Latest News from Priti Patel MP

Priti Patel MP Newsletter - Reporting Back
It's been a very busy start to 2024 both in Parliament and the Witham constituency, and I would like to begin by wishing all my constituents a very happy new year.

Post Office Horizon

Priti with her constituent and former sub-postmaster Graham Ward
Mr Bates vs the Post Office was essential viewing over the festive period, and rightfully highlighted the awful experiences of sub-postmasters across the country.

Earlier this month, I had an update meeting with my constituent Mr Graham Ward, a former sub-postmaster affected by the Horizon scandal, and one of the 555 heroes that took the Post Office to court. I first met Graham in 2010, and raised his case and the issue with the Horizon System with Ministers and the Post Office. During our meeting we discussed the Government's compensation scheme for those who were part of the Group Litigation Order, and I will continue to press this matter with Ministers on behalf of both Graham and the other sub-postmasters who have had their lives so dramatically changed by this issue.

I also paid tribute to sub-postmasters who have campaigned relentlessly for justice during the statement in the House of Commons on Horizon. I first raised this issue in Parliament in 2010, and I am glad that, at last, some meaningful progress has been made on behalf of victims, although Ministers should still hold individuals in the Post Office and Fujitsu to account as well as reviewing the Department for Business’ corporate governance policy.

Holocaust Memorial Day

This month we commemorated the lives of those lost during the Holocaust, and as part of the events around Holocaust Memorial Day, I signed the Holocaust Educational Trust Book of Commitment in Parliament.

The Trust does incredible work educating people about the Holocaust and the lessons that we need to learn. I pay tribute to them and to the Holocaust survivors who bravely share their experiences.

Welcoming a freeze in business rates

Campaigning to ease the tax burden on businesses has always been a priority for me. During debates on the budget, I have pressed ministers in the Treasury to cut business rates and am pleased that they are taking action.

Measures have been introduced to freeze business rates for small businesses to prevent them rising with inflation, and in a House of Commons debate on the regulations to implement these measures, I spoke in support of the vital contribution small and medium sized businesses make to our high streets and communities in this part of Essex.

Priti in Parliament

Honywood School visits Parliament

I was delighted to meet with pupils from Honywood school during their school trip to the Houses of Parliament. We briefly spoke about the historic Westminster Hall and about the debate which they had the opportunity to watch from the Public Gallery. I would encourage all schools to arrange to visit the Houses of Parliament and learn more about the democratic processes of our country.
Priti meets pupils from Honywood School in Westminster Hall

Prime Minister's statement on Yemen

During the Prime Minister's statement on the actions the Government took on the 14th January 2024 against Houthi military targets in Yemen. I put my support for the targeted actions against the Houthi regime on the record and I pressed the Prime Minister on support for the civilian population of Yemen.
Yemen statement

Meeting brave anti-spiking campaigners

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with Colin and Mandy Mackie from Spike Aware UK. Their son tragically died having had his soft drink spiked at his university.

Colin and Mandy are campaigning to prevent more tragedies through spiking by educating people about the dangers of spiking, showing people how to best protect themselves from this abuse and campaigning to change the law.

I pay tribute to their bravery and for all the impactful work they are doing.

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Priti meets with the founders of Spike Aware, Colin and Mandy Mackie

Colchester Zoo in Parliament

It was great to catch up with the Director of Colchester Zoo, Ms Rebecca Moore, during the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquaria (BIAZA) Parliamentary Reception hosted by the Speaker of the House of Commons.
Colchester Zoo was shortlisted for the BIAZA Great British Wildlife Restoration award due to their leading work on vital conservation work in Essex, the UK and across the world.

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Priti with Rebecca Moore, director of Colchester Zoo


SafeLives is a charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse. As Home Secretary, SafeLives was one of the charities I worked with to tackle domestic violence and give them vital support so they can continue working within our communities to tackle this issue.

