Latest News from Priti Patel MP

Priti Patel MP Newsletter - Reporting Back
If you are worried a person may be at immediate risk, stay with them and call:
  • 999 or take them to A&E
  • NHS Mental Health Crisis Team - 111, option 2
  • Samaritans - 116 123
  • Under 18s (Essex) NHS Crisis Number - 0800 995 1000
  • Mid and North East Essex Mind - 0120 676 4600
  • BEAT (Eating Disorders) - 0808 801 0677
For support with drugs and alcohol:
  • Drink Aware - 0300 123 1110
  • Alcoholics Anonymous - 0800 9177 650
  • FRANK - 0300 123 6600
Services for elderly:
  • SilverLine (Elderly people struggling with loneliness) - 0800 470 8090
  • Age UK - 0800 678 1602
Domestic violence:
  • National Domestic Abuse Helpline - 0808 2000 247
  • Compass (Essex Domestic Abuse Helpline) - 0330 333 7444

Christmas Card Competition Winner

Each year, I hold my annual Christmas Card competition in conjunction with schools right across the Witham constituency. The competition attracts many outstanding entries from children of all ages and it is always a difficult decision to choose one competition winner.

This year, Eliza Gardner from St Andrew's Junior School in Hatfield Peverel was successful and her delightful drawing appeared on my 2023 Christmas card and has been sent out across the constituency to many local organisation.

My thanks to Eliza for her great work of art! I visited Eliza at school to award her a range of prizes, her certificate and copies of the Christmas card for her to share with friends and family.

Thank you, once again, to all the children across Witham who took the time to participate in this year's competition. Every participants received a certificate from me for taking the time to send in their artwork.

Priti in Parliament

Action on Illegal Migration and RAF Wethersfield

RAF Wethersfield continues to be the wrong location and wrong facility for asylum seeker accommodation.

I continue to hold the Government accountable over the use of RAF Wethersfield, and I have questioned Ministers over the operation of the sites, the funding for local services involved in supporting asylum seekers and the safety of local residents. There have also been very concerning reports of health outbreaks and poor behaviour on the site which is placing pressure on the police and other statutory services.

I have raised this issue in Parliament alongside the need to implement the Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda. I have also restated the importance of establishing Greek style reception centres with detained sites, in order to fast track the removal of illegal migrants who have no legal basis to be in the UK. This was the policy of the last Government, we have legislated for this through the Nationality and Borders Act and these detained accommodation sites have been up and running in Greece for three years and demonstrate that this policy is a deterrent and works.

I worked in conjunction with the Greek Government to operationalise this plan in the UK which would have been more effective than housing asylum seekers who have illegally entered the UK at RAF Wethersfield. It is wrong to use the RAF Wethersfield for this purpose and I will continue to make the case for this site to be closed.

I also urged the Government to take urgent action, having wasted last year, to implement the Migration and Economic Development Partnership I established with the Government of Rwanda.

Holding the Education Secretary to Account on RAAC

Essex has been badly affected by the issue of RAAC and although pupils at the three local schools, which were significantly affected, are all now fully back at school, we are still experiencing problems with the slow pace of work by contractors who are commissioned by the Government to build alternative school classrooms for the schools affected by RAAC. I do not find this situation acceptable, and I have therefore asked the Secretary of State and Essex County Council to hold the contractors responsible to account and take action to get the new school buildings up and running quickly.
Standing up for schools

Finance Bill

Finance Bill's in Parliament ensure that the Government of the day puts its financial plan in legislation.

Following the Autumn statement, I spoke during the Finance Bill debate to make the case for lower taxes on businesses and households to boost economic growth. During the debate I urged the Government to do more to lower the tax burden by letting people keep more of what they earn by increasing the tax free and higher rate tax thresholds. I also highlighted the benefits of keeping fuel duty down and called on the Government to maintain the current 5p cut in fuel duty as that has helped many in Essex and across the country with keeping costs down.

Essex is the County of entrepreneurs and our businesses need lower taxes and economic reforms to support investment in jobs and growth, which I will always campaign for.

Business and Trade Questions

In my constituency and throughout Essex we have fantastic producers and growers whose food will be served on tables across the world this Christmas. During Business and Trade Questions I took the opportunity to highlight important local businesses such as Wilkin and Sons in Tiptree, and sausage makers Wicks Manor Farm from Tolleshunt Major, and called on the Government to remove barriers to trade and investment to help more businesses grow and export overseas.
Local food producers celebrated in the House of Commons

Local Council Funding

Local councils deliver key frontline services for residents across the Witham constituency. My constituents are served by four local authorities – Essex County Council, Braintree District Council, Colchester City Council and Maldon District Council – as well as receiving services from local town and parish councils.

I work with them to support my constituents and to campaign for improvements to services and infrastructure in this part of Essex, and spoke up in support of them receiving more funding from the Government in the House of Commons this month at questions to ministers from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

Witham Health Centre

I pressed the Health Secretary about my longstanding campaign for Witham Health Centre, and asked her to ensure more resources are provided to meet local health needs across the Witham constituency. This part of Essex needs more health services made available locally to support our growing population and increasing and more complex health needs. It is simply not acceptable that despite the hundreds of millions of pounds of health investment coming to Essex, the plans for a health centre in Witham are still under discussion by the local NHS.
Fighting for a Health Centre for Witham

Sentencing Bill

Local families and businesses who have been victims of crime are always at the forefront of my mind and I spoke about the need to do more to protect victims and punish criminals during the Second Reading of the Sentencing Bill.

