Latest News from Priti Patel MP

Priti Patel MP Newsletter - Reporting Back


General Election

The Prime Minister announced that the General Election will take place on 4th July. I was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Witham in 2010 and it has been an honour to represent this part of Essex. A great amount has been achieved during this period. Working with local communities, residents and businesses I have secured investments for local schools including commitments to rebuild schools, more treatments at local hospitals and pharmacies, new trains for our railway, and new funding to fix potholes, repair roads and widen the A12. I have also helped thousands of people each year with their individual enquiries, problems and issues.

After the dissolution of Parliament takes place on the 30th May, there are no MPs. Strict rules therefore mean that my website will not be updated and I will be unable to send you a Reporting Back newsletter in June.
Throughout the campaign, my team will still be here to help constituents with casework and any other urgent matters. Please contact me on [email protected] should you be in need of any assistance.

St Peter's Hospital

Local MP's meet with campaign group to discuss next steps
Sir John Witthingdale and I held a further meeting with the Save Maldon Medical Services Group this month to discuss the ongoing campaign to save vital medical services from being relocated outside of the district.

We spoke with the group leadership about their continued work and the next steps of the campaign to hold the Mid & South Essex Integrated Care Board to account regarding their proposals and the consultation. We also discussed the potential options to help preserve and retain services in Maldon and the future of the St Peter’s site.

People in Maldon are understandably frustrated and concerned that St Peter’s Hospital and the services that it houses could be taken away from the locality, and as elected representatives, we will do all we can to reduce the impact on people’s lives and find permanent solutions to these issues.

National Grid’s proposals for new pylons and overhead power lines in your area

National Grid are currently consulting on plans to impose around 100 miles of new overhead power lines and more than 500 large steel framed pylons in East Anglia between Norwich and Tilbury, including through this part of Essex. This consultation is taking place prior to a planning application being submitted, and follows on from two previous consultations in 2022 and 2023. The consultation runs until 18th June of 2024.

Within the Witham constituency the line of route runs between Coggeshall and Fairstead. This may impact your community with around 50 new pylons proposed and a small section of tunnelling around Fuller Street. These plans will harm our communities and blight our landscapes and environment, and although new reforms are supposed to ensure that community benefits are provided when new energy infrastructure is built, there are no plans or guarantees that these will apply to this scheme. We could end up with all the adverse consequences and damage caused by new pylons and the construction works to build them, but no direct benefits.

While we all want to see greater energy security and welcome the expansion of offshore wind generation, the lack of clear long-term and holistic planning combined with secretive contracts agreed between the National Grid and developers means we now face the consequences of these proposals for new pylons. Since these proposals first emerged, I have been working across our local communities to oppose these plans and pressing the National Grid to put forward alternatives, including an offshore grid and more tunnelling. These alternatives could be more effective in the long-term at supporting the new infrastructure needed to bring electricity generated from offshore wind turbines to the grid. However, the National Grid have not changed their approach.

Many constituents have already been in contact with me to voice their concerns and I would like to ensure that you are aware of the plans, can respond to them, and share your views with me. The details of the consultation can be found at the weblink below, with information also being made available in local libraries.

If you are responding to the consultation, please do feel free to copy your submission to me by email or let me know your views. I will be collating the comments sent to me and raising them with both the National Grid and with the Government. Your comments may help us to build a strong case for these plans for pylons to be dropped.

Proposals for new quarrying sites near you

Essex County Council has recently consulted on 52 potential candidate sites across the County for new quarrying activities as part of their review of their 2014 Minerals Local Plan. 20 of those sites fall within the Witham constituency and the proposals may affect you.

This part of Essex already has a high number of quarrying sites, especially along the A12 and the A120 corridors, and we all know the impact that these can have. I have been working with local residents and community groups to raise their concerns with the new sites being put forward. These concerns include the impact on the environment, countryside and agricultural land; risks to human health through dust from the sites; and increased traffic and heavy goods vehicles on our roads. Although the consultation has now closed, the details are still available online, on the weblink below.

Responses to the consultation will be considered by the Council and as part of the Local Plan Review process any sites deemed suitable for future quarrying will then need to be considered by an independent inspector who may examine the whole of the Local Plan. In any case, no new quarrying activities can commence without a planning application for that site being approved. However, the fact that so many sites have come forwarded for consideration is causing widespread concern and I am continuing to raise these and make representations to the Council.

If you have any questions, concerns or comments about this process and the sites put forward that may affect you, please do get in touch.

