There’s plenty to report on from Westminster and beyond this week but I would like to start by saying how much my family and I enjoyed the Ilminster Midsummer Experience last weekend and to thank all of the wonderful organisers and volunteers who make it happen each year. Every Spring we are spoilt for choice of lovely community events and what could be better than being outside with a brass band and bouncy castle as we were on Sunday.
On Friday I was taken out on the rounds by the Royal Mail and reminded of what a great job they do come rain or shine. Occupational health is really important and we need to make sure we look after our Posties. The Government Is moving towards banning new low level letterboxes to prevent back strain which is a positive step, and many owners I hear helpfully take care to keep their dogs away from prying postie fingers.
Also last week I had a great meeting with Australian Prime Minster Scott Morrison. Later he gave a speech which I thought relevant to our political scene at the moment, reflecting on how people mostly want to get on with their lives quietly rather than get dragged into the latest political row.
Since I was elected in 2015 we have had the EU Referendum and another General Election, opinions have become polarised and the language of politics has become more coarse. That is just at the national level. My view is that after carrying out their instruction on Brexit a period of efficient, well-run but unobtrusive Government - a helpful but not overbearing state - would be welcomed by a great many people. In his unexpected election win a few weeks ago, Mr Morrison appealed to the mainstream, common sense part of the Australian population. We need to provide clear direction that keeps faith with that same quiet majority part of the UK, their choices and aspirations.
Talking of getting on with things behind the scenes, it is great to hear the International Trade team has signed a free trade agreement with South Korea so that business with them will be unaffected when we leave the EU. South Korea is a big manufacturer in many areas and a really important trading partner, and their cars getting tariff free access to the UK should encourage the EU and Japan to want to continue the same, so this is excellent news. I had the opportunity to discuss our future relationship with representatives from their Parliament, including on Wildcat helicopter sales, when I was there with the Trade Committee last year, and I know they will be pleased too.
Finally, I have been involved in the current leadership contest, meeting with the candidates and getting a sense of what they can deliver for Somerset and the country as a whole. It’s an important choice and the next Prime Minister will be taking on a great responsibility in terms of delivering Brexit properly and bringing people together.