It is clear that when Sussex MPs work together, particularly across the current three political groups, that many people feel encouraged. There are of course many times when the political groups are so opposed that the prospect of joint working becomes almost impossible. However, when issues emerge that will benefit our area it is worth promoting them together.
Later this week there is a debate in the Westminster Hall on a theme that makes great sense for many people. The issue is being set out by Caroline Ansell, the MP for Eastbourne which she has raised twice in question times earlier this year. It is very clear across the whole of Sussex how important this is for our area. If other MPs can stand alongside Caroline and endorse this, perhaps the change could be achieved. The title for the debate which is due to take place on Wednesday is “Transportation between sites in multi-hospital NHS Trusts” which contains a clear reference for at least three of our current Sussex MPs. Maria Caulfield from Lewes and Gillian Keegan from Chichester are both Ministers for the Department of Health and Social Care and Huw Merriman from Bexhill and Battle is the Chair of the Transport Select Committee. Let us hope that they will all take part in this discussion and it would be even more encouraging if other Sussex MPs will take part, due to the way this theme impacts on our community. Perhaps over the next few days their constituents could contact them and ask them to participate and then perhaps a plan could emerge from the discussion. It is clear that many people in Sussex would benefit from a good outcome if it can be achieved. The second comment that Caroline made towards the end of January was
“one in four households in Eastbourne do not have a car and public transport options are poor. There is no direct bus service; the journey can mean two buses and take two hours, and funding—financial support for some—is very narrowly defined.“
It is clear that this context relates in a wide range of places in Sussex and so involvement from a number of Sussex MPs would be very helpful.
Last week there was at least one example of how Sussex MPs can cover similar calls and another one which clearly needs others to work together for the sake of our area. The joint approach took place at the beginning of the week when Elizabeth Truss held a debate on the Sanctions that the Government is currently setting out on Russia. It is of course easy to be concerned at how connected the Conservative Party has been to senior people in the Russian community and we know the Sanctions are far too limited. However, we can be grateful for the MPs who have called for assistance for people in Ukraine and to support Russian residents who are opposed to the war. The two Sussex MPs who took part in the Sanction debate were Caroline Lucas from Brighton Pavilion and Sally-Ann Hart from Hastings and Rye. The first to speak was Caroline who raised a question that she had already raised previously with Truss to enable a constituent to be joined by her grandmother who is currently in Ukraine. Tragically she has been told she must travel 300 miles to get a Visa before she can travel to the UK. Caroline made clear she was told to contact the Home Office and sadly they ignored her call. Truss stated that she would raise it with Priti Patel, so let us hope that the Home Office will respond. A few minutes later Sally-Ann focused on support for the Russian who oppose the war. She stated
“Will my right hon. Friend join me in urging the Russian people, and those in the Kremlin who do not agree with Mr Putin, to do whatever it takes to bring Russia back from the brink and stop Putin?.”
Truss claimed that she agreed so let us hope that this view will be strongly adopted by our Nation, irrespective of which political party the MPs are part of. The other example I spotted was a call by Caroline Lucas on Wednesday when she stated
“the COP26 priorities contain a commitment to keep 1.5° alive, yet the UN Environment Programme production gap report warns that Governments plan to produce more than twice the amount of fossil fuels in 2030 than is consistent with 1.5°.”
The response from Alok Sharma was “We put forward a plan” and that a “consultation closed on Monday” and that the “Department will come forward with its views on the checkpoint in due course.” We now need all MPs to endorse the call from Caroline Lucas and the United Nation to reduce the fossil fuels.