Thursday, 4 May 2017

Visiting new UPS development at DP World

I was pleased to visit the UPS development at their DP World site to view the progress in construction of their brand new UK centre.

I saw first-hand the work on the construction and was informed that the facility will be fully operational in the near future, which is very positive news.

Once operational it will be the first fully automated hub in Britain. It's an exciting development in the area that will bring many new jobs and opportunities to Basildon and Thurrock.

It's also a shining example of the confidence the company has in our post-Brexit local and national economy.

To get in touch about my campaign priorities for South Basildon and East Thurrock please email me at stephen@vote4metcalfe.com. You can also follow me on Twitter: @Metcalfe_SBET.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Football Shirt Friday: Supporting the Bobby Moore Fund with William Hill in Corringham

It was great to visit the William Hill branch in Corringham for the "Football Shirt Friday" initiative, which helps support the Bobby Moore Fund.

The Bobby Moore Fund was set up in 1993 by Stephanie Moore MBE, widow of the England football legend, to raise money to combat bowel cancer and fund live-saving research.

It was the second year in a row that William Hill sponsored Football Shirt Friday and is part of the company's pledge to support local communities.

In Corringham I met Regional Manager Chris Batham and paid a £2 donation to proudly wear my East Thurrock United FC shirt, helping to promote our local club!

During the visit I was shown the mechanisms that William Hill have to encourage responsible betting and also saw the preventative measures in place in the premises.

For a bit of fun the local branch gave me a £50 bet, the proceeds of which will be donated to charity. Naturally I placed it on Tottenham Hotspur to win the Premier League, with odds of 6/1 - a long-shot with Chelsea doing so well but hopefully a winner!

Find out more about the Football Shirt Friday initiative and its work to support the Bobby Moore Fund here.

My call for more powers to address traveller incursions

Ahead of the launch of the Conservative manifesto on 8 May I wrote to the Prime Minister's policy coordinator asking for tougher measures to deal with traveller incursions to be included in the final publication.

I believe more powers for the police to act on their own authority would help protect our local community and environment.

For too long there has been the appearance of one rule for the law-abiding majority and another for travellers who flout existing laws, from trespassing to planning breaches and most recently, in our area, mass fly tipping.

It is clear this must stop.

New powers are needed and the Conservative Government should deliver them so that we all abide by the same laws, suffering the same penalties if the laws are broken.

If I am fortunate enough to be re-elected I will personally take up the issue with the Prime Minister, Home Secretary, and Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Working together I believe we can find a proper solution to these ongoing problems.

To get in touch with me about my campaign priorities for South Basildon and East Thurrock please email me at stephen@vote4metcalfe.com.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Parliament approves General Election 2017

Today I was pleased to vote in favour of holding a General Election on 8 June, as it is clear we must secure the strong and stable leadership the country needs, guiding us through Brexit and beyond.

It has been an honour and privilege to serve as MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock since 2010 and I will again put myself forward for election to represent our area, ensuring local people have a strong voice in Westminster.

The General Election will provide a clear choice between strong and stable leadership with Theresa May as Prime Minister or a weak and unstable coalition government led by Jeremy Corbyn.

Every vote cast for me, Theresa May, and the Conservatives will count towards strengthening Britain's hand in the Brexit negotiations and delivering our long-term vision for the UK.

The Conservatives' Plan for Britain will ensure a better deal for local people, delivering an economy - and a country - that works for everyone.

I look forward to the chance to take the Conservatives' positive message to the people.


Wednesday, 12 April 2017

My statement following the Transport Secretary's announcement of a new Lower Thames Crossing

I am obviously very disappointed and upset by the announcement today that the Secretary of State for Transport will proceed with Highways England's recommendation for a New Lower Thames Crossing at location C and with route 3.

I feel we made a good argument against Option C and associated routes and was convinced we had built a strong case in favour of sorting out the existing crossing before proceeding with any new crossings.

Despite this I am pleased that the Secretary of State has said he looked closely at our arguments and considered alternatives but regret that he did not fully accept our points and has pushed ahead with what I believe to be a flawed decision.

I still believe Option C and route 3 is a mistake in terms of addressing my constituents' concerns about air quality and congestion and I will not stop making that point until the very last moment.

My main concern continues to be that if and when a new crossing is built, if it fails to solve the actual problem, there will be outrage from me and my constituents. There will be anger that our views were not listened to and we will be asking how we made such an error?

While I am disappointed by the decision and will still fundamentally oppose Option C3, I will want to engage with the Department for Transport and Highways England as they come forward with the detailed designs to mitigate its impact as much as possible.

Highways England have a duty to properly engage with local residents and treat them with the respect and dignity they deserve. I will be working with everyone involved to reduce the footprint of the junctions, crossing and associated roads as much as possible so as to save some of Thurrock's green and pleasant land!

Immediately however, I will be seeking an urgent meeting with the Secretary of State for Transport to express our concerns about the decision and call for proper mitigation and consultation. I will also be asking the Secretary of State to meet with local residents to explain how the decision was arrived at so they can understand why our calls for an alternative solution have not been successful.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Meeting Pepper the robot

I enjoyed the chance to visit the Robots exhibition at the Science Museum in London, as part of an event to launch the Science and Technology Committee's new Science Communication and Engagement report.

Pepper is a companion robot with the ability to perceive human emotions and adapt his mood to people he engages with.

Built by Japanese-owned SoftBank Robotics, Pepper is being used for customer relations in over 140 SoftBank Mobile stores in Japan, with other stores set to follow.

I was so impressed with the exhibition and how the Science Museum is helping to inform the public perception of robots. I especially hope that young people with a passion for science and technology see how robotics can be incredibly exciting and also useful: we should see more and more robots like Pepper in our daily lives in future, with what was once science fiction becoming reality in shops, businesses, and homes.

Find out more about the Robots exhibition at the Science Museum here.

Reaction to triggering of Article 50

Yesterday was a momentous day in the history of our country, with the Prime Minister giving EU Council President Donald Tusk formal notification of our decision to leave the European Union.

Following a well-informed and hard-fought referendum, the British public voted to leave the EU in larger numbers than we have seen in any recent General Election.

I am pleased that this decision has been respected and it is now crucial that the Government focuses its efforts on obtaining the best possible deal in the exit negotiations.

By no means will it be an easy process, however I am confident that both sides will want a mutual agreement and for the UK to leave on good terms.

In my role as Chair of Parliament's cross-party Science and Technology Committee, I have already called upon the Government to prioritise the interests of science, particularly around the future of EU nationals in the UK.

I hope that both sides will be able to provide assurances to all our citizens--both EU nations in the UK and UK nationals residing in other EU countries.

I am confident this is achievable and I look forward to contributing to the ongoing debate on our relationship with the EU in Parliament.