Nicky Morgan MP: Project can take us to next level
At the last election, and in the Coalition Agreement, the Conservative Party committed to having a smaller and, therefore, cheaper Parliament from 2015.
This would have meant fewer MPs representing more equal-sized constituencies. On Tuesday, the Conservative Parliamentary Party found itself alone in the voting lobby in the House of Commons defending that principle.
Sadly, both the Labour and Liberal Democrats, plus the smaller parties, voted to continue with the status quo, meaning it is more than likely that the 2020 General Election will be fought on the basis of the 2000 electoral register.
More than 7,000 electors have been added to the electoral register in Loughborough between 2000 and 2010. Meanwhile, some of my Parliamentary colleagues represent seats with fewer than 65,000 electors.
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This cannot continue to be right and I am sorry the situation, despite the Conservative Party's best efforts, remains unchanged. Likewise, I am sorry the House of Lords remains unreformed.
On Monday, Derbyshire Dales MP and the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, announced the preferred route for Phase 2 of HS2, the high-speed rail network which will bring the north and the Midlands closer together, and ensure that two-thirds of the north can reach London within two hours.
The preferred route for this phase of HS2 will have five stops – Manchester, Manchester Airport, Toton in the East Midlands, Sheffield and Leeds – creating a new hub which will provide real competition for London.
Many politicians talk about "rebalancing the economy" but sometimes this can seem like an abstract term – HS2 is rebalancing in action.
Of course, like any major infrastructure project, HS2 will be controversial and already we can see the potential impact on plans for a rail freight hub in North West Leicestershire.
The Secretary of State has committed to listen to all the arguments and has said it is absolutely essential we limit the impact on people and properties that are affected and that people are compensated fairly.
The Government is just as keen to limit the impact on communities and the natural environment.
But I believe this is the right decision for Britain.
We have not built a new line north of London since 1899.
HS2 is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that can become a national asset.
We have proved we can do big projects when we got it right with the Olympics. Now it's time to take it to another level.
Last Friday, I met our Police and Crime Commissioner for a formal chat about his policing and crime priorities and their impact on my constituents. Only the day before, Sir Clive Loader had published his draft plan for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
I would encourage all interested readers to take a look at the plan at:
It is clear Sir Clive's policing priorities include providing a good quality of service and response to victims of crime and antisocial behaviour.
He also makes it clear he wants to reduce all crime, to demonstrate a positive outcome for victims of recorded domestic violence, serious sexual assault and recorded hate crimes, and to create a safe and supportive environment for the reporting of child abuse and child sexual exploitation.
I think it is really encouraging to have a commissioner whose priorities are so clearly set out and are based on what the public have told him they want to see happen.
Finally, I was pleased to attend a reception in the House of Commons this week called "We made it!"
This is a scheme designed to encourage school pupils to develop the manufacturing skills for the future.
I was delighted to meet Hind Leys student Thomas Lambert, who came first in the competition in my constituency, although he missed out in the national awards.
Thomas designed a portable TV which is synced to pick up home TV channels before the owner leaves home.
The awards ceremony is sponsored by political publishers Dods and is designed to fire children's interest in manufacturing. I was pleased to see this week's UCAS figures show there is an increase in the number of students wanting to study engineering and that is why, as I have said before, I am pleased to work with Loughboruogh College and their Bridge to Work Scheme.