Claire Perry, MP for Devizes - I’m at the sharp end of government in new post (From This Is Wiltshire)
Claire Perry, MP for Devizes - I’m at the sharp end of government in new post
12:00pm Thursday 10th October 2013 in Latest News
A change is as good as a rest, they say, but I am not sure I am going to get much rest in my new job.
The call from Number 10 came while I was driving up from Wiltshire on Monday, with a car full of luggage as well as a rather fragrant elderly Labrador, and I was delighted to accept the offer of a place in the Whips’ Office from the PM.
It will be a fantastic chance to see the business of government in action and already I have “whipped” my first Statutory Instrument Committee, guided colleagues into the appropriate lobby, negotiated with rebellious colleagues on various motions and sat on the front bench for several hours to keep an eye on the proceedings in the Commons.
It is a great opportunity and will mean that I can still work Parliamentary hours, which means that I can keep a full slate of constituency business. I will have to step down as the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Defence Minister and will miss that important department and also have to take a back seat role on internet safety campaigning. Luckily that important area is in safe hands with the Culture Secretary and the Prime Minister firmly on board. The implementation of new filters, clean public wi-fi and zero tolerance to child abuse imagery on the internet is happening as I write.
Whips, as ministers of government, are unable to comment in public on government business although I can be vocal as ever on local matters and of course can use my position to lobby on national matters behind the scenes.
One area that crosses both boundaries is our local rail service where we are still working to pull forward the funding for electrification of the line to Bedwyn for the investment period from 2016, and where we are also working to protect the level of service to Pewsey and Bedwyn in the interim.
An important piece of news last week was that First Great Western has been awarded an extension to operate services between London Paddington and the South West until September 2015 and the company gave a commitment that through train services at Bedwyn and Pewsey will be retained for that period as well as a new and welcome announcement of super-fast broadband on through trains.
We need to work hard to keep future train services at least at these levels and I will be meeting First Great Western shortly to discuss the schedule and other station enhancements.