Monday, 24 June Start the week at the Chelmsford Civic Centre for the annual flag raising for Armed Forces Day. Very moving. It was very good to speak to members of the armed services and representatives from the Royal British Legion. Thank you for all you do. I popped into Sanctus café and was told by one of the customers that my red shoes had been written about in a national newspaper! Yes, I really did buy them at Waterloo station in a rainstorm.
Off to Hylands House to meet primary school students from all over Chelmsford for the first ever young people’s conference. We discuss the environment and climate change and I explain that I was on my way to Westminster to vote for new “net zero” laws. This will make the UK the first major economy to commit to end greenhouse gas emissions.
In the House of Commons MPs quiz the Prime Minister on her latest meetings with EU leaders, where she has been discussing the need to de-escalate tensions in Iran and encouraging all countries to tackle climate change. I speak at a special event to celebrate UK-India day and meet with Jeremy Hunt’s team to discuss plans for his leadership campaign – he may be coming to Essex!
In the evening we are delighted when the new “Net Zero” law is passed unanimously. steps 11,410
Tuesday, 25 June Busy, busy morning helping the Foreign Office team for their monthly “Oral Questions” session with MPs. There are questions on Iran, Hong Kong, China, Venezuela and many more. Helpful meeting with the Science and Universities Minister on the plans for a fund to support mental health initiatives for students. I also tell him about the ground-breaking work that is happening at Teledyne e2v in Chelmsford on quantum technology.
I join colleagues from the Conservative Environment Network for discussions with the Chancellor. We are keen to press for improvements in incentivising energy efficiency in homes, improved electric vehicle charging infrastructure and a rethink on how better to incentivise solar power installations. Then back to Chelmsford to get ready for a visit tomorrow.
On the way home, I am stopped at the station and asked for money. A resident comes to explain that this is now happening quite regularly, and he is worried that this is antisocial behaviour related to drugs. I contact the police, who respond quickly but the individuals have moved on. Please do report any incidents to the police as they are watching this very closely. You can report online which saves time. steps 11,122
Wednesday, 26 June Up early. Jeremy Hunt is coming to Chelmsford but because of security concerns I have not been allowed to tell anyone until the morning of the visit! He wants to meet members of the public, small businesses and Party members. We walk the route, I am keen for him to meet traders in the Covered Market as they have been having a tricky time during the refurbishment. They are delighted to her that the Foreign Secretary is on his way.
There is a real buzz when Jeremy arrives. As we walk through the town lots of people stop to chat, including students, shoppers, and many business owners. Chelmsford is looking great and there are lots of TV cameras. What a great opportunity to show off our city. Thank you especially to Acanteen where we stopped for a drink and all the market stall holders! What a morning.
Sandwich on the train back to Westminster. I host a delegation from the Malaysian Parliament and then meet Chelmsford constituents who are in London for a mass lobby for climate change. Unfortunately, I can’t leave the House of Commons as votes are expected but a number of visitors come into Parliament. It’s particularly good to meet the wonderful nuns Sister Margaret and Sister Moira who do so much good in Melbourne. We discuss climate change, removing fossil fuels, improving our energy networks and the route towards net zero.
I finish a busy day by going to the Iranian Embassy, where Richard Ratcliffe, the husband of Nazanin, is on day 12 of a hunger strike. He is such a brave man and passionate to make sure no one forgets his wife whilst she is in prison. steps 14,344
Thursday, 27 June Proud mum day for the graduation ceremony of our oldest child – how time flies! steps 5,517
Friday, 28 June Wonderful visit to Little Faces Nursery, the owner Jane has been writing to me about how to improve the way parents are given support for child care. It’s a super nursery, the staff are friendly, and the children are full of energy, I even join them in the sandpit! Then to Anglia Ruskin University for the annual school’s technology competition. Many congratulations to all the entrants, especially Alex from Great Baddow High School for her interactive virtual reality gaming chair – Top Gun in your own sitting room – and the group who have designed a “Lazy River” to entertain the otters in Colchester zoo.
Over to Longacre to meet residents who are deeply concerned about the building work taking place on an industrial site next door. I promise to help them and arrange for the City Council to send over some environmental health experts. I enjoy afternoon tea, cake and a sing song with residents at the Admirals Reach care home – what a lovely atmosphere. In Springfield I join teenagers at the Youth Club for a special session with a self defence expert. They are boisterous at the end of the week but Mark, the trainer, encourages them all to think about their own safety and gives many helpful tips. steps 4,894
Saturday, 29 June Get my steps in delivering annual reports to homes in the St John’s development. I chat about the leadership election with some residents.
Sunday, 30 June Thank you to the Mayor for inviting me to the annual service at Chelmsford Cathedral. Lovely music and so many friends.