Category Archives: Victoria in North Oxfordshire


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Victoria was joined by Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom MP to officially open the Elmsbrook energy centre on 23 May 2016.

Elmsbrook, situated in north west Bicester, is the first eco-town in the country, and is providing new homes to true zero-carbon standards.

As well as opening the energy centre, Victoria and the Minister were able to visit one of the show homes, learn more about the eco-friendly standards properties had been built to, and see one of the development’s electric cars.

Speaking after the event, Victoria said “It was just lovely to be able to bring the Minister to see this fantastic development for herself. I am very proud that Bicester is home to the first eco-town in the country. Now that residents are moving in, the community spirit is even more apparent.”

North West Bicester A2Dominion MP Visit and Energy Centre Opening at Elmsbrook, NW Bicester, the UK's first eco town... Andrea Leadsom, MP, Minister of State for Energy and Victoria Prentis MP... L-R Barry Wood of Cherwell District Council, Andrea Leadsom MP, Victoria Prentis MP and Sue Smith of Cherwell District Council PICTURE WILL JOHNSTON ( 07984 165837 / )

Councillor Barry Wood (Leader of Cherwell District Council), Minister of State Andrea Leadsom MP, Victoria Prentis MP and Sue Smith (Chief Executive of Cherwell District Council) at Elmsbrook.

North West Bicester A2Dominion MP Visit and Energy Centre Opening at Elmsbrook, NW Bicester, the UK's first eco town... Andrea Leadsom, MP, Minister of State for Energy and Victoria Prentis MP PICTURE WILL JOHNSTON ( 07984 165837 / )

Victoria Prentis MP and Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom MP with one of electric vehicles available to Elmsbrook’s residents.


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On Tuesday 17 May, North Oxfordshire MP Victoria Prentis attended the Annual Beer Awards in London. During the dinner and reception, Victoria was named Pub Parliamentarian of the Year in recognition of her support for pubs in her constituency. In particular, Victoria was congratulated for her “Pub Tours” which take place regularly, and give her an opportunity to meet and chat with constituents in an informal setting, at the same time as supporting local pubs.

After accepting the award, Victoria said: “I have always been a keen supporter of the beer and pub industry, not least because my husband is a CAMRA member and we make cider at home. I made representations to the Treasury about beer duty before the recent Budget statement, and my “Contact Victoria Prentis” beer mats are certainly a talking point.

As a new MP I didn’t think I would be in the running for the award, so I was amazed to hear my name read out. It was definitely my Pub Tours which impressed the judges.  Since I was selected as the Conservative candidate, I have visited over twenty pubs across my constituency as part of my tour. I find it provides a great opportunity to meet constituents, discuss issues of the day and get to know local publicans.

Pubs play a crucial social and economic role at the heart of our communities, so I will continue to do my bit for them. A date and destination for the next stop on my tour is yet to be confirmed but details are always posted on my website under the “Contact Victoria” tab.

The award – which rather appropriately is a silver tankard – will sit proudly on my desk in my Westminster office.”


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Victoria Prentis visited Bure Park Primary School on Friday morning to thank personally the winner of her Christmas card design competition.

Victoria asked all primary schools in her constituency to submit designs for Christmas cards, working to the theme of angels. Victoria then chose Jasmine McDermott, year 2 at Bure Park Primary School, as the winning design.

Victoria arrived at the school on Lucerne Avenue and met with Mr Rob Pearson, who has recently announced his retirement. She also had the opportunity to speak with new Head Teacher, Yvonne Hewson. There was an opportunity to discuss fairer funding for schools.

Victoria visited Jasmine McDermott in her class and thanked her for her artwork. Jasmine and her family have been invited to the Houses of Parliament to meet Victoria there and have a tour.

Speaking after her visit, Victoria said, “It was lovely to speak with Jasmine and thank her for designing such a beautiful card. I look forward to meeting her and her family in Westminster soon.

There were many impressive designs submitted from schools across the constituency, and I hope to see more this year.”


Victoria Prentis MP with Jasmine McDermott, the winner of Victoria’s 2015 Christmas card design competition.


Victoria Prentis MP is due to become a co-patron of the Banbury Canal Partnership after its AGM on 30th April.

The Banbury Canal Partnership combines volunteers and other organisations such as the Canal and Rivers Trust. The group works to clean up areas in and around the canal, and promote the route as a fantastic way to travel through north Oxfordshire.

She will join current patrons Sir Tony Baldry, former local MP, and actor Timothy West CBE.

Victoria said: “I am very excited to be taking on the co-patron role alongside Sir Tony and the rest of the team. Banbury is a lovely town, and the canal an important part of its history. I know lots of work goes into keeping the canal and towpaths in good condition, and I am keen to get involved.”

Sir Tony commented: “The Oxford Canal is a great asset for Banbury and the surrounding area. The Banbury Canal partnership is doing good work in helping maintain the canal and towpath and its good news that Victoria is getting involved as co-patron.”


