Latest News from Priti Patel MP

Priti Patel MP Newsletter - Reporting Back
June has been a busy month in Parliament and in the constituency. This month, Essex colleagues and I welcomed the news of the Essex Mental Health Independent Inquiry moving to a statutory footing, held a debate in Parliament on housing and infrastructure in Essex, and secured agreement from the Chancellor on global corporation tax concerns.

Following the reports of the sinkhole on Newland Street I urgently raised this with Essex Highways and I am happy to report that work is underway. Similarly, I have also raised concerns about the high street in Kelvedon where repair works have been conducted as a result.

I also held a number of interesting visits and meetings locally and please see below for more of what I have been up to this past month.

National Grid Pylons Consultation

The National Grid is conducting a public consultation on their plans for over 100 miles of new pylons and overhead power lines between Norwich and Tilbury. The eight-week consultation is now underway and the proposed route runs through parts of the Witham constituency between the east of Coggeshall, through Rivenhall and towards Fairstead. I know that my constituents will be concerned about the impact this will have on local communities. The latest consultation shows the precise locations of the planned pylons, so local communities can see and understand the impact this will have on them. Therefore, I invite everyone to take part in this consultation by clicking the link below.
Priti calls for public to respond to phone consultation

Priti in Parliament

Priti raises Wethersfield concerns in Parliament

Local communities in Essex have raised serious concerns about the suitability of the Wethersfield site and its location to accommodate 1,700 asylum seekers. With the Home Office looking to open the site as soon as they can, there continue to be many questions that have yet to be answered about how it will operate, the services that will be provided and the support for the local community and councils in this part of Essex.

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Priti raises Wethersfield concerns in Parliament

Supporting The Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge

This month, I was pleased to visit the Reading Agency's Drop-in Event in Parliament where I spoke more widely of the importance of raising standards in schools, in particular the progress and improvements in literacy and reading levels and the Government's commitment to improve standards in reading, writing and maths published in the Levelling Up White Paper.

This Summer Reading Challenge will be running in libraries across England and Wales on the 8th July and I would encourage all those interested to take part.

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Witham MP Supports The Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge

Priti secures agreement from Chancellor on global corporation tax concerns

Plans to introduce a global minimum corporation tax are very concerning. They impact on our fiscal sovereignty, damage our ability to secure investment, and if we implement ahead of other major economies and our competitors, it would put us at a competitive disadvantage. I made the case for the Government to change the laws proposed and I am therefore pleased that, in response to my amendment, the Government has stated that it will provide more information and assessments on the measures.

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Priti secures agreement from Chancellor on global corporation tax concerns

Priti raises local planning and infrastructure issues in Parliament

This month I held a debate in Parliament on housing and infrastructure in Essex. During the debate, I raised local concerns over the way planning decision are made, protections for local communities and the need for investment in roads, health facilities and schools to support a growing population with the Housing and Planning Minister.

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Priti raises local planning and infrastructure issues in Parliament

Priti hosted the Joanna Simpson Foundation in Parliament

I hosted the Joanna Simpson Foundation in Parliament to show the preview of a new documentary called 'When Missing Turns to Murder' on Netflix. This documentary explains why Joanna Simpson's killer should not be released from prison.

Many will already be familiar with this terrible case, Jo was killed by Robert Brown, a crime that was heinous and unspeakable in every sense. This murder revealed the many fallings of the criminal justice system, one of which is the prospect of Robert Brown's automatic release from prison after serving for only 12 years.

Over the years, I have met with many victims and survivors of appalling crimes, and families of women who have been murdered. Each time they have spoken of the devastating impact, the trauma, pain and sheer grief they have to live with for the rest of their lives. Tragically, too many women can no longer speak for themselves.

Diana Parkes, Jo's mum, and Hetti Nanton, Jo's friend, continue to campaign to keep Robert Brown in prison. It's an honour to support their determination and resilience in their quest for justice along with greater rights and support for the victims of these heinous crimes and their families.

Out and About in Witham

Priti visits Colchester Foodbank

Recently, I visited the Colchester Foodbank and I want to pay tribute to the whole team at the Foodbank and the network of volunteers who support them and those who donate. They are doing vital work helping some of the most vulnerable in times of hardship and crisis.

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Priti opens new Indian Restaurant in Kelvedon

It's always a pleasure to open a new business in my constituency, particularly when it offers a lovely social setting and good quality food. I wish Kelvedon Spice every success in the future and I hope local residents will support the new restaurant.

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Priti visits family run Hatfield Peverel based timber haulage firm

I called in to see C J Ashby Timber Haulage Ltd of Smallands Hall Farm in Hatfield Peverel for a catch-up meeting to discuss the issues most affecting the road haulage sector. We have also discussed security at driver facilities and the major shortage of safe and secure parking at rest facilities around the country.

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Priti visits family run Hatfield Peverel based timber haulage firm

Priti drops in on Breast Cancer Now fundraiser in Tolleshunt Major

It was a pleasure to meet the local volunteers who have worked so hard to raise much needed funds for this excellent charity. Cancer remains the toughest of diagnoses to face up to and those who have to deal with it, along with their families, need the support of organisations like Breast Cancer now.