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Priti with representatives from SafeLives domestic abuse charity

Welcoming local schools to Parliament

Both Powers Hall Academy and Chipping Hill Primary School visited Parliament this month and I was delighted to meet with both groups of pupils who had the opportunity to visit the historic Palace of Westminster, toured the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

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Priti meets with local school children in Parliament.

Backing Hong Kong nationals

I was delighted to meet with Benedict Rogers and his colleagues from Hong Kong Watch. In January 2021, the Government launched the BNO visa when the Chinese government imposed the National Security Law in Hong Kong. The visa reflected the UK’s historic and moral commitment to the people of Hong Kong who had their rights and freedoms restricted through the imposition of the new security law.

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Priti meets with Benedict Rogers, co-founder and chief executive of Hong Kong Watch

Education OPQs

During Education Questions, I asked the Secretary of State to share what work is being done to support Local Authorities to support children with educational needs and disabilities who are being sent outside of their counties to receive essential support they need.

I have also praised the work Essex County Council has been doing on this issue and reiterated the support they require to continue this vital work.

Out and About Across the Witham Constituency

Police patrol

The Safer Streets fund, an initiative I started as Home Secretary, delivers funding to schemes to prevent violence against women and girls, tackling neighbourhood crime and helping combat anti-social behaviour.

Thanks to the funding provided through the scheme, Essex Police have been able to invest close to £300,000 in projects within Witham town to improve visibility in the area, enhance communal areas and signage and engagement with young people to reduce the risk of anti-social behaviour.

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Priti out on patrol with Witham Town Special Constable PC Simon Jesse

Road repairs in Stanway

I visited Stanway with Councillor Jeremy Hagon and Councillor Kevin Bentley this month to discuss local issues in the area including the condition of local roads. We have raised with Essex County Council some roads for repair and as a result of our intervention repairs are being undertaken on London Road and further maintenance works have been scheduled for Wheatfield Road and Blackberry Road in February.

Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board

This month I visited the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board where I joined the team in their new unscheduled care hub and met members of the team.

The hub is made up of a team of clinicians, who direct health support and professionals to patients, avoiding unnecessary ambulance dispatches and emergency visits to hospital.

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Priti visits new innovative care hub


Tecniq is a local business in Witham and an international enterprise which works with some of the best known luxury and high-performance names in the motor world.

During my recent visit I spoke to the CEO, Nigel Lempriere and Managing Director, Paul Martin about improvements to the apprenticeship levy and securing high skilled careers for local young people.

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Kings Seeds

I was thrilled this month to visit Kings Seeds, based at Monk's Farm, just outside Kelvedon.

Kings Seeds are a leading seed supplier with a comprehensive range of vegetable seeds, flower seeds, herb seeds, organic seeds and gardening sundries.

During the meeting, we discussed some of the difficulties the business is having selling their produce to Northern Ireland, and I am working with Kings Seeds to raise this issue with Ministers.

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Priti visits growing business

Howbridge Junior School

I was thrilled to join Howbridge Junior School to share in their celebrations after the school received a 'Good' Ofsted result for the first time in more than 15 years.

I would like to congratulate the staff and pupils with this achievement. Supporting the school to raise its standards has been an issue I have been working on with both the school and Vine Schools Trust.

Educational standards in Witham have seen significant improvements since 2010, and while there is still more work that we can do to see more schools rated as outstanding, this achievement at Howbridge Juniors is testament to the commitment and hard work of teachers.

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Priti celebrates Howbridge's success with pupils and staff from the school

RAF Cadets in Witham

This month I also met staff and cadets at 295 Witham and Rivenhall Squadron.

The Squadron, which has over 50 members aged between 12 and 20, provides a wide range of activities and training opportunities to young people in Witham and the surrounding area.

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Priti meets RAF cadets in Witham.

£2,200 for goalposts in Witham and Tollesbury

The Government has provided nearly £2,200 to support football teams based in Witham and Tollesbury to invest in new goalposts as part of a £93m investment in over 1,100 sports facilities across the UK.

A £743 contribution is being made towards the goalposts at the Rickstones Sports Ground in Witham used by Valley Green FC and £1,440 for the Victory Recreation Ground in Tollesbury used by Tollesbury Juniors FC.