As April marks Bowel Cancer Awareness Month Victoria Prentis, MP for North Oxfordshire, is supporting a call by leading research charity Bowel Cancer UK, urging more people to take part in bowel cancer screening and help save lives.

Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in the UK, affecting both men and women. Every year over 41,000 people (one every 15 minutes) are diagnosed with bowel cancer, and 16,200 people die of the disease.

Bowel cancer screening can save lives but at the moment in some areas of the UK only a third of those who receive a test complete it. Thousands of people are missing out on the chance to detect bowel cancer early when it is easier to treat.

Victoria said, “Improving uptake rates for bowel cancer screening, both locally and nationally, is really important. I would urge my constituents who are sent a screening test to use it, as it is undoubtedly the best way to get diagnosed early. It was eye-opening to meet my constituent Joy Dansette at the end of last year, and to hear her story. While she had no symptoms, routine screening showed abnormalities which eventually led to a life-threatening cancer diagnosis. Owing to her decision to take the bowel screening test, and the efforts of the Horton General Hospital in Banbury and the John Radcliffe in Oxford, thankfully Joy was able to make a full recovery. Her experiences really demonstrated to me the importance of screening and early diagnosis.”

Deborah Alsina, Chief Executive of Bowel Cancer UK, said, “I’d like to thank Victoria for supporting our campaign during Bowel Cancer Awareness Month to raise participation levels for bowel cancer screening. One in 14 men and one in 19 women will be diagnosed with bowel cancer during their lifetime but it is treatable and curable, especially if diagnosed early.”

The NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme (and its equivalent in each of the home nations) can detect bowel cancer at an early stage in people with no symptoms when it is easier to treat. Since its launch 10 years ago, it has been proven to save lives. If you’re registered with a GP and aged 60-74, you will receive a test in the post every two years. You carry out the simple test at home in private and it comes with step by step instructions. The test looks for hidden blood in your poo, which could be an early sign of bowel cancer.

Visit Bowel Cancer UK’s website to find out how you can get involved in their campaign for Bowel Cancer Awareness Month,


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Last week, Victoria Prentis MP toured her North Oxfordshire constituency from the deck of the ‘Dancing Duck’ canal boat. Starting from Tooley’s Boatyard in Banbury, the narrowboat travelled to Cropredy along the Oxford Canal, where Victoria stopped for lunch. She also had the opportunity to walk around the village and meet constituents.

During the trip, Victoria discussed the work of the Canal & River Trust with South East Waterways Manager, Vicky Martin. They talked about a range of issues including the importance of volunteering, and opportunities for community groups to make the most of the canal. Victoria was particularly interested to hear that businesses could have a ‘Corporate Adoption’, and Scout groups a ‘Pocket Adoption’ of their local waterway. Colin Garnham-Edge of the Banbury Canal Partnership expertly navigated the narrowboat throughout the day, entrusting Victoria to steer from time-to-time.

Speaking afterwards Victoria said, “While I have been on the canal many times before, I had never explored the stretch between Banbury and Cropredy. It was really interesting to tour the north of the constituency from the deck of a narrowboat. It gave a completely different perspective of our local area. We are extremely lucky to have the canal and I am keen to ensure that we do everything we can to make the most of it. I am incredibly grateful to both Vicky Martin and Colin Garnham-Edge for their expertise and experience. I think I am probably one of the first MPs to conduct a “floating surgery” with constituents!”

Victoria steering canal boat


Victoria Prentis, Member of Parliament for North Oxfordshire, has welcomed new dedicated funding from the Government to fill nearly 1 million potholes across the UK, including £1,036,000 to fill an estimated 19,547 potholes in Oxfordshire.

Local motorists will benefit from the dedicated funding after it was announced that nearly £50 million of funding will be made available to local councils over the next 12 months.  This is part of a wider move to fill 157,282 potholes across the South East, with over 100 councils in England receiving funding.

The funding has been made available to councils as part of the Government’s £250 million Pothole Action Fund included in last month’s budget, which will see over four million potholes fixed by 2020/21, and is part of the Government’s plan to invest in infrastructure to secure a better future for our economy.

Victoria commented, “The state of our roads is often raised with me by local residents and remains a great source of frustration for drivers, myself included. In my own village there are several potholes that I am hoping will be filled now that this scheme has been announced.

This new funding is welcome news for families and businesses in North Oxfordshire who rely on our roads to get around.

I’m glad that the Government is investing both nationally and locally to improve roads across the UK. The rapid increase in population in North Oxfordshire means that there is greater demand than ever before for adequate infrastructure and services to support local communities, and this is certainly a step in the right direction.”



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Victoria Prentis, MP for North Oxfordshire, visited St Mary’s Church in Banbury this Tuesday. She was met by Associate Minister Revd Jeff West and Churchwarden Camilla Finlay, who drew to her attention the critical condition of the church’s roof.

