Constituency life...

Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker meets Chancellor George Osborne in Leeds
Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker meets Chancellor George Osborne in Leeds

Easter, bank holidays and Parliament being prorogued means we have spent little time in Parliament these last few weeks, which means we get more quality time working in the constituency.

Local elections have dominated my time over the last two months with our excellent candidates working hard on a daily basis canvassing and leafleting, highlighting the many failings of the current Calderdale administration.

As your MP I spend a lot of my time in the constituency either holding surgeries, having market stalls, attending galas and generally being accessible to people to come and tell me exactly how it is in their day-to-day lives.

I hosted The Rt. Hon. Philip Hammond MP on a visit to the Calder Valley to visit one of our excellent manufacturers, Brunswick Tooling, who work on the Typhoon airplane for the MOD.

It was great to see a local invention saving millions of pounds from the production stage of the Royal Air Force’s new fighter jet

In the little time we have had in Parliament we saw the passing of the HS2 Bill with a very good majority after Labour finally decided that they were going to support this huge infrastructure investment. I spoke in the debate and have been an advocate for this scheme since my election to Parliament.

I hosted a group of Kazakhstan politicians and UNICEF in Westminster who came to speak with me whilst seeking to understand our care system in England. They are looking at our model to implement in Kazakhstan and are seeking to understand the successes and failures within our system.

It has been a gruelling month on committees with legislation needed to be completed before Parliament was prorogued. On top of that the Education Committee produced our report on “Under Achievement in Education of White Working Class Children”, as well as continued our inquiry into 16+ care options.

Every month I make a point of lobbying the DfE for funding for our two Calder Valley schools – Todmorden and Calder High Schools – and this month was no exception.

The only difference this month is that the government has announced some extra funding for rebuilding schools, so I also took the opportunity to brief and speak with the head teachers of both schools, along with officers at Calderdale, to make sure we are ready to bid for funding. I also held several Q and A sessions with high school students.

It was also good to meet several constituency businesses in Parliament who came down to promote their excellent businesses.

The one of many I will mention is Craggs Energy, who will be the first home oil supplier in the UK to price fix oil for a year for those customers who want to buy in. This is an excellent offer for their customers who want peace of mind about their fuel bills over the coming year.

After a successful pilot in the North, their plan is to offer the same throughout England.