Mims' Weekly Column

Last Thursday I ended a positive week in Parliament by travelling back to Eastleigh to see Lib Dem Councillors force through a vote to move their Local Plan forward, in the face of large public opposition. I spoke at the meeting to remind Councillors that they worked on behalf of residents, whose views they should take into account, and residents almost universally oppose plans to concrete over their countryside, destroy green gaps between our villages and endanger our precious ancient woodland. Sadly, they did not listen. On a happy note my trees arrived from the Woodland Trust today! They will form part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, and if you would like one or have an idea where we could plant them locally,  please get in touch!

At the meeting, I also spoke on events surrounding the recent court case at which former Bursledon Parish Council Chair Mark McCormick was sentenced to 17 years in prison for sexual offences, including crimes against children. I was asked by some of the victims to remind councillors that safeguarding children should always come before political expediency. Bursledon Parish Council, led by Mark McCormick, spent a reported £18000 on fighting their landlord at the Lowford Centre in court to prevent DBS checks being carried out on employees, councillors and volunteers, and Eastleigh Borough Council, the principal authority, did nothing to stop them doing so. I continue to meet with Hampshire Police and Home Office and Local Government Ministers to prevent this from ever happening again. I was keen to ask with hindsight did this actions even now make any type of sense. 

On a happier note, on Friday morning the community in Botley got together for a ‘Cake and a Cuppa’ Event I hosted, to raise over £300 for the Breast Cancer Haven in Titchfield, which helps and supports women and their families from the whole Wessex region. I was lucky enough to be able to visit the centre over the summer, following in the footsteps of Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth Hurley, to see first-hand the important work that the staff do. Friday’s Wear It Pink Day saw groups of friends, neighbours and colleagues across the whole country raise both awareness of and money to fight a dreadful disease, and it was great to be a part of it in Botley.

Last Thursday in Parliament, MPs from all parties came together for a a first Parliamentary debate on World Menopause Day to hear how the difficult symptoms reach far beyond the hot flushes, and can even include quite debilitating migraines. There was a consensus that more needed to be done to educate people on the menopause, because, as life expectancies increase, women spend more of their lives postmenopausal, and also to educate all to try to increase the wide access to effective treatments like HRT. It’s exciting that we are not hesitant to be talking about important wide ranging health issues in Parliament that only a decade ago wouldn’t have been deemed appropriate or even necessary. Progress indeed, was exactly what I thought while proudly listening from the front bench. 

Wishing you all an enjoyable autumnal week!