CAROLINE ANSELL MP: Westminster, Ukraine and levelling up in Eastbourne

Parliament is set to be prorogued this Thursday, which marks the end of a Parliamentary session.

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Sometimes words and traditions in Westminster can seem arcane but basically it is the formal name given to the period between the end of a session of Parliament and the State Opening of Parliament that begins the next session.

In this case, the State Opening of Parliament, which marks the formal start of the Parliamentary year, will take place on May 10. This is when we hear the Queen’s Speech outlining the Government’s legislative agenda for the forthcoming session.

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The prorogation takes place after all the bills passed through Parliament are given Royal Assent.

This session has seen some major pieces of legislation. The Environment Act, the Agriculture Act, the Nationality and Borders Act, the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act and the Nuclear Energy (Financing) Act which will allow easier investment in nuclear power projects as we strive for greater energy security.

Nearly all of these were manifesto commitments and it shows the Government has got on with the job it was elected to do despite the pandemic and war in Ukraine.

In relation to Ukraine, the Defence Secretary updated MPs in the House of Commons this week on the situation following Russia’s invasion.

It appears Russian has lost 15, 000 personnel and many armoured vehicles, aircraft, and ships. It has now pulled out of the Kyiv area and is concentrating its forces in the East of Ukraine. The UK and NATO continue to supply lethal and non-lethal aid but this war will continue for some time yet.

Locally, I was given an update on the Levelling Up Fund award plans going forward to ensure the £20 million given by the Government will deliver on the ambitions it set out to achieve. New jobs, qualifications, skills, and work experience are all key for me.

Whilst to date much of the preliminary work has been technical and legal in nature, going forward, I am really keen that local people get to be more engaged and see how the schemes – at Black Robin Farm, Victoria Place and the Towner centenary are developing. Expect to hear more on this soon.

If the council is to meet its ambitious commitment to apply again to the government’s Levelling Up fund, it has just 44 working days left to write the bid. This is the great hope for the Bandstand and more widely, to do more to celebrate and showcase our glorious seafront.

In that light, the Dotto train has been much missed after two years in the shed. Speaking to its operator, Stagecoach, I am pleased that it will run again from late May but there remain longer term questions over the council’s management of this asset.

In sunnier news, here’s hoping for a fantastic bank holiday weekend. Hope to see you out and about!