Category Archives: Victoria in Parliament

A statement from Victoria on social media

“The recent General Election brought out the best and worst in people. It was a passionately fought campaign for all involved, but unfortunately a number of us, myself included, were subjected to some extremely worrying and upsetting abuse. Since then, it has only got worse. The number of offensive online remarks peaked last week, prompting me to make the decision to remove all comments, both supportive and negative, from my Facebook page for the time being.

I am not alone. A number of Members of Parliament from across the political spectrum have made the same decision after acting on advice. High-level discussions about the best way forward are in progress, and I will be making my views known. Of course, everyone should have the opportunity to express their views but there is absolutely no place in our democracy for the abuse we have seen over recent months.

It is always good to hear the views of my constituents. Just last night, I held one of my regular pub tours, and I organise frequent surgeries in both Banbury and Bicester where people can raise their issues. If it is more convenient to get in touch with me online, constituents can email victoria.prentis.mp@parliament.uk. Alternatively, they can call my office on 01869 233685. I always try to reply to all questions promptly, but urgent casework does take priority.”

Victoria Prentis MP welcomes Government commitment to ban microbeads

Victoria Prentis, MP for North Oxfordshire, has welcomed the Government’s plans to legislate for a ban on microbeads to come into force next year. Microbeads are tiny pieces of plastic that are often included in cosmetic products. They contribute to the rising levels of plastics in the ocean, causing harm to the marine environment and wildlife. The Government plans to introduce a ban on manufacture from January 2018, with a ban sale following in June 2018.

Commenting on the plans, Victoria said: ‘I was very pleased to hear that the Government plans to legislate for a ban on microbeads. I spoke in a debate on this subject in the last Parliament, and I know that a number of constituents contributed to the consultation. This is a big step forward for the marine environment and follows the plastic bag charge which has seen an 83 per cent reduction in their use since its introduction in 2015.’

 

Victoria reflects on a ‘difficult year’ for the Horton

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“Today marks one year since I was told that the obstetric service at the Horton General Hospital was facing a recruitment crisis and would be suspended pending a decision by the Trust’s board later on in the summer. It has been a difficult year for us all, particularly new parents and their babies, and concern remains around the current and future arrangements.

During the past year I have had numerous meetings with Ministers, other local elected representatives, the Clinical Commissioning Group and the Trust. I have raised it on the floor of the House on numerous occasions: in departmental questions, in a Private Member’s Bill, and in speeches; today, I even mentioned it during Church Commissioners questions!

The CCG Board will make a decision on Phase One of their consultation on 10 August. From the conversations I have had in recent weeks with NHS England, NHS Improvement and Health Education England they can be in no doubt about the strength of feeling locally. I hope that any further decisions on the future of maternity at the Horton can, at the very least, be paused until we have a clearer vision of health services so that they remain safe, kind and close to home.”

NORTH OXFORDSHIRE MP SUPPORTS YOUTH PARLIAMENT MOTION IN HOUSE OF COMMONS

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On Monday 17 July 2017, the Rt Hon. Andrea Leadsom MP, Leader of the House of Commons, and Michael Ellis MP, Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, tabled a motion in the to welcome the work of the United Kingdom Youth Parliament (UKYP) and allow them to use the Chamber for their annual House of Commons Sitting. The motion was passed with unanimous support. The UKYP is the only group other than MPs allowed to debate from the green benches, and they have been doing so annually since 2009.

The UKYP provides opportunities for 11-18 year olds who have been elected locally by their peers to bring about social change through meaningful representation and campaigning. Elected representatives traditionally meet twice a year, once in summer and every November in the House of Commons. 16 March 2009, Members of Parliament voted to allow UK Youth Parliament to debate in the Chamber; their first sitting took place in October 2009, marking the first time that the Chamber has been used by a group other than MPs.

Yesterday’s motion allows the UKYP to meet once a year in the Chamber of the House of Commons for the duration of the current Parliament, and was supported by a cross-party group of MPs, including Victoria Prentis, MP for North Oxfordshire.

Following the motion, Victoria commented: “Youth engagement is a vital part of politics. It is so important that young people have the opportunity to participate in its processes and represent the views of their peers.

