A week in the life of Vicky Ford MP

Monday  11,056 steps  Start the week at Teledyne-e2v in Chelmsford.  They are an awesome company.  Their radiotherapy products are used to treat 700,000 cancer patients across the world every day, their space imaging has captured pictures of every planet in our solar system and they are leading the world in applications of quantum technology.  This is an exciting year for Science in Chelmsford as its 100 years since the first ever international radio broadcast from Marconi.  We were launching “Essex2020”, a year of science and creativity which will include hosting the British Science Festival this summer.

In Westminster I host a meeting for MPs with Constituencies on the Great Eastern Main Line and we’ve called in the bosses of Greater Anglia.  We are very concerned about recent performance, especially the number of delays and short-forms, the delays to our new trains and the fare prices.  Greater Anglia explain that there have been software issues with the new trains but these are being resolved.  We will see some of the  new trains shortly but the full rollout will now not be completed until spring 2021.  We ask GA to provide monthly updates on delays and short-forms, regular updates on the new trains, better information to customers on when a short-form is predicted and cost comparisons with other rail operators.  This will help MPs hold them to account.

MPs reconstitute the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Infrastructure.  I was elected as Chair. Infrastructure is important and there are big plans to invest in improved infrastructure across the UK.

I attended the Annual Parliamentary Reception of the Association of British HealthTech Industries (ABHI). We know that to keep our world class NHS we must embrace research and innovation. I supported the campaign for a Chief Innovation Officer in every NHS trust.

MPs debated and voted on the Queen’s Speech, it passed.  Now much work ahead especially delivering the promises for our NHS, Police and Schools.

Tuesday 12,248 steps  In Westminster I spend most of the day in a moving debate about Grenfell Tower.  Its so important to learn the lessons from this dreadful event.  I speak about electrical safety.  The fire in at Grenfell was started by a fridge/freezer and over 10,000 fires last year were due to electrical applicances.   My own father died in an electrical accident so I always support work to improve safety.  I’m backing a campaign by Electrical Safety to make it easier to track and recall faulty appliances.

Wednesday 13,211 steps  Today we debated the amendments from the House of Lords to the Withdrawal Agreement and I’ve been asked to speak.  The amendments are all about important issues, including support for Child Refugees.  The UK is one of the top countries in the world at helping Child Refugees and the policy from the government is not changing.  However, the Withdrawal Agreement is not the correct piece of legislation for this amendment as the detailed Immigration Bill is due to come to parliament shortly. One of the things that has made negotiations with the 27 EU leaders so hard over the past few years is that they did not know if what was agreed with our Government would be backed by our Parliament.  I believe that it is very important for the next stage of trade negotiations that there is a clear signal that the Government does have the backing of Parliament, and hence that additional items should not be added to the agreement after they have been negotiated – especially when there is not actually a policy change.

Met Essex County Councillor, Kevin Bentley to discuss busses, potholes, speeding, Beaulieu Park train station and the Army and Navy.

I met Macmillan volunteers including a representative from the team of volunteers at Broomfield. They do so much to support people living with cancer and their family members.  I joined the launch of the Great British Spring Clean 2020, with Wombles and all!  I supported the new all party groups for Climate Change, Photonics and Apprenticeships and met Friends of the Earth to discuss plastic waste as well as attending very helpful briefing on the landmark Environment Bill which is shortly to come before Parliament.

Thursday 11,976 steps  Very busy day interviewing for a new caseworker.  Over 60 people applied for this role and it will be a difficult choice as it is such a vital job. I signed the Book of Commitment in support of Holocaust Memorial Day which recognises the horrific tragedy that was the Holocaust. We must never forget the horror that mankind can unleash when fuelled by hate.  I spoke in a debate about buses, we do need a longer term plan to improve local buses.  In the evening I joined events to celebrate the election of many more women MPs.   Its great that we now have record numbers of women on the green benches but we are still a minority.

Friday 6,843 steps  Very informative meeting of the Army and Navy Task force.  The work to take down the flyover will commence very soon and plans for the new long term replacement junction are underway.  This is going to be a lengthy process as it is important that design, consultation and planning approvals are all completed thoroughly.  I am pressing for this to happen as quickly as possible.  Into London for the memorial service for my late stepfather, many of his friends and members of the Royal Navy attend.  Very moving. 

I end the week with a very helpful catch-up with our local police.  68 new officers passed out from Essex Police training this week and another 12 are coming to join the Chelmsford and Maldon team. 

Much progress is being made on tackling drug dealing and every week the police are arresting dealers.  This is often thanks to information from local residents.  Please do keep reporting any incidents you see.  

Regarding recent burglaries.  These “Millennium Style” burglaries are usually targeting high value cars. The perpetrators tend to target one area for a couple of days and them move on. Please do keep your car keys in a Faraday pouch to prevent them being cloned.  The pouches are available on line or for free from the local police.  Evidence from the public has been very helpful, especially CCTV or doorbell camera evidence. 

Regarding aggressive begging, the city centre team have been busy.  Five notices have been served, two people have been taken to court and one of those was given a custodial sentence.  

There is a new project underway to make it easier for those on our streets to access support services including health, mental health, housing and benefits advice.  

There is going to be new activity on enforcing speed limits on key roads.  Do please drive carefully you have been warned! 

Receive the good news that Chelmsford Prison is to get one of 16 new specially designed x-ray scanners.  This will help prevent contraband being smuggled into our prison especially drugs and mobile phones.  It will make a real difference to tackling violence at the prison.