Millions Announced for Investment in Bedfordshire's Transport Infrastructure
Posted Monday, 7 July 2014 at 10:51
I was delighted to support Bedfordshire’s bid for funding from the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership for investment in, among other things in the area, dualling the remaining parts of the A421 between Milton Keynes and Bedford.
Such infrastructure spending is vital to keep Mid-Bedfordshire moving when we have ever increasing numbers of cars on our roads, with more to come as we welcome further residential developments in the years ahead.
This government is putting our economy back on track by reducing waste and inefficiency in the public finances while investing more in the infrastructure we so badly need. We are currently seeing levels of spending on infrastructure not seen since the Victorian age and it’s important that Mid-Bedfordshire gets its fair share of that.
I want all my constituents to know that, while this latest investment will enable the construction of thousands of new homes in the area, I will continue to fight for all developments to be sustainable and in keeping with the character of the area. This is not a green light for developers to build whatever, wherever they like.
Cranfield Turbine Application Rejected
Posted Thursday, 3 July 2014 at 10:38
I was delighted to hear yesterday evening that the wind turbine application near Cranfield has been rejected.
This proposal for a wind farm had nothing to do with providing green energy and was all about a corporate landowner milking government subsidies while blighting a picturesque landscape.
It was a real pleasure to support the local community as they rose up, almost as one, against the application and I would like to say a special thank you to Councillor Sue Clark.
It just goes to show, the localism agenda isn’t dead and people power can still save communities when they act together!
Saturday's Rally Against Cranfield Turbines
Posted Tuesday, 24 June 2014 at 11:32
On Saturday, I attended a rally in Cranfield to add my support to local residents as they turned out to object to the proposed six turbine wind farm that FCC are planning to erect around this strong community and beautiful village.
When I arrived there were twenty or so cars at the proposed meeting place and, I have to say, my heart did sink a little.
Yet as Councillor Sue Clark and I walked out to the demonstration point we could hardly believe our eyes because, looking up the road, we saw hundreds of residents pouring towards us - far more than we could ever have hoped for.
Sue and her team had arranged for an airship to fly at the exact height and location of one of the turbines. This was a shock to many as the developer, FCC, in their planning PR and literature had depicted the turbines to be much smaller and further away than they actually are. The strength of feeling against the turbines is huge as it would totally blight and destroy the local environment for thousands of people.
On Saturday, Cranfield residents did what they do best, they united as a community against a monstrous proposal which has no foundation in green policy but is rooted in a desire by a big business to benefit from government subsidies. This is demonstrated by the fact that the turbines are not proposed to be in an area that would benefit from wind, but which is determined by geographical location and cost.
I cannot help but add at this point that the Liberal Democrats are 100% in support of wind turbine technology and would support this proposal.
If you feel you could support a demonstration on the day this proposal will be debated at Central Beds Council, please watch this space for further information.
Let's hope that along with other inappropriate developments proposed to alter forever our green haven of Mid Beds, we can also defeat this one.
Anti-Turbine Demonstration in Cranfield on Saturday
Posted Thursday, 19 June 2014 at 13:22
This Saturday I will attend a rally in Cranfield to oppose a planning application for the construction of a wind farm in the nearby area.
The planning application is for six turbines to be placed around the perimeter of the former land-fill site south-east of Cranfield. Their positioning has been chosen entirely according to the geography on the ground and not where they will be able to catch the most wind.
From 10:30am on Saturday an airship will be flown at turbine height, 300ft, to demonstrate the powerfully negative visual impact this project will have on Cranfield and surrounding villages in this beautiful part of the English countryside.
I’m happy to support local people in the fight to protect their villages from having these turbines imposed upon them. Wind farms are an overly-subsidised, inefficient form of generating power at the best of time. Putting one on this location aims to serve only the needs of the corporate landowner and not local people, the national grid or the taxpayer.
Anyone interested in joining us should gather on Wood End Road/ 200 yards from Lodge Road junction, Cranfield, near ‘The Kennels’. It will be clearly signed. Please bring placards and posters. Parking is available at Cranfield Court, Wood End Road. Refreshments will be available afterwards.
Ampthill Literary Festival on 5th July
Posted Monday, 16 June 2014 at 15:56
On Saturday 5th July I will be at the Ampthill Literary Festival alongside the BBC’s Gavin Esler and Brian Clemens, writer of both The Avengers and The Professionals
The event runs from 10:30am-5pm and tickets can be bought from Waitrose in Amphtill or online at www.amplitfest.eventbrite.co.uk
There are three workshops (£5.00 each and can be purchased separate to the main event): Amy Sparkes (Craft and storytelling - for children aged 3-6), Natasha Desborough (fiction writing - for young writers and those who want to write for the teen market), and Judi Sutherland (poetry - for all ages).
There will also be cream teas, coffee, wine, a book stall and author signings. I hope to see many of you there!
Statement on Rookery Pit
Posted Friday, 30 May 2014 at 13:05
The new proposal to build a gas-fired power station in Rookery Pit will receive the same scrutiny and analysis as did Covanta and, quite possibly, the same opposition.
