In My View - 28th July 2016

Recent attacks on innocent people in Europe have been dreadful, whether motivated by militant intolerance or arising from the vulnerability of people with adverse mental health.

We all have a responsibility not to accept intolerance and violence, and hate is never the answer to disagreements or difference. I want members of our community to know and feel that there is hope and help that they can turn to, whoever they are and wherever they are from.

We all help create the world around us, and our collective influence is powerful. I wrote some time ago about the positive impact we can have as individuals, with something as simple as a smile, to make our high streets sociable and enjoyable. I am grateful to everybody, including our churches and civic leaders, for emphasising that help and hope are there.

Our society's reputation is for civility, tolerance and the rule of law, and for democracy to set the laws that regulate it. Political accountability and acceptance of the extent of that society go hand in hand, binding it together. That is why acts of terror designed to undermine our peaceful settlement of these things must be resisted. It is why hard won freedoms that exist at their heart must be protected. And it is why our future is bright, in the knowledge that we have voted for their preservation.

Our beautiful islands are an outward looking part of a beautiful world, and we should be proud of our welcome. We are respected and should respect others. I am clear that anyone who was entitled to be here prior to the EU referendum should be entitled to stay, to be welcomed, and be sure of their rights. And for problems, we should offer help, hope and understanding, never hate.

It has been great this week to undertake a further intensive summer series of open surgeries in Yeovil, Chard, South Petherton and Ilminster, to get feedback and ideas from local residents. I am pleased to report the mood was positive and many remarked how pleased they were that the Conservative Party has selected a new leader quickly and that implementation of the British people's decision to leave the EU is being sought expeditiously. 

I also undertook some fascinating visits. One was to Ninesprings where the Bumblebee Conservation Trust was running a bee safari to educate children and adults alike about how important it is for us to look after bee populations that have been under pressure recently. 

Another was to a family farm in Stoke sub Hamdon which is one of thirty two blackcurrant producers in the UK who supply fruit that goes to make Ribena. They have been doing a great job in the shadow of Ham Hill for over fifty years, and highlighted concerns with the proposed sugar tax, which I will certainly pass on to the new Ministers at the Departments for Health, Environment and Treasury.

I also attended a group in Yeovil formed to raise awareness of Attention Deficit Disorder in children, and I have taken on board some ideas to raise with colleagues in Parliament about how to improve the consistency of experience in mainstream schools for such pupils.