Rutland's MP Alicia Kearns discusses Conservative leadership race
The leadership election is continuing to dominate the news agenda and to shine a light on some of Westminster’s worst traits, writes Rutland's MP Alicia Kearns (Con).
As I wrote in my last article, I had supported Penny Mordaunt for leader of the Conservative Party and prime minister. Service to our great nation is in Penny’s blood and I was convinced by her detailed plan for government, from cost-of-living measures to a laser focus on primary care, to tackling the threats we face from abroad. Whilst I was disappointed not to see Penny make the final two candidates, I am sure that some of her policies will be adopted for all our benefit.
I will support whoever wins the leadership election. We need to come together and focus on working for one another and the nation we all love. After much consideration I have given my support to Rishi Sunak, whose experience steering our economy through the Covid-19 storm stands him in good stead to steady the ship and weather the current economic headwinds. During the pandemic 17,900 jobs were protected by the Government’s furlough programme in Rutland and Melton alone, that’s nearly 50 per cent of all employee jobs in our communities. Rishi will tackle inflation, grow the economy, and cut our taxes.
Rishi has also represented a rural constituency since his election to Parliament and I know he understands the challenges and opportunities that come with our way of life. I would work with him to secure changes such as including rurality in any funding assessments and providing the extra services that rural areas need. Whilst I am backing Rishi, I will give whoever becomes prime mnister my support – we need a united front to address the challenges facing us, both short term and long term.
Before Parliament rises for the summer recess there is a debate, named after my good friend the late Sir David Amess, in which MPs can give a speech on what is special about their constituencies and any issues they are working to address.
It was a privilege to be able to talk about the county we all love and to cover at quite some speed as many of our priorities as I could, from the A1 to local government funding and everything in-between! I raised the issue of rural crime and I am pleased that more officers have now been assigned to the rural crime teams that I secured to police Rutland.
I also raised the issues of health and reiterated calls for more GP provision in Rutland, particularly if more housing developments are to be built. Whilst development and growth can be beneficial, existing residents should be able to expect a parallel increase in services to match any jump in population.
I also met last week with the minster responsible for customs to secure an exemption from import duties for a 10-year-old boy from our community suffering from cancer. I have made sure that his case is given special priority and will continue to push both the Secretary of State for Health and the Treasury to rapidly rescind these payments – and ensure that he receives the medicine he needs without any unnecessary cost.
The second and last consultation period for the proposed Mallard Pass solar plant closes on August 4 and I would urge anyone who has not yet completed their feedback to do so. We will only stop this 2,175-acre solar plant from being constructed if we raise our voices collectively against it. We must save our precious farmland and nature from developers with questionable human rights records. I am also running a petition and letter writing campaign against the development, which I will present to Parliament. If you wish to sign the petition or send me a letter to be presented to the minister for energy, write to me on Alicia.Kearns@parliament.uk .
Away from politics it is now truly summer, and I hope everyone will find some time to spend with their family and enjoy the sunshine (although you won’t hear me complain if we never see temperatures in the high 30s again!)