Pressing Torridge's concerns in Westminster

With just a week and a half to go before the summer parliamentary recess, this week has been a busy one for meetings with ministers. In the last few days, I have met and held discussions with David Gauke MP, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, about the case of Hartland farmer John Thorne, and the wider effect on rural communities of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs heavy-handed enforcement action against him, with Ian Duncan Smith MP, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions about welfare reform, improving the lot of pensioners and an issue affecting a local training company, taken representatives of local Torrington businesses Beran Instruments and Helitune to the MOD to see Peter Luff MP, the Minister of Defence Procurement, and continued discussions with agriculture Minister Jim Paice MP about the local impact of Bovine TB. I hope that very soon we will see an announcement from DEFRA on a new policy to eradicate Bovine TB that will bring relief to many local farming families that at long last the problem is being grasped. Also, at the end of the month, the Minister for Business and Enterprise, Mark Prisk, will visit Torridge and West Devon to meet local business people in our market towns to discuss broadband provision and other issues and to hear their concerns. This is one of the advantages of government. In opposition, one is lucky to exchange a word with a minister in a corridor but in government ministers do their best to maintain close contacts with government MPs. It is an opportunity to get attention for the interests of Torridge that over the coming months I shall be using to the full. If you would like to attend the business forum with the Minister for Business and Enterprise, please get in touch with my constituency office in Bideford on 01237 459001 or e mail me at