Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Less Tick-Box Diversity, More Meritocracy Please

I have written a column for Conservative Home, here, on the Equality Regulations that require 40,000 councils, police forces, schools and other public bodies to account for the social make-up of their staff and promote diversity - and section 159 of the Equality Act which licences positive discrimination.

I am opposed to these measures, because they place unnecessary red-tape on hard-pressed public bodies and businesses, and they are unmeritocratic and socially divisive.
Sunday, 20 July 2014

Super Saturday

I always think of the Saturday just gone as the 'Super Saturday' of the local calendar, because there's always a string of fantastic community events on. This year was no different, with Claygate Flower show and Molesey Regatta both blessed with glorious sunshine - despite all the forecasts.

I'm afraid I was over-booked this year, so I couldn't make the regatta. But, Claygate flower show was simply amazing, an increasingly popular village event that draws an incredible turnout. Each year, there is something different. This year, I had the privilege of handing out the awards for the children's fancy dress competition. Chairman Barry Fitzpatrick and his dedicated team really pulled off an amazing event. It's a brilliant family day out, and it was a special pleasure to enjoy the show with Erika and Peter (see below on the Flinstones' train ride!).

After the flower show, we hot-footed it over to East Molesey for The Foley Amateur Boxing Club summer party and awards. I love training at The Foley (based in Weston Green) and try to do my best to support their shows. It's a great club with a really strong ethos. The trainers, led by Paul Dawson and Gary Ball, give up a huge amount of time, as does club secretary Bev and club chair Lee Martin. After an excellent season, it was an honour to hand out the well-deserved awards (pictured below).

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Surveillance Legislation - why the rush?

This week, after just one day of scrutiny in the House of Commons, Parliament rushed through emergency surveillance legislation. Along with over 50 other MPs from a range of parties, I voted for an amendment which would have required us to replace it with a properly thought through Bill by Christmas, allowing for greater consultation, scrutiny, and amendments.

I discussed the issue on Radio for the Week in Westminster show here (from 22 minutes).

Friday, 18 July 2014

Giving Blood for Anorexia Research

A local mum recently raised the issue of care and support for young women and girls with eating disorders. Following on from our discussions, I agreed to support the Charlotte's Helix project, which aims to gather 1,000 DNA samples from those with anorexia, along with additional control samples from those without the condition - which I agreed to provide - to facilitate genetic research with a view to developing better cures and treatments. I was delighted to support this excellent initiative.

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