local NHS leaders have confirmed plans for a new hospital to be built in Sutton and to upgrade facilities at St Helier. This represents a £500 MILLION plan that will not only build a brand new state of the art hospital near to the Royal Marsden by 2025, but ALSO invest AT LEAST £80 MILLION into upgrades at St Helier.

The new specialist emergency care hospital, just a few minutes from St Helier, would treat the sickest 15% of patients, those normally arriving by ambulance. This larger specialist team would be available 24 hours a day to diagnose what is wrong with patients more rapidly, start the best treatment faster, and help patients recover more quickly. St Helier and Epsom Hospitals will remain open 24/7, with updated and improved facilities, providing all the other services that they currently do.

My children were born at St. Helier so healthcare provision in Sutton has been an issue that is a very personal one to me. Ever since being a councillor in Carshalton, some 14 years ago, I have been campaigning for a solution that protects the future of St. Helier whilst ensuring that Sutton residents have access to the very best treatment in cutting edge modern healthcare facilities. I believe that this decision can finally put to rest the political arguments so that we can get on with doing what’s best for residents across the whole of the borough of Sutton.

With this plan, the refurbished St Helier Hospital is here to stay providing the majority of local health services, and the sickest patients will get state-of-the-art treatment in the brand-new specialist emergency hospital right here in our area.

You can find out more about the plans, including the answers to some frequently asked questions at the NHS’ website: www.improvinghealthcaretogether.org.uk. You can also contact them at hello@improvinghealthcaretogether.org.uk, or get in touch with me with any queries.


Why is this being done?

To improve the care that we receive. As St Helier’s buildings continue to age over time, it’s necessary to upgrade our healthcare facilities to improve outcomes. Surviving illness and recovering quickly is the number one priority.

Is St Helier closing?

No, quite the opposite. St Helier is here to stay with a multi-million-pound improvement package.

Is a new hospital being built?

Yes. A new specialist emergency care hospital will be built in Sutton, in addition to improving St Helier hospital.

Is St Helier getting an upgrade?

Yes. At least £80 million of the funding promised will go towards improving the facilities at St Helier hospital.

Who developed these proposals?

For the first time, we have a plan that was developed by local clinicians, not national bureaucrats or politicians. Local healthcare professionals made the case for funding to deliver this improvement, which has been rewarded with a £500 million investment. Sutton Council also supported the proposals last year.

Will I have to travel outside my area for services now?

At the moment, if you have a stroke or heart attack you will be taken past St. Helier to be treated at St. George’s. This plan means that we will still be able to treat people within the local area, not moving more services away from Sutton.

Will we still use St Helier?

Yes. From 2025, Epsom hospital, St Helier hospital and the new hospital at Sutton will all have a 24/7 Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) (which already treats the vast majority of people going to St. Helier in an emergency). Under the plans, 85% of services will remain at St Helier. Both Epsom and St Helier hospitals will still have a 24/7 UTC.

Diagnostic tests, such as MRI, x-ray or ultrasound, the heart problem diagnosis unit, the dialysis unit, Croft Ward (which takes care of patients who are stable but not ready to leave hospital), the eye care unit, the gastroenterology unit, and so many more services are staying put at Epsom and St Helier hospitals.

What about bed numbers?

The NHS have calculated that they will need the same number of beds as they do now.

What about A&E?

Unlike previous plans, which saw A&E diverted away into Tooting, A&E is now staying right here in our Borough at the new hospital. Most of the time you will still use St Helier for matters requiring immediate medical attention like broken limbs or cuts. Major trauma cases needing a blue light ambulance transfer will be treated in Sutton at the new state-of-the-art hospital next to The Royal Marsden.

What about maternity services?

Maternity services have also been protected and kept locally. Post-natal and ante-natal care are staying put at Epsom and St Helier hospitals, and births will take place in the brand-new maternity unit at the new hospital in Sutton built to the very latest healthcare standards. Women need the very best care and facilities when giving birth, and the new plans will provide that.

Where will children services be provided?

Most children will continue to receive care and treatment in the same place as they do now. Care for children who need to stay in hospital overnight – as a result of a serious illness or complex problems – will be treated at the new specialist emergency care hospital. This includes children’s surgery.  

What will happen until the new hospital in Sutton is built?

All services will continue to be carried out at Epsom and St Helier hospitals until such time the new hospital in Sutton is ready for patients.

