Easter Adjournment

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:40 pm on 29th March 2018.

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Photo of Sir David Amess Sir David Amess Conservative, Southend West 3:40 pm, 29th March 2018

Before the House adjourns for the Easter recess, there are a number of points I wish to raise very quickly.

I am delighted that we are leaving the European Union. Our Prime Minister has had a great deal to put with in the past year. She has had to hold the hand of the American President and she is continually kissed on either cheek by European bureaucrats, yet she has got us to a wonderful point as we leave the European Union. I absolutely agree that Brexit means Brexit and we are going to make a success of it.

It is crazy that Southend is not a city. We should be declared a city. As part of the bonus as we leave the European Union, we are going to have a trade fair. We are going to invite countries from all over the world to trade their goods and services with Southend.

I am very worried about the number of Asian elephants. The number has fallen dramatically from 1 million to 42,000. The elephant tourism industry is not helping the situation.

Having participated in the “Save Live Music” rally outside Parliament, I backed the Planning (Agent of Change) Bill, promoted by John Spellar. We should, however, also tackle the excessive pricing of music tickets and those in the entertainment industry more broadly. Being disappointed when attempting to purchase tickets online is one thing, but this disappointment is further compounded when tickets appear, often within seconds of selling out, on websites for an extortionately inflated price. That has got to stop.

I have previously raised the matter of diesel particulate filters. There is a loophole in the law and it needs to be addressed.

I was delighted to welcome the Secretary of State for Health to our first-class hospital in Southend earlier in the year. I congratulate all the women and men who work there. I await the outcome of the sustainability and transformation partnership consultation, which finished on 23 March.

A wonderful local constituent, Carla Cressy, has highlighted the plight of women with endometriosis. I have now become a trustee of her charity and will work with her to heighten awareness of that debilitating illness.

I have raised the issue of food labelling. I support Diabetes UK and Compassion in World Farming in calling for better labelling.

Hepatitis C is an illness that can be cured. It is a deadly virus, and I hope the House will unite to make sure that everyone is cured of it.

On 15 March, I sent a letter on funeral poverty, which was signed by 22 other Members of Parliament, to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. I asked her to look again at the £700 cap currently imposed on funeral expenses within the social fund funeral payment. The cap has been in place for 15 years. It needs to be changed.

Last month, I had the privilege of visiting a refugee camp in Malatya in Turkey, where some 10,000 Syrian refugees are living. What we saw was heartbreaking, but the camp is extremely well run. It is absolutely incredible how it was built within such a short space of time.

With a constituent, I had a meeting with the Fisheries Minister. I see a clear way forward for fishermen in Southend.

I took part in a debate about live exports. Transporting live animals for slaughter is totally unsatisfactory.

I was very disappointed that my 10-minute rule Bill was objected to on the Friday before last. I cannot understand why. It is a very good Bill that would end fuel poverty.

There is a lot of controversy about the Cayman Islands, but I think they are being badly treated at the moment. I have made overtures to the Secretary of State for International Trade for them to be included in the GREAT festival, which the UK is hosting in Hong Kong this month.

The Music Man project in my constituency is now in the Guinness book of records for tinging the most triangles. We look forward to an event at the Royal Albert Hall.

Later this year, I am celebrating 35 years in Parliament—well, I say that I am celebrating—and it is also the 50th anniversary of Leigh Orpheus male voice choir, which will be presiding at the event.

Rossi’s ice cream is the best in the world. We need to sell it in the House.

I visited the ambulance centre in Chelmsford last month, and I pay a full tribute to all the women and men who work under increasing pressures.

Thanks to the spring clean initiative of my hon. Friend Victoria Prentis, we had a spring clean in Southend.

I close, Mr Speaker, by wishing you, all your deputies, all colleagues and all the people who work here a very happy Easter.