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MP for Rutland Alicia Kearns discusses issues in Westminster

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The last few weeks have been very bruising in Westminster, culminating with the prime minister announcing his resignation, writes MP for Rutland Alicia Kearns.

Whilst the prime minister has not held my confidence since January, I took no joy from his statement although a great degree of relief.

I believed in the 2019 manifesto, and I remain proud of many achievements under his leadership, including a world beating vaccination programme, quickest return to normal and supporting Ukraine in such a steadfast manner.

Alicia Kearns
Alicia Kearns

But I could not defend lying and the breaking of his own rules at the highest levels of Government. I now look forward with more hope as we begin the process of choosing a new leader for our great country.

A leadership election is an opportunity for a fresh start and for new, forward-thinking ideas. It is also a chance to return to the decency and integrity that Conservativism should represent. That is why I am supporting Penny Mordant for prime minster and leader of the Conservative Party.

Service to our nation is in Penny’s blood, and I know that she would unite our party and country behind her own upstanding character and detailed plan for Government. I would be proud to have her as my leader and I know she would do her upmost to solve the problems that concern us here in Rutland.

Speaking of the future, I recently visited two of our local schools - Great Casterton Primary School and Ryhall Primary School. These visits are really the highlight of my week, and I was blown away by the amount of knowledge our young people have. I was asked questions on topics ranging from plastic in our oceans, to Ukraine and even on dinosaurs (not the Rutland Icthyosaur). It was fascinating to see the woodland and orchard area at Ryhall School which is so very lovely. The children have such wonderful outdoor spaces, the benefits of which are clear to see, and it reminded me how lucky we all are to live in such a beautiful rural community, and why we must protect what we have.

That is why I attended one of the Mallard Pass solar plant developers’ public consultation events in Ryhall. I wanted to go and see what information was being disseminated and to judge for myself whether the event was an improvement from the disappointing first consultation. Sadly, my experience was not one of meaningful engagement. I noted the change from the use of acres to hectares to disguise the size of the development and was surprised that those hosting the session were not aware that some of Canadian Solar’s own shareholders had worked with an ethical investment group to try to remove three of their directors over their failure to properly address the accusations of forced labour in their supply chains.

I will continue to do my upmost to fight this proposal.

Please make sure to submit your representation to the consultation – together we will save our community from this wholly inappropriate development. Please also write to me with your concerns by letter (not email) and sign my petition (in person, not online).

If the solar plant were to be built, we would lose thousands of acres of good agricultural land at a time of global food insecurity.

As we approach the harvest, it is a good time for all of us to stop for a moment and reflect on how much we owe our farmers. They truly are the foundation upon which our whole nation relies, and we owe it to them, and ourselves, to offer them support through these difficult times.

That is why I secured a debate on supporting farmers through the cost-of-living crisis this week, which will have taken place by the time this paper goes to print. I will continue to call for more action and support for our farmers and food producers.

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