The expression ‘a week is a long time in politics’ could not have been truer last week. Less than one week after the news broke about the behaviour of Chris Pincher, Boris Johnson resigned as leader of the Conservative Party.
Following the vote of no confidence last month many, including me, had expected the Prime Minister to take a final opportunity to make changes to his team and approach. He did not. The resignations last week bringing matters to a head.
I am grateful to Boris for the support he has given our Bay. I have worked with three Prime Ministers as our Bay’s MP, Boris was the one who was most available for local issues. During the last three years we saw the £22m Torquay Town Deal and the £13.4m Paignton Future High Streets Fund, plus the start of plans to invest up to £350m into the services provided by Torbay Hospital.
Yet in recent months the Government, Ministers and MPs have often found ourselves talking about the person, not his policies.
The leadership contest has now started. It is vital the focus is on the issues which will make a difference here in our Bay, housing, the cost of living, NHS, our tourism sector, schools, jobs and the environment.
The last week has been a long one in politics, the one to come could seem even longer.
Earlier this year the coalition running Torbay Council published a consultation on housing ‘options’, combined with sites it had identified for housing, some which were never likely to be chosen.
Following this consultation, the council has stated it is now planning a further round of ‘consultation’ later this year, rather than confirming its choices. The rather confused press release from the council stating it wants to lobby the Government to only create 300 a year, but at the same time says there is a housing crisis and 1,400 affordable homes needed by those on the waiting list now.
No Minister is likely to take seriously lobbying where on the one hand a council says it desperately needs 1,400 new homes to address its current waiting list, then on the other says the Government should let it take years to build them and is asking for too much housing.
I have therefore approached the new housing minister for a meeting to give a more factual and consistent view on how planning policy could support our #Bay, including making it easier to release long derelict brownfield sites. He has agreed and we hope to get a meeting in shortly.
My next surgeries are on: Saturday July 16 11am till 1pm at Paignton Library and Information Centre, Great Western Rd, Paignton TQ4 5AG and Friday July 29 10 am till 12noon at 5-7 East St, Torquay, TQ2 5SD.
For an appointment you can either email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message on 01803 214989, surgeries are for personal queries from residents they
would like me to help them with, such as housing or welfare, rather than a wider policy debate. There are also drop-in sessions at my office 5-7 East St, Torquay, TQ2 5SD between 10am & 1pm Mon
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