I raised some of my concerns about parts of this legislation that make provision for increased use of non-custodial sentences for offenders, while also welcoming tougher punishments for other criminals, including sex offenders.

The Government must do everything possible to keep the public away from violent criminals and dangerous sex offenders.

New Legislation on Spiking

After her speech, Priti met with Richard Graham MP, Rachel Maclean MP, Dawn Dines from Stamp out Spiking, Sloan and the team from TASA, Lorna Street who is a victim of spiking and other campaigners.
I have welcomed new laws and measures that the Government plan to introduce to tackle spiking. This follows on from the work that I initiated when I was Home Secretary when I put in place tougher sentences for those in possession of drugs used in spiking incidents and provided additional funding to support policing and safer streets.

Spiking is a vile and sickening crime and I pay tribute to the victims and campaigners who have raised awareness of this issue and have been strong voices for change. Victims should always be supported to come forward and report crimes while those who commit these horrendous offences should face lengthy prison sentences.

I will keep on working with the police and the government to make our streets in Essex safer and to protect people from crime.

Out and About Across the Witham Constituency

The Football Foundation

Priti visit's Witham Sports ground, she met with the Football Foundation CEO Robert Sullivan as well as representatives from Essex FA and Braintree Council.
Grassroots sporting activity across the constituency continues to increase with more and more people including children joining clubs and participating in sports. I have been pressing many of the organisations which fund grassroots sports to do more across the constituency, which is why I was delighted to meet with Mr Robert Sullivan, the CEO of the Football Foundation, the country's largest sports charity and members of the Essex County FA Mr Brendan Walshe and Mr Nick Emery at Witham Sport Ground.

We have new and exiting investment coming to Witham. Essex County FA is currently working on a portfolio of 3G Artificial Grass Pitch projects with Braintree District Council, utilising around £1.2 million of Section 106 monies.

Braintree Council recently approved the Section 106 funding to help deliver a scheme to provide four new 3G pitches in Braintree and Witham. This came after public feedback for more availability of pitches due to increased demand for affiliated and recreational use. The projects in Witham on track to be submitted imminently are:
  • Witham Sports Ground
  • New Rickstones Academy
  • Notley High School
I look forward to seeing the positive difference these projects will make to pupils across Witham town.

Goldhanger planning application

Having recently met with local residents and Goldhanger Parish Council to discuss their concerns about plans for a significant number of new dwellings on a site off of Head Street, I was pleased by the decision taken by Maldon District Council to refuse to grant planning permission for this large housing development outside of the settlement boundary in Goldhanger.
Read article
Priti Patel meets representatives from Goldhanger Parish Council and local residents in the village to discuss their opposition to plans to destroy parts of the countryside with a large new housing development.


Priti and mental health charity have a meeting of minds
Mind is an excellent local charity which support people struggling with mental health in the Mid and North Essex area. Their mission is to support and empower people experiencing an emotional or mental health condition by building on their personal hopes and aspirations. To achieve this, Mind identifies and responds to community needs and challenges in order to deliver an effective and efficient system of community based services.

This month, I visited their branch in Maldon to meet with the Chief Executive, Ms Ginny Idehen along with practitioners who work directly with service users, and volunteers who have previously been service users themselves. Locally, Mind works with children and schools to teach them how to support children who self harm. They have produced a tool kit which provides a helpful guide for schools on how to approach this issue. In the New Year, I will be promoting this tool kit to schools in my constituency.

Angling Essentials

Earlier this month, I visited Angling Essentials in Witham town. While the tackle shop was established 45 years ago, it has only recently moved into the hands of its newest owner, Bob Saich. Bob, who is a keen angler and an entrepreneur, also owns his own line of bait products which will feature in the shop. I urge residents to visit the shop and support local businesses.

Read article
A big catch for Witham

Supports for local shops on Small Business Saturday

Priti supports local shops on Small Business Saturday
Small businesses form the backbone of our local economy and every year I show my support for them by backing Small Business Saturday and shopping local. Across the Witham constituency, our high streets, town centres and villages have so many incredible shops and businesses that provide jobs, goods and services for us to use. From hairdressers to butchers and clothes shops to restaurants I am proud of the contribution they all make to our communities and the jobs they provide.

Transport Update


This month, I met with Mr Jonathan Denby, the Head of Corporate Affairs and Mr Jamie Burles, the Managing Director of Greater Anglia at Witham station. We had the opportunity to discuss ticket offices, station improvements (including re-developing Witham Station) and my longstanding campaign to make Marks Tey Station fully accessible and step-free.

Over the festive period, Greater Anglia have planned essential engineering works and rail infrastructure upgrades. Those travelling are therefore advised to check before travelling between Christmas Day and New Years day.

There will be significant alterations to Greater Anglia services on the Great Eastern Main Line (which runs from Norwich, Ipswich, Colchester, Chelmsford and London) and West Anglia Main Line (which runs between Cambridge, Audley End, Bishop's Stortford and London).
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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