There is widespread agreement that the UK Government needs to tackle immigration and reduce the number of people arriving here illegally. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced a series of measures to deal with both. The visa system is being changed to ensure that employers cannot undercut wages by bringing in people from abroad and paying them less money than they would have to pay a British worker. At the same time, there will be restrictions on people coming to the UK and bringing in large numbers of dependents. We must also do something to discourage people from illegally crossing the English Channel, although small-boat arrivals of migrants are down a third compared with last year. However, around 50,000 migrants have still entered the UK without permission in 2023. I fully support the plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda while their claims are processed. Those who are genuine will be happy to be in a safe place and those who are simply trying to come to the UK will think twice about making the journey. It is proving to be very difficult to strengthen our asylum process because of a sustained attempt by many people to thwart it through the courts. But ultimately it should be Parliament that decides on the immigration policy of this country and not lawyers. I will be doing everything possible to support the Rwanda scheme.
Democracy came to the classroom of Archbishop Rowan Williams Primary School in Portskewett on Thursday when I visited to talk about my role as an MP. Year 5 pupils have been participating in the annual UK Parliament Week and I was kindly asked to take part in an educational Q&A session with them. I also shared my ‘A Day in the Life’ visual presentation - a behind the scenes look at the workings of Westminster which details what MPs get up to in their constituencies, as well as in London. Afterwards, I had a lively discussion with Year 6 pupils about government action to tackle climate change. It was an absolute joy to spend time with the children and they asked lots of intelligent questions. Thank you for inviting me!
Monmouth has been voted the happiest place to live in Wales – and takes third spot on the Great Britain rankings too. I couldn’t agree more…yet I doubt we will be top of the list next year if plans go ahead to slap residents with a potential 16 per cent council tax hike. I very much hope Welsh Labour, which runs Monmouthshire County Council, will work with me and the Conservative group to stop that from happening.
*Published in the Monmouthshire Beacon on 13 December 2023 and Abergavenny Chronicle on 14 December 2023*