The plans have not yet been submitted to Central Bedfordshire Council. The press release today is just an expression of intent and they haven’t yet held any of the public exhibitions. I will make sure that local people know about these exhibitions and can go along to investigate the plans for themselves.
It is not for me to decide on planning matters as that is the responsibility of the council. But it is my responsibility to represent local people and if those affected by the plans ask me to oppose them then I will do so, with the same degree of vigorous opposition I have deployed in the past against Covanta, NIRAH, the shambolic Eco town proposal and every other inappropriate planning development suggested for the area - all of which ignored in a spectacular manner the needs, wishes or environmental considerations of local people.
Bring Back our Girls
Posted Wednesday, 14 May 2014 at 10:10
Having already signed the appropriate Early Day Motions, it was an honour yesterday to join with other British female MPs from all parties to show our support for the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls.
Every female MP serving in a free democracy anywhere in the world has a moral obligation to speak out on behalf of the kidnapped schoolgirls.
News and developments are moving fast - it falls upon all of us to pray for a safe and happy ending.
Posted Tuesday, 6 May 2014 at 09:22
This morning I shall lead a debate on cyberstalking in Westminster Hall. Cyberstalking occurs when someone becomes obsessively fixated with another and pursues them using electronic means that cause distress or fear in the victim.
As we have moved into an age of electronic information and communication, stalkers have found new, more effective and efficient means to perpetrate their malicious acts. A report last year of victims that had contacted the National Stalking Helpline found that some form of technology was used by their stalker in over 70% of cases.
Perceived anonymity is one factor that can lead to toxic disinhibition, by removing a capable guardian, accountability and shame. Threats conducted under the shroud of anonymity can lead to increased fear in the victim.
We need to ensure that there are sufficient education and training programmes around the issue of cyberstalking. People at all levels and all areas of the justice system must be aware about just how skilful these cyberstalkers can be, and how far and significant the impact can be. This is not a simple undertaking, but it is very important.
It is also important people become aware that, due to legislative changes that received royal ascent last year, there is help available to the victims of cyberstalking in the form of legal action and prosecution. The only way cyberstalking can be reduced is if victims make use of the legislative changes available and effective prosecutions occur. Only then will we see bullies, faced with a deterrent, think twice about their pervasive behaviour.
Posted Tuesday, 29 April 2014 at 13:57
The good economic news keeps on coming. Today we learnt that the economy grew another 0.8% in the past three months but everyone I speak to in Westminster knows that there is more to be done securing the recovery for everybody, but most especially our young people.
That’s why it was so heartening to read the latest figures showing workplaces employing apprentices in Mid-Bedfordshire. These show consistent growth since 2010, from 220, to 260 in 2011/2012 and now to 370 in 2012/2013.
Such access to workplace training is key to a rewarding and substantive career for many youngsters and the increase has been made possible by government reforms incentivising businesses to see the rewards they can reap by investing in a young person’s future.
So much of politics is about preserving what is good about society for the future generations and protecting them from the selfishness of our own. This is what drives government efforts to bring down our deficit and debt, why I call for more home building so our grandchildren will be able to afford somewhere to live and why more apprenticeships are so important in providing good jobs into the future.
Cranfield Residents: Object Now!
Posted Wednesday, 16 April 2014 at 13:18
The plan to install six wind turbines near the villages of Cranfield, Marston, Brogborough and Lidlington has now been filed and it is vital that residents object, here, now.
I’m convinced that in fifty years time our grandchildren will look at these turbines and laugh at our foolishness in allowing such monsters of inefficiency to blight their landscape.
My objections to the forcing of wind turbines on communities I represent are legion, but it comes down to the principle that the benefits gained are dwarfed by the distress caused. These things cause serious disturbances in their local areas.
Many kinds of background noise are filtered out by the brain but that is not the case with turbines. The non-repetitive nature of the noise, due to changes in the strength of the wind, means that people can’t ‘zone out’ the noise in the same way. It is constantly present.
Studies are ongoing into the potential dangers this causes to the health of people living nearby, but having a horror film soundtrack playing in the background of your life is hardly conducive to relaxation and wellbeing!
The location of the turbines has been determined not by finding the most efficient place for them to catch prevailing winds but entirely for the convenience of the landowners. They are being placed around the edge of a former landfill site so that the company can maximise revenue from land that they cannot otherwise use.
What is so frustrating about this case is that local people thought they had reclaimed the landscape after the closure of the landfill site. It is fantastic to see dog walkers and cyclists and parents with young children out enjoying such a great area, especially now that Spring has arrived.
If communities want to host a wind farm nearby then of course they should be allowed to do so. But given the lack of such willing victims I believe the government should be focused on investing in new nuclear technology, complemented by some renewables such as solar and off-shore wind.
At a recent public meeting I was pleased to attend it was clear that the community in Cranfield and the surrounding villages is almost unanimous in saying that they do not want these turbines near their homes. I support this entirely, having stood at the last election on a manifesto committed to the localism agenda.
Everyone who objects to this planning proposal for six turbines needs to lodge their objections before the end of the consultation. After that point it will be too late. Visit this website as soon as you can to register your objections to this ludicrous plan.
