It is likely that my freepost leaflet will be delivered to North Oxfordshire voters by the Royal Mail today, and the rest of this week. This leaflet, that all candidates are entitled to, was regretfully already booked in with the Royal Mail before the Manchester attack. Royal Mail have a legal obligation to deliver any leaflet within a certain time frame of receipt.
North Oxfordshire Conservative volunteers will not be delivering this leaflet.
My campaign remains suspended as a mark of respect for those who lost their lives in Manchester on Monday. I firmly believe that this is a time for us to all come together.
Victoria has been helping out other local Conservative candidates with their General Election campaigns.
On 15 May, Victoria and a number of members of the North Oxfordshire Conservative Association travelled to Cheltenham to canvass for her friend and colleague Alex Chalk who was also a member of the Justice Committee during the last Parliament. The following day, Victoria joined candidate Resham Kotecha as she leafleted in Coventry North West.
Victoria commented: “It is always great to get out and support local colleagues, and I was really pleased to be able to join two brilliant candidates on the campaign trail. Alex did some very impressive work on the Justice Committee during his time in Parliament, and managed to make significant progress on legislation to prevent stalking. I know Resham through her work on Women2Win campaign group; she would be a fantastic representative for the people of Coventry North West.”
For more information on Alex Chalk, Conservative Candidate for Cheltenham, click here.
For Resham Kotecha’s Twitter feed, click here.
On Friday 12 May, Victoria joined Revd Philip Cochrane and members of the public to plant a new Baby Loss Memorial Tree in People’s Park, Banbury. The new tree replaces one that was planted last year to mark Baby Loss Awareness Week, and was kindly donated by an anonymous Banbury resident.
Following the ceremony, Victoria said: “It was so sad to lose the first tree, but I am really grateful to the generous donor who has made sure that local people once again have a special place to remember lost babies and children. I was delighted to be involved in the re-planting, and I can’t wait to see the tree grow and flourish in the years to come.”
Baby Loss Awareness Week will take place on 9-15 October 2017.
‘I know that some people would have liked the opportunity to see Jeremy Hunt today.
I completely understand that people are disappointed that they did not manage to see the Secretary of State today and ask him their questions about the future of the Horton. The brief visit was arranged very recently and, until today, it was uncertain whether he would be able to come at all. Given the depth of feeling locally, I was worried that any advertising of his visit might result in a demonstration. While I strongly believe that there is a time and a place for peaceful protests, such as the Hands Around Our Horton event last year, this was not it. This was a private visit, in which I was able calmly to express our concerns.
While I have spoken to the Secretary of State about the Horton on a number of occasions, I have always felt it was vital that he should come and see the hospital and the local area for himself. We sat in the car in Oxford-bound traffic and I showed him several of the new housing developments, and told him about the rest. I gave him my response to the Clinical Commissioning Group’s recent consultation, which includes anonymised submissions from local residents about their concern for local healthcare services. I was able to discuss the future of A&E, maternity and paediatrics with him in detail, to talk about our worries about the domino effect of service removal and to explain the results of the travel survey fully. We were able to talk and listen to local people who passed by.
I have always believed the Horton to be above politics, and have valued the cross-party nature of our campaign. The fight is as personal for me as it is for everyone else who lives locally; it is a fight I am determined to win. For me, the time I had today with the Secretary of State was simply the best opportunity to get our case across. That is why I did not publicise the visit in advance. By the end of his visit, the Secretary of State could have no doubt about the strength of feeling towards our much-needed local hospital.’
On 11 May 2017, Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, visited Banbury. The Conservative candidate for North Oxfordshire, Victoria Prentis took the opportunity to show Mr Hunt the Horton General Hospital site, and its surrounding area. She was also able to give him a copy of her response to the Transformation Programme Phase One consultation and to explain in detail the challenges facing the Horton.
In particular, they focused on travel times to Oxford, population growth, traffic congestion and patient safety. They were also able to talk to local people, and experience part of the journey to Oxford.
Victoria Prentis commented: “I have frequently discussed the future of the Horton with Mr Hunt, and have invited him to visit the site for some time. I was very pleased that he was able to do so. It was very helpful that he could come to Banbury in order to understand our concerns
“The Horton is a worry for us all; I continue to work closely with local elected officials, as well as the Department for Health. We need acute services in Banbury. Despite the election campaign, we must continue to put pressure on the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to ensure the future of services at the Horton.”
For further information on Victoria’s work with the Horton General Hospital, please visit www.victoriaprentis.com/horton-general-hospital/.
With the General Election campaign now in full swing, Victoria Prentis has been out and about with local Conservative supporters to deliver leaflets outlining her vision for North Oxfordshire in the coming years. Victoria has made it clear that she supports the strong leadership provided by Prime Minister Theresa May, and she stands by the Conservative commitment to support education, healthcare and defence.
Speaking after her first campaign action day, Victoria said: ‘It has been great to get out campaigning again. I really believe in Theresa May’s vision for a strong Britain, and I know that it will be right course for the people of North Oxfordshire as well as the country as a whole. However, the Horton General Hospital is always at the forefront of my mind, and I want to make it clear that it is just as important to me as the wider national issues. I look forward to discussing the opportunities and challenges facing North Oxfordshire in the years to come. I am sure there will be many lively discussions on the doorsteps!’
On Friday 5 May, Victoria held a Meet the Candidate drop-in session at McDonald’s restaurant in Banbury town centre before visiting the Banbury Beer and Cider Festival. With the General Election campaign now in full swing, Victoria enjoyed the opportunity to meet voters in an informal setting and chat about their concerns.
Victoria was welcomed to McDonald’s by manager Jane Blackwell, who was keen to discuss the opportunities and issues facing businesses in Banbury’s town centre. A number of local residents and voters also came along to discuss the campaign and Victoria’s plans for North Oxfordshire.
Later that afternoon, Victoria popped in to the Banbury Beer and Cider Festival, a popular annual event organised in conjunction with the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). As a long-time supporter of CAMRA and a keen cider brewer, Victoria was delighted to meet a number of people passionate about British beer.
Speaking afterwards, Victoria said: ‘It was great to meet so many people from different walks of life at both McDonald’s and the Beer Festival. What was clear is that we all want to see Banbury and North Oxfordshire flourish. I am really excited to be out on the campaign trail again and I am looking forward to meeting as many local people and businesses as I can.’