Where will the new hospital be built?

After consulting residents, patient groups and healthcare professionals, the decision was taken to build a brand-new specialist emergency care hospital in Sutton. This will be combined with the necessary infrastructure and transport links to ensure the site of the new hospital is accessible to all that need to use it.

For more facts, and to find out what this multi-million-pound government investment in our local NHS will mean for you and your family, visit the following website: www.improvinghealthcaretogether.org.uk/faq.

Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock)

This website is discontinued. Please visit my new website: StephenMetcalfe.org.uk 

MP meets South Downs farmers

Nick Herbert (Arundel and South Downs)

Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert met South Downs farmers on Friday (19 January) to discuss the challenges they face as Britain leaves the EU and…

Mhairi Black to Young People: Don’t let the Tories leave you behind

Mhairi Black (Paisley and Renfrewshire South)

A vote for the SNP is a vote to stand up for young people against the Tories, Mhairi Black has said, she urged young voters to use their voice in this Thursday’s election.
In government, the SNP has protected and expanded the Education Maintenance Allowance which has been scrapped south of the border, and has abolished university tuition fees in Scotland while the Tories have increased them to £27,000.

The SNP has also increased the number of Modern Apprenticeships, with a target of 30,000 new starts by the end of this Parliament.

The SNP manifesto commits to a real Living Wage – projected to be just over £10 by the end of the parliament for all workers aged 18 and above – creating a new single adult rate.

SNP MPs will also support a ban on exploitative zero-hours contracts and will support votes at 16 at all elections.

Commenting, Mhairi Black said:

“A vote for the SNP is a vote for a strong team of MPs who’ll stand up for young people – calling for a fair and equal minimum wage, protecting rights in the workplace and votes at 16 in all elections.

“The SNP are already delivering for Scotland’s young people, delivering free university education and with youth unemployment at the lowest level on record – while the Tory vision is just cut after cut.

“The Tories think they can do anything they want to young people and get away with it – from hiking tuition fees to slashing housing benefit for young people and much more.

“That’s why it’s so important that young people turn up and vote – don’t let the Tory government leave you behind.

“Any Tory MPs elected in Scotland will simply rubberstamp whatever the Tory government does to young people, and Labour can’t win this election in Scotland – meaning that voting Labour risks letting Tory MPs in by the back door.

“Now more than ever, it is vital to have strong SNP voices standing up for Scotland. Only then can we protect Scotland from the dangers of an unopposed Tory government at Westminster.”


Here’s how strong SNP voices will stand up for young people at Westminster.

– SNP MPs won’t let the Tories trade away Scottish jobs in the Brexit negotiations – we will work to protect Scotland’s place in the Single Market.

– We will back a transition over the next parliamentary term towards payment of the real Living wage for all adults above the age of 18. This will mean a new single adult rate and will see the UK minimum wage to rise to the real Living Wage, projected to be just over £10.

– We will guarantee the continuation of free university education in Scotland, protecting students in Scotland from paying up to £27,000 of fees.

– In Scotland, we are mitigating the Tory decision to withdraw housing support from 18 to 21 year olds. We will fight for the restoration of this support across the UK, alongside scrapping the Bedroom Tax.

– SNP MPs will look to introduce our own legislative proposals to give 16 and 17 year olds a vote in all elections.

– In Scotland, youth unemployment is already at the lowest level on record. SNP MPs will support the devolution of employment and employability powers so we can extend our successful approach on youth employment.

– To help businesses create jobs, we will propose a doubling of the Employment Allowance – the discount businesses receive on National Insurance when they create jobs.

– We will press the UK government to ban exploitative zero-hours contracts, and to ensure that workers have appropriate rights and protections, including holiday and sick pay. And we will work to ensure that the rights and protections currently safeguarded by EU membership are not diminished.

– We will work to protect opportunities for young people to study and train in other European countries through the ERASMUS+ scheme.

– We will continue to work with Scotland’s universities and institutions to seek clarity from the UK government on what will replace EU research funding for Scotland’s universities.

On being a woman in politics

Alison Thewliss (Glasgow Central)

A few things have recently been rattling around in my head which concern women in politics; I've been trying to gather some ideas as to why there aren't more of us, and how I might encourage female candidates to come forward. At the same time, I noticed that the launch of the Counting Women In campaign, couldn't miss the outrageous attack on Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP, and I've been enjoying Winnie Ewing's very readable autobiography. I've also been out on the doorsteps for Ken Andrew in Hillhead.