Posted Monday, 14 April 2014 at 16:10
If you want to download something to read over Easter, The Four Streets is on offer via Kindle for under a pound for a limited time...
What a Week
Posted Sunday, 13 April 2014 at 15:10
Last week I launched my first book, The Four Streets. What a week that was. I loved this review by Mark Hennesy of the Irish Times who described the book as ‘Angela’s Ashes in a scouse accent’.
Ann Trenneman of the Times got inside my head with this interview. She is so good at her job as a journalist, it's scary. I have thrown journalists out of my home. Literally. I have disinvited a book and theatre critic to my book launch without a flinch and if you had ever told me a journalist would make me cry, I would have laughed in your face. She made me cry and I swear, I didn’t even see her try.
She began the article with the fact that she had found herself reading The Four Streets in a cold bath at 11.30 at night and that isn’t something she does for work.
And I also loved the way Iain Dale, LBC broadcaster and blogger extraordinaire, in a manner both fair and accurate, summed up the appalling behavior of the Daily Telegraph journalists who wrote six negative articles in seven days. Iain provided evidence that the Telegraph rejected the original review they had commissioned by Cristina Odone. Based on her lovely Twitter comments, it looked very promising. They chose instead to hurriedly commission a review from an elderly, bearded (yes, it was a man) ex Opus Dei member who is rumored to be Latin scholar. As one of the characters in the book is a child-abusing priest, you can guess what his review was like and only wonder why.
Here is what Iain had to say;
It’s a pity that the Telegraph has seemingly renewed its vendetta against Nadine Dorries. It had commissioned columnist Cristina Odone to interview Nadine Dorries about her debut novel THE FOUR STREETS. Odone duly read the book and could hardly contain her enthusiasm for it, tweeting at 6.09pm on Monday: “Just read The Four Streets – Fab first novel by Nadine Dorries. Catholic Liverpool, irish immigrants & black secrets behind net curtains.”
Fourteen minutes later she reinforced the point, tweeting: “Well done @NadineDorriesMP on your debut novel The Four Streets – a funny and sometimes shocking saga set in Catholic Liverpool.” How very strange then that the following morning instead of publishing Odone’s no doubt very positive interview, they published a damning review by their Head of Stuffiness, Christopher Howse. You just need to look at his photo to know the kind of review he would write of a novel by a female politician. And then you need to take into account Howse used to be a member of Opus Dei. I doubt he took kindly to the storyline of the Catholic Priest abusing a young girl. True to form he gave it a one star review and called it the worst novel he’d read in ten years. Well, he would, wouldn’t he?
Clearly he’d been given a brief, and the reason? I’m told it was because Nadine had the temerity to give two interviews – on GMTV and my LBC show on Tuesday morning – in which she uttered views on MPs’ expenses which weren’t to the Telegraph’s liking. Readers may remember her criticism of the Telegraph, and the Barclay Brothers, over the original MPs’ expenses scandal. Nadine then upped the ante and withdrew an invitation to the Telegraph’s ‘Head of Bitchery’, Tim Walker (who writes their Mandrake diary column, as well as being an excellent theatre critic), to her booklaunch that evening. He responded in kind with a series of tweets which sought to denigrate both Nadine and her beleaguered publicist.
Yesterday morning he went even further in a vitriolic attack on her. To be honest he showed himself up. Nadine wasn’t taking any of it and accused him of lying. When he was caught out denying Cristina Odone had ever been commissioned to write any piece for the Telegraph Nadine posted a tweet from Odone confirming she had indeed been asked to do just that. “Telegraph asked to interview Nadine – I read the book, couldn’t put it down and told her so.” At that point Walker retired in a huff, tweeting: “Speaking purely for myself, I am bored to tears of this particular honourable member.” I am sure the feeling was mutual.
On Tuesday evening I trotted off to the InterContinental Hotel which seems to have become THE place to hold book launches in Westminster, where Nadine was hosting the launch of her book. Well, she was supposed to be. I’ve never been at a booklaunch where the author didn’t turn up until nearly an hour after it started and then made a speech which can’t have been more than about 14 words long. The shortest in recent political memory, I’d have thought. But then again, Nadine does like to do things differently. And that’s why many of us love her.
I was asked the old chestnut, ‘where do you find the time’, over and over. No male MP who writes a book is ever asked that question and the answer is very simple, my girls left home. I replaced the time I would have spent cooking, cleaning, shopping and ironing, with writing and I know which I enjoy the most. My constituency has and always will come first. My writing is a hobby. A hobby which makes me happy and I think I am a much better MP for it.
Despite how vicious many journalists have been, the 'normal' people over at Lovereading.co.uk and Goodreads.com have left lovely reviews. I am delighted to see that the book, despite having only been officially launched for five days (pre orders delivered the week before) is now at No 6 in the Kindle fiction saga listing.
I now understand why Goodreads and Lovereading exist. The genuine unbiased reader now has a platform, which is more convincing and informed than that of a journalist. This is the age of the Internet and power to the people!