One of the greatest things about being an MP is that you can palpably help the community – often this is through helping someone with housing, social care or perhaps child maintenance. But there is a special joy in helping an entire town improve – and that’s what happened last week with the news that Melton Town are, finally, able to build their new 3G pitch – which will be a benefit the whole community can enjoy.
I want to applaud Melton Town FC and Sport England for working out a compromise solution that will benefit everyone in Melton – our town will now have two 3G pitches, meaning that, for Melton at least, Football is very much coming home!
I visited Brooksby Melton College last week and it was such a pleasure to be shown around. We’re lucky to have a further education college that has such a range of vocational courses – especially food and agriculture. As the Rural Capital of Food, and with a first-rate further education college, Melton is a great place to learn about food and agriculture business. If my bid for DEFRA to open an office in Melton is successful, Brooksby can be an even more important player in food and rural policy.
To that end, I welcome Melton Borough Council’s levelling up bid, which was announced on Wednesday. The Council have bid for £10m in Government levelling-up funding for three sites in Melton – to refurbish the public theatre to provide a new cultural destination; to develop the old Brooksby site on King Street into a food production, training and workshop facility; and finally to develop the Brooksby Melton site on Wilton Road/Ashfordsby Road. These projects have the potential to reinvigorate our town and provide us with the national recognition that we deserve. Melton is on the up, and my DEFRA bid – which continues to be smiled upon in Government – is a big part of that.
Sadly, in the past fortnight, two child sex offenders in the borough have been sentenced and I’m not happy with the length of their sentences. New, tougher sentences are being introduced for such heinous crimes and I’ve referred the cases of both Joshua Savage and Lewis Watts to the Attorney General. It isn’t acceptable that these two criminals have been given sentences that anyone can see are far too short – we do not want child sex offenders to be out of prison any time soon. We need our streets to be safe for our children, and tougher sentences are a huge part of that.
Nationally, the last week has been incredibly busy in my role as a member of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. The atrocities committed against the Uyghur people in Xinjiang are beyond the pale – with sterilisation, forced labour and re-education camps just some of the crimes against humanity committed there.
The Committee has now published a report into what the UK Government can do to stop these crimes, and I hope that the Government will consider our recommendations. It’s fundamental to who we are as Britons that we do not allow atrocities in the world to go unchecked – and this is an important milestone in the world: how to stop a Great Power – as China undoubtedly is – when they are committing crimes against their own people.
Finally, after the disappointment of an extension of restrictions, the Prime Minister has announced that the successful vaccination effort has broken the link between cases and hospitalisations. This has been a monumental effort across the country – with drop-in centres jabbing arms at an astonishing pace. Melton’s drop-in centre jabbed one person every minute in its three days of operation – an incredible effort, and one that makes the end of restrictions ever closer to being a reality.
This article originally appeared in the Melton Times on 8th July 2021.