Priti in Parliament

Hosting Essex businesses in Parliament with the Transport Secretary

Essex Chambers of Commerce and I hosted a dinner in Parliament this month with the Transport Secretary, the Rt Hon Mark Harper MP. Businesses from across Essex joined me and Denise Rossiter, the Chamber's Chief Executive to hear from the Transport Secretary about the Department's work to invest in transport infrastructure, with discussions on the A12 Widening Scheme, A120 dualling scheme, the Lower Thames Crossing, rail investment and trade through the County’s ports and airports. Some of the County’s most high-profile businesses were present and had the opportunity to ask both Mark and I questions relating to their sector and to highlight the benefits of investment in transport infrastructure to support economic growth and job creation.

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Priti hosts Essex businesses in Parliament with Transport Secretary

Meeting the Financial Secretary

I had the pleasure of meeting with the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Nigel Huddleston MP to discuss tax reforms, the impact of IR35 on self employment and to make the case for the re-introduction of tax dree shopping. We had a constructive discussion, and the Minister has taken on board many of my suggestions about improving engagement between HMRC and local businesses and those who are self-employed.

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Raising local school issues with the Education Secretary

This month I met with the Rt Hon Gillian Keegan MP, the Secretary of State for Education and Baroness Barran, Education Minister for School Systems, to discuss school standards in Witham and the concerns I had raised with Baroness Barran during her recent visit to schools in Witham.

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Priti meets with Education Ministers to discuss local education standards

Supporting the Fight4Pharmacies Campaign

In Parliament, I met with Leyla Hannbeck, the CEO of the Independent Pharmacy Association and many community pharmacists from across the UK to support the Fight4Pharmacies campaign. During the meeting,

I spoke to pharmacists about the importance of their work in supporting the NHS and GPs, and called on the Government to do more to recognise the service they provide to local communities.

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Priti signs prescription to save pharmacies

Education Questions

During Education Questions, I raised the concerns of my constituents with the Schools Minister about Maltings Academy and Academies Enterprise Trust. I am continuing to receive concerns from parents about how changes at Maltings Academy are impacting their children's education and wellbeing and I will continue to raise these issues on their behalf.

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Witham MP raises serious concerns about Maltings Academy in House of Commons

Out and About Across the Witham Constituency

Farming Minister visits local business, King's Seeds

This month I joined Farming Minister, Rt Hon Mark Spencer MP, to visit local business, King's Seeds. This visit follows on from the meeting I had with the business in January where we discussed the challenges King's Seeds face with selling mail order seed to home and hobby customers in Northern Ireland. I am grateful to the Minister for taking the time to visit King's Seeds, and hear first-hand the problems the business are encountering following implementation of the Windsor Framework.

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Priti secures visit from Farming Minister at the historic Kings Seeds

Opening new restaurant - Maria’s Indian Dining

I was honoured to help open the brand-new restaurant, Maria's Indian Dining, located in the former George and Dragon outside of Kelvedon. It was great to meet and support the owners Abdul Shalim and Abdul Muhith, with their new venture. The new establishment is offering the most exquisite and finest Indian cuisine to local customers in the area and I would encourage all residents to visit this new restaurant.

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Priti cuts the ribbon and open's new Indian restaurant in Kelvedon

Visiting Farleigh Hospice

I recently visited Farleigh Hospice to meet with their new Chief Executive, Sarah Green, and to see first hand the care and support this charity provides to patients and their families, usually at the most difficult time in their lives. We discussed the outreach engagement Farleigh has with patients, their families and the wider community across Essex. The current funding issues and pressures that hospices are facing were also discussed, and particularly the impact this could have on the provision of the much needed hospice services to patients in Mid Essex.

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Charity CEO welcomes Witham MP to Farleigh Hospice

Visiting Prime Appointments

I visited Prime Appointments in Witham this month to meet with Managing Director Robyn Holmes and to discuss a range of local issues, including the work they do to help and support people into employment locally. We also discussed some of the ongoing issues relating to right to work checks which I have been assisting the business with alongside the need to reform the apprenticeship levy.

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Priti meets with Prime Appointments
Report a Pothole

Here to Help

My team and I are always available to support constituents with any issues they may be having. Please do not hesitate to contact me via e-mail ([email protected]), with your full address and postcode and a summary of the issue that you require assistance with.

As ever with best wishes,

The Rt Hon Priti Patel
Member of Parliament for Witham
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