She learnt from Jeff and Camilla that having started a roof repair project funded by a central government repair grant, they discovered the timber roof structure to be in a dangerous state, riddled with deep decay and dry rot.

Churchwarden Camilla Finlay made clear that they had been very fortunate to have started a repair project and uncovered the decay, as there was a very real risk of a catastrophic collapse within the church.  However it means that the funds already raised for the works are now not enough.

The decayed roof timbers are directly above the church organ. To protect the instrument, it has been dismantled and moved to the aisle of the church and there are growing concerns about the condition of other roofs.

Victoria, very concerned by the situation she saw, commented “St Mary’s Church is the iconic building in Banbury, and a huge part of the town’s history. This is a moment of crisis and I hope that the town will pull together to help the church with it.

“With costs mounting every week, including scaffolding costs of over £1000 a week, the eventual end cost of the project is unclear. It is vital that as much money is raised as possible before the beginning of June, to ensure that the roof coverings and organ can be reinstated this summer”

Camilla Finlay, Churchwarden, said “An emergency appeal has been launched for an additional £60,000 to complete the essential work to stabilise the roof structure and protect the organ. We really need the support of the local community at this time.”

Reverend West commented “St Mary’s is Banbury’s only Grade 1 listed building and is included on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk register. We need the support of the community to enable St Mary’s to continue to serve the people of Banbury.”


Victoria Prentis MP has welcomed last week’s launch of the Government’s new National Living Wage – giving a big boost to the lowest-paid in North Oxfordshire.

Workers aged 25 and over and not in the first year of an apprenticeship are now legally entitled to at least £7.20 an hour under the National Living Wage. This will mean an extra 50 pence an hour compared to the National Minimum Wage, which equates to a £20 a week pay rise for a full time worker.

The National Living Wage, which came into effect on 1 April, is likely to benefit 1.3 million hardworking people across the country and is set to rise to £9 an hour by 2020. Meanwhile, 6 million more could see a pay rise as a result of a ripple effect pushing wages up across Britain.

At the same time, the tax-free personal allowance will be increased. From 6 April 2016 the personal allowance will rise to £11,000 – a saving of £80 – and from April 2017 it will rise again to £11,500 – taking 1.3 million of the lowest-paid workers out of income tax altogether and giving a tax cut to 31 million across the country. Workers and employers can find more information online at

Victoria commented: “North Oxfordshire deserves a pay rise and I’m very proud to be part of a Conservative party that is delivering the higher-wage, lower-tax, lower-welfare economy we all want to see.

Boosting wages and making sure that more families have the security of a decent, regular pay packet, while ensuring that people are always better off in work, are at the heart of our long-term plan. We have virtually no unemployment in Banbury, Bicester and the surrounding villages. This is something we can be proud of, and the new National Living Wage will support this positive development.

While I understand that this will be an adjustment for some employers, it is a crucial step in the right direction for both North Oxfordshire and the rest of the UK. We are backing hard work and aspiration, creating opportunities for hardworking people.”


Victoria Prentis MP writes about her concerns ahead of the House of Commons vote on the High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill.

Our area was scarred by the building of the M40 when I was 16.  29 years on and the gash is still as visible, and as noisy, but we have reaped economic benefits that make our area one of real growth and almost no unemployment – an area of which this Government is justly proud. We are not nimbys; we welcome development when we can see its benefits, and are coping with unprecedented housing growth.

By contrast, HS2 brings us nothing but eight years of significant disruption, followed by permanent dissection. It will destroy beautiful habitat, ancient woodlands and pasture. Its construction will cause traffic gridlock to Banbury. And all for what?  If it were to give others the connectivity and economic success we enjoy, we might try to grin and bear it.  But I can’t look my constituents in the eye and tell them it is for the greater good. 

HS2 will not, sadly, heal the north-south divide. Rather, it will reinforce the dominance of London. It will certainly cost us all money – at least £1000 per household. It won’t really save time. In Birmingham, the proposed interchange station in Curzon Street is separate to the primary West Midlands hub at New Street, only accessible via tram or a 15 minute walk in an underpass. The link with Heathrow has been abandoned, and it doesn’t connect with the Channel Tunnel. Euston won’t be ready before the line is expected to open so rail users will have to disembark at Old Oak Common, a station in the suburbs.

Most tragically, it is bad for the environment. Over 130 wildlife sites on the first stage will be affected, including 10 Sites of Special Scientific Interest, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and 50 ancient woodlands. It is supposed to encourage passengers to give up more carbon intensive forms of transport. However HS2 Ltd’s own projections suggest a shift of only 11% from car or air to high-speed rail.

I can look at the M40 and see the benefits. My successor in 30 years’ time will look at HS2, if it goes ahead, and see only division, noise and disruption, and no significant benefits gained for the rest of the country.  That is why I will be voting against this Bill this afternoon.

Victoria Prentis MP (23 March 2016)

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