Hollingbourne Parish Council has received a copy of the latest newsletter from our local MP, Mrs Helen Whately. The newsletter has been edited to remove items that do not affect the Hollingbourne area. Mrs Whately has been the Conservative member for Faversham and Mid Kent since 2015.
Welcome to my newsletter
People are asking who I’m backing to be the next leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister. As Deputy Chair of the Party I’m not publicly endorsing or campaigning for any candidate.
In the last few weeks dedicated Conservative councillors lost their seats at the local elections and the EU elections were really tough for us. People are using their votes to send a strong message that they want all the uncertainty to end as soon as possible. So whoever does take over from Theresa May must bring the country together and deliver Brexit so we can move on to tackle the other challenges this country is facing, like housing, social care and mental health.
While Brexit and the leadership race have been keeping me busy , I’m still getting on with my campaigns for improvements to Faversham and Headcorn train stations, a conservation site rather than an industrial solar farm on Graveney Marshes, Operation Brock and equal rights for working parents.
New dads need longer, better-paid parental leave
Asking about paternity leave in PMQs
It was wonderful to see Prince Harry bursting with joy as he shared the birth of his son Archie with the nation. I hope he’s been enjoying some time away from his royal duties so that he and Meghan can get to know their new baby.
For many new fathers, two weeks’ statutory paternity leave just isn’t long enough and only 2% of parents take advantage of shared parental leave. I asked the Prime Minister to introduce a stand-alone period of paid leave just for partners to help families share childcare more equally.
Between Brock and the hard shoulder
It’s frustrating that there’s still a steel barrier and a 50mph speed limit between Junction 8 and 9 of the M20. These would be gone by now if we’d left the EU on time with a deal. But with the ongoing uncertainty, Highways England need to be able to deploy Operation Brock at short notice . One more reason why we need to get on with Brexit!*
Keeping freight moving seamlessly across the border is vital for the UK economy, so Kent’s roads must be a national priority. Operation Brock is better than closing the M20 completely with Operation Stack, but it’s still not perfect. Highways England are working on two options for a long-term alternative: one is to completely replace the hard shoulder of the M20 so that it can be safely used to queue lorries without a steel barrier, and another is for a lorry park. I know people are worried about some of the surveys that have been going on at Lenham Heath, but I am assured that they’re looking at multiple sites and have not chosen one yet. I’ll keep pushing ministers for clear answers on this.
We need a proper, long-term solution to Stack to keep our roads moving whatever the situation at the ports. That means not just a place for queuing lorries but also investment in the M2/A2 and Brenley Corner. And an end to lorry fly-parking!
Member of Parliament for Faversham and Mid-Kent
House of Commons
Westminster, London SW1A 0AA
Pictured below is Mrs Whately.
- *No information is currently available as to how Brexit may precisely affect Hollingbourne