I welcome the announcement of this new investment from the multi-sport grassroots fund to support people to get active.

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Priti during a recent visit to the Rickstones Sports Ground in Witham

Securing more local government funding

Priti with Leader of Essex County Council Cllr Kevin Bentley
I successfully campaigned to secure more funding for local government, including Essex County Council. Following the announcement of the draft local government funding settlement in December 2023, I met with the local government finance minister and made representations on behalf of council providing services in the Witham constituency.

Since my meeting with the minister, the Government has announced a further £600m for local government, including £500m additional funding for social care services for adults and children. This new funding will go some way to helping local councils meet growing demands and cost pressures.

Transport Update

London Stansted Airport

Local airport enjoying flying success
This month I visited Stansted Airport and met with the managing director, Mr Gareth Powell, to discuss the airport's strategic importance to the region, their role enabling economic growth and their expansion plans for the site.

I am a longstanding supporter for the airport's ambitions to expand the terminal, and during the meeting we were able to discuss the plans in details to see the extra capacity and facilities that the expansion would create for passengers using the airport. During the festive period, the airport saw its busiest December on record with 2 million passengers passing through the terminal doors. Over the past 12 months, 27.7 million passengers have been through Stansted, an increase of 24% on the previous year.

Stansted had a fantastic post-pandemic recovery and I am pleased that, following the representations I have made, Stansted Express is back to running four trains per hour.

I have also been lobbying Ministers and Greater Anglia to include London Stansted in the contactless travel zone, which is due to come into action at the end of 2024 and will make travel easier for passengers.


ASLEFF Union have announced further industrial action which will impact Greater Anglia services. Services will be impacted on Friday 2 February and action short of a strike from Monday 29th January to Tuesday 6th February.

During the action short of a strike from Monday 29 January to Thursday 1 February and from Saturday 3 February to Tuesday 6 February a normal timetable will be in place, with most services operating on all Greater Anglia routes, but with some planned cancellations.

However, on Friday 2 February, a full strike by ASLEF members will take place. A very limited number of services will operate only to five core routes and, with the exception of the Stansted Express service, for a limited period. Please check before you travel as services are going to be busier than normal.


Greater Anglia is currently looking for residents to get involved with their railway stations and boost improvements by making them more welcoming. Kelvedon station is one of the four stations looking for adopters next to Harlow Town, Thorpe-le-Soken and Shenfield.

Residents, community organisations and local councils who are interested in supporting a station can contact the train provider, who will provide funding for small projects, tools and materials.

Greater Anglia has more than 330 adopters at more than 125 stations across Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire. If you are interested in volunteering for the project, please get in touch with Alan Neville, the organiser of the station adoption initiative - [email protected].

A12 Widening Scheme

I welcome the decision taken by the Transport Secretary, the Rt Hon Mark Harper MP to approve the Development Consent Order (DCO) for the A12 widening scheme. The DCO is the formal planning application to enable the works to commence, with construction expected to be completed in 2028.

The scheme is expected to cost in the region of £1.2bn and I had secured agreement from the Government in 2014 to fund the project, which will mean transforming the A12 between the Boreham Interchange (J19) to Marks Tey (J25) into a three lane carriageway. The scheme will involve widening parts of the existing route, realigning the route between Kelvedon and Marks Tey, and making changes to existing junctions.

The A12 widening scheme will transform our highways infrastructure to improve safety and journey times, while supporting economic growth in Essex and throughout the East of England. The decision to approve the scheme and the planning process for it will be welcomed by families and businesses.

Throughout this process I have campaigned for the investment needed for the scheme and have worked with local communities along the line of route to raise the issues that they have had with the designs.

This will be a major infrastructure project and it is important that National Highways continues to engage with local communities to manage the impacts of the scheme and its construction.

There will be some people affected by the scheme who continue to have concerns and I will carry on making representations on their behalf and seeking steps to mitigate them.
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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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