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Priti drops in on Breast Cancer Now fundraiser in Tolleshunt Major

Priti visits local self-defence class for women

Priti with from left: Fusion’s Women’s self-defence instructor, Veronika Abrahams, David Wilson, Chief Instructor at Braintree Martial Arts Centre, Cllr Lynette Bowers-Flint, Catherine Forsyth, Fusion’s Sports & Community Development Officer and Cllr Kevin Bowers.
I visited a free self-defence class for women which is being held at the Witham Leisure Centre. These classes, provided by Fusion Lifestyle, and funded as part of the Safer Streets programme, which I launched and oversaw during my time as Home Secretary, continues to make an important difference to the safety of women and girls at a community level. The safety of women is more important than ever right now and classes like these are an excellent means of ensuring women and girls are much safer on our streets both through increased awareness and in knowing how to deal with dangerous situations, if and when they occur.

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Priti met with Nick Hulme, the Chief Executive of East Suffolk and North East Essex ICB

It was a pleasure to meet with Nick Hulme, the Chief Executive of East Suffolk and North East Essex ICB to discuss local healthcare challenges and the ongoing issues at Colchester Hospital. I was pleased to hear of the Trusts success in recruiting Health Care Support Workers from the local community, including working with their Integrated Care Systems partners and the Department for Work and Pensions at the local job centres.

I also took this opportunity to raise my constituents concerns about Colchester Hospital A&E and ambulance handover times. The Trust is aware that they can be doing more to address these issues and a detailed plan has been drawn up and is being implemented to bring immediate changes to improve handover times and bring down waiting times for treatment. As part of this plan is a new resuscitation area within the emergency department, doubling their Rapid Assessment Unit and increasing the size of the main emergency care area to create more space for six additional patients.

We also discussed the recent CQC report into Colchester Hospital Maternity Services and the CQC report into Colchester Hospital both of which require drastic improvements to delivery a good standard of healthcare for patients.

Essex Mental Health Inquiry

The Health Secretary announced on Wednesday 28th June 2023 that at last the Essex Mental Health Inquiry will be put on a statutory footing. This inquiry will focus into the deaths of mental health inpatients across Essex.

I welcome this move. This is an issue that I have been campaigning for on behalf of my constituents and it is right that the Government have taken this important decision today.

This inquiry is incredibly important for two reasons. First, it will look at our mental health institutions and present the public with facts which will help these institutions learn and improve the service that they provide to vulnerable patients. Second, this inquiry will provide long awaited answers to bereaved families and some much needed confidence in this process.

I spoke in the House of Commons to welcome the statutory inquiry during the Health Secretary's speech and to pay tribute to my constituents who have campaigned for a statutory inquiry. The video can be accessed below.

Transport Update

Earlier this month I met with the Transport Secretary, the Rt Hon Mark Harper MP to discuss local and strategic road and rail issues. I raised with the Secretary of State the delays to the redevelopment of Witham Station, future investment in rail infrastructure, the state of local roads and potholes, and the importance of the A12 Widening Scheme and A120 Dualling Scheme for improving journey times, road safety, and economic development in Essex.

Essex is an engine for economic growth but has been held back due to underinvestment in infrastructure. I have been campaigning for new money for our roads and railways and raised with the Secretary of State the benefits to the whole country of investing in Essex.

The plans to dual the A120 between Braintree and the A12 at Marks Tey have been delayed but because they are among the most advanced and developed strategic road plans in the country, I pressed the Secretary of State to do what he can to bring it forward earlier. The Secretary of State also heard me make the case for more investment in local roads to support repairs and for him to look flexibly at local requests to revise parts of the A12 Widening Scheme to address local design concerns. I also discussed the importance of working on a way to ensure that Witham Station is redeveloped and how this can be done in an affordable way.

Unfortunately, train strikes continue to impact local rail users. ASLEF have called action short of strike for the period from Monday 3rd July to Saturday 8th July and the RMT have announced strikes for Thursday 20 July, Saturday 22nd July and Saturday 29th July.

The impact for Greater Anglia trains are likely to be as follows, from the 3rd to the 8th July a normal timetable will be in operation with some cancelations across the network. Full details will be available in the following week.

On the 20th, 22nd and 29th July most services will operate with trains running on most Greater Anglia routes between 07:00am and 23:00pm with all last trains reaching their destination by 23:00pm. Some routes are expected to have a reduced frequency in service. More details will be available in the following weeks from the train providers.

I am aware of constituent concerns due to the A12 junction concrete roads reconstruction, and the impact this is having on the traffic levels in Stanway and the unauthorised diversion along London Road. I have pressed Essex County Council on this and asked for speed patrols to be put in place during the time of the diversion, for the local community to be kept up to date of any changes that will have an impact as a result of these works and for clarification as to why traffic is being diverted on the road.

Potholes continue to be one of the main issues under the remit of Essex County Council and Essex Highways that constituents raise with me on a regular basis, and whilst the announcements of increased funding and investment are welcome, it is important that our local roads are repaired.

Last week a sinkhole appeared on Newland Street in Witham, which is under urgent investigation by Essex County Council with safety checks to ensure this is repaired to a high standard and re-opened.

Please do use the contact form linked below to raise any concerns on our roads, which I will then take up with the Highways team. Please feel free to pass this information on to friends and neighbours.
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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