All of these together really say: the culture of politics in the UK is what's at fault. Women don't think it's for them and just disengage. 

Now, obviously that's a generalisation. I'm a woman, and I'm very engaged in politics. I'm prepared to accept I'm a bit odd.

I chapped on a door the other week while canvassing. I had Alexander with me in the pram. A woman answered, I politely introduced myself and my purpose on her doorstep - she shook her head and told me she wasn't interested. I asked why. She firmly asserted that all politicians are just the same. I asked her if anyone from any political party had ever come to see her with a baby in a pram. She thought briefly, admitted that'd never happened, and sent me on my way. 

I'm not sure whether that experience tells me whether I ought to a) leave the wee man at home or b) work on my doorstep pizzaz, but I bet that woman had opinions on all kinds of things. I don't think she believes them to be particularly political - provision of care services, or bin collection, say - but in the end they're determined by politicians. I want women like her to tell me what she wants and why it matters. More than that, I want women who care about issues to join political parties to further that cause. There are all kinds of causes promoted within the SNP, and I will most likely welcome you in.

I'm sure I've said before that I've always felt welcomed as a woman in the SNP, and that remains true. I'm not sure how Labour men treat women in general (not great by some accounts, which appear to be no barrier to reselection), but they're certainly not great at giving SNP women the respect they are due.

I recalled hearing when Winnie's book came out that she had been bullied while at Westminster. The Scotsman's 2007 interview put it thus:

As the lone SNP member in the Commons - at best an intimidating place for an inexperienced politician - she found herself without friends, without party colleagues, without any supporting structures. She was completely alone. She was hundreds of miles from her husband and her children in an excessively macho and very hostile environment. "I was treated as the enemy, I was shunned and despised. It's a peculiar experience to suddenly find yourself hated. At times I did feel terribly lonely, close to despair." 

Reading the autobiography, you really get a vivid picture of the pressure Winnie Ewing was under as an MP on her own. Her every action was scrutinised; if she didn't attend a debate, the other parties would ensure it got in the papers. The nuances of what said were taken apart. She was under political and personal attack from all sides and, even more sinister, stalked by another MP. Interventions by others had some impact, but it must have been a great emotional strain.

What I didn't know was that when Winnie was appointed as an MEP (pre-democratic elections to Europe), the bad behaviour of two particular Labour bullies continued in the European Parliament when she was alone again, deliberately working to ridicule and undermine her for over a year. By the account in the autobiography, this only ended when the President of the Parliament intervened, threatening to have them withdrawn as being "not fit to represent their country and Parliament in Europe".

You might think that, around forty years later, a female SNP MP might expect some kind of change to have occurred in attitudes, as with wider society. Women are accepted in a range of jobs, universities are gaining majorities of female students, there are innumerable opportunities and directions for careers. And then, there's Ian Davidson MP.

Eilidh has written a revealing article in the Scotland on Sunday - I'd urge you to read the full article, but I think this small quote does illustrate the point perfectly:

"It does not matter that all I had done was disagree with the committee. In fact what inspired Mr Davidson’s remark is utterly irrelevant. There is no action, no misbehaviour that justifies the threat or act of “a doing”. We hear too often of women being told they were “asking for it” in justification for intimidation or violence. I never expected to hear that from an MP in Parliament.

But this is not simply an issue of aggression towards woman; it’s about a culture of intimidation and bullying affecting men and women that seems to flourish with impunity in the Westminster world."

The tragedy is that it's primarily through this Westminster lens that the viewing population sees politics and politicians. They see argument, they see confrontation; they see crowds of boorish suits moaning a weary "hear hear". And they switch off. They say "that's not for me".

They don't see a politician arguing the case with a housing association, trying to help a vulnerable tenant. They don't see someone working on a committee, trying to improve a policy that will help improve children's health. They don't see the joy that is presenting prizes to year groups of school students, with the hope that you can encourage them in that tiny second as you shake their hand. They don't know what a privilege it is to be invited into so many lives and homes, to meet with groups and organisations and offer what help you can.

The work of politics should never be that yah boo nonsense that men excel at and so many women hate. More women should be in politics for the fantastic difference they can make every day.

Made by @davorg / Last built: Sunday 14 July 2024 06:30