TIM LOUGHTON: Rally behind the new PM

Tim LoughtonTim Loughton
Tim Loughton
What a lot of news we are having at the moment! It is difficult to grasp the magnitude of how the British political landscape has changed since the referendum on June 23.

Somebody made a joke earlier that a new syllabus on British political history has just been introduced for university politics students – it covers the period June 23 to last night.

The work experience student we had in the office from Lancing last week could not believe his timing being in the thick of a full-blown leadership campaign!

We now have a new Prime Minister in Theresa May.

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It is not Andrea Leadsom, the candidate whose campaign I was supporting, but her thoroughly honourable departure from the leadership race means an early transition to a new administration and an abrupt end to the uncertainty that has been overhanging financial markets.

The stock market and currency all went steaming ahead so, as Andrea said to me, perhaps she should resign more often for the good of the country.

There are important challenges ahead, starting with preparing for an orderly exit for the UK from the EU.

Theresa will have all our support, including mine, in rallying our party and our country behind that.

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How could I not support her – we were both born in Eastbourne, where our respective fathers were vicars, and we both entered Parliament together in 1997.

Away from the drama of Westminster I managed a fascinating visit to Lewes prison last Friday with my near-neighbour Maria Caulfield, and they let me out again!

I was there to see a project which I helped to initiate and was the brainchild of Shoreham fisherman Jim Partridge of Monteum.

After the storms a couple of winters ago there was a big shortage of lobster pots affecting local fishermen.

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Jim makes them and stepped up production by negotiating with Lewes prison to have them made by the inmates with part of the revenue coming back to the prison service.

Better still many of the parts include recycled parts from old motorcycle tyres and used rope netting so this is an environmentally friendly project as well.

The prisoners I met making the pots were really up for it and there is a waiting list to go on the scheme.

To dates they have completed 1,500 pots.

This is exactly the sort of constructive rehabilitative activity that we need in prisons – giving the inmates a worthwhile way to spend their time and learn a skill,

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Already a recently released offender who was part of the scheme has secured a job with a fishing boat in Eastbourne.

It’s not rocket science – why isn’t there more of this sort of thing going on in the justice system? Rally behind the new PM.


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