Parliament has spent a lot of time recently discussing the emotive issue of fracking.
This is a controversial process that many people do not fully understand and they still need to be convinced about. As such I was one of a small number of MPs who voted for a moratorium on fracking to allow more time for research to be conducted so that people could be given more of the facts about the issue.
Fracking has been used in the UK for decades, but never for gas extraction and this is what concerns many people including those in my constituency. A lot of what is written about fracking is pretty much nonsense as there are thousands of wells across the US where fracking has taken place perfectly safely.
However, there is no doubt that many residents want to see more evidence of the safety of this process and that is why I voted for a moratorium at this time. Sadly the Government and the Labour opposition did not agree with me.
I was also on my feet in Parliament to raise with the Chancellor the positive impact of falling oil prices on the family budget. If my maths are right, drivers are now about £1.50 or so better off for every 30 miles or so we drive than they were before.
I wanted to raise in the chamber the issue of heating oil prices which have fallen, but not as much as the price of oil itself has fallen. The Chancellor responded to assure me that the Government was pressurising heating oil companies on this. Energy bills have fallen, but as Martin Lewis from moneysavingexpert.com has pointed out, Labour’s pledge to freeze energy prices has actually led to energy companies not cutting their prices as much as they otherwise would have.
This week also marked the start of a BBC documentary that has started to air on BBC called ‘Inside the Commons’ giving a view of the daily process of Parliament. This documentary features my good self as one of the MPs they have been following around these past few months.
It is on BBC2 on a Tuesday evening and has had unprecedented access to MPs and Parliament. I agreed to do it as I believe democracy should be more transparent, but I haven’t actually watched the first episode yet.
They followed me asking a Prime Minister’s Question and they also followed the progress of the bill I introduced to ensure that people in tipping jobs actually receive their tips.
The documentary team also came up to the Isle to film me on my bus surgery at the end of last year. They filmed a lot of my work on securing flood defence funding for our area and came up to film me (pictured with Coun Ron Alcock) on the river bank at Keadby. They did so much filming but I am not sure it will all make the final cut.
I was also invited last week to join Westwoodside Primary for a school dinner to experience their ‘family’ lunchtime operation. This was also an opportunity for me to thank kitchen staff for their work in making the Government’s free school meals for all infant age pupils such a success. Kitchen staff have had a lot of extra meals to get out.