 In previous years, Youth Parliament has had the opportunity to come to Westminster and have a lively discussion on the green benches on a range of extremely relevant subjects including mental health. Locally, my Democracy Challenge will be returning for a third year, and this time around will take place during Parliament Week which runs from 13-17 November. This is a good opportunity for pupils to improve skills in areas such as public speaking and debating.

 We are seeing a rise in youth participation. It is a really exciting development for national politics, and it is important that, as MPs, we continue to engage with our younger constituents.”

VICTORIA PRENTIS MP MEETS WITH NHS ENGLAND AND NHS IMPROVEMENT

On Monday 17 July, Victoria Prentis, Member of Parliament for North Oxfordshire, met with representatives from NHS England and NHS Improvement to discuss her concerns about the recent Oxfordshire Transformation Plan Phase One consultation. Victoria was keen to make clear her views ahead of the Board meeting of the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group on 10 August.

During the meeting, Victoria voiced a number of concerns and made clear that patient safety is of utmost importance. She also discussed travel times from the north of the county to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, as well as the potential knock-on effect of any training accreditation decisions on other acute services at the Horton.

Speaking after the meeting, Victoria commented: “Since the suspension of obstetric services at the Horton, I have written to NHS England on a number of occasions to ensure that they are aware of my concerns, and those of my constituents, regarding the current situation in our area. However, I was really keen to sit down with them and have a proper discussion regarding the proposals included in the Transformation Programme Phase One consultation. The past few months have been an unhappy and confusing time for us in North Oxfordshire. There has been too much uncertainty. It was helpful to understand the views of both NHS England and NHS Improvement and ensure that we have a good working relationship going forward.”

Secretary of State for International Development repeats her support for Singing for Syrians

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Victoria Prentis MP spoke in International Development Questions on Wednesday 12 July 2017, raising the issue of aid spending in the region around Syria and thanking the Speaker and the Secretary of State for their support of her own charity initiative, Singing for Syrians.

Speaking after the question session, Victoria said: ‘Since it started in 2015, the Government has been very supportive of Singing for Syrians so I was grateful for the Secretary of State’s response to my question on Wednesday. There were 85 events in 2016 – many of which took place in North Oxfordshire – and we raised a fantastic £140,000 for the Hands Up Foundation. So far, the money has gone to paying the salaries of the medical team in Aleppo, funding a prosthetic limb clinic and we are now focusing on supporting a school for disabled children in Damascus. The initiative really does help the most vulnerable who remain in Syria and the surrounding region.

We are now gearing up for the re-launch in September, and have already fixed a date for our flagship event in St Margaret’s Church, Westminster on Tuesday 12 December. The concerts are really easy to organise, so hopefully people in North Oxfordshire will consider holding their own.’

More information and fundraising packs can be found at www.singingforsyrians.com or email victoria.prentis.mp@parliament.uk.

 

The below account is taken from the Official Report from 12 July 2017:

Mr Speaker: Order. We might not reach the question tabled by the hon. Member for Banbury (Victoria Prentis), so if she wants to come in now, she can, although it is not obligatory.

Victoria Prentis (Banbury) (Con): How kind! May I use this opportunity to thank you, Mr Speaker, for your support for Singing for Syrians? I also thank the Department for International Development for its support. As a result of all the support we have received from across the House, Singing for Syrians is now able to support not only medical aid in Syria but a school for disabled children. Does my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State agree that aid is always worth more when it is spent in the region, and that what the people caught up in this terrible conflict really want is to be able to stay as close to home as possible? [900369]

The Secretary of State for International Development (Priti Patel): My hon. Friend is absolutely right. I congratulate her and everyone else who has been involved in Singing for Syrians. It is an incredible charity, and I commend her for her work. She is right to highlight the fact that providing support in region is what makes a difference in terms of changing and saving lives. We have led the way in this. The United Kingdom has spent more than £2.46 billion in Syria and the region, providing hope and opportunity to those who have been displaced through conflict.

 

VICTORIA PRENTIS MP SUPPORTS THE BRITISH COUNCIL’S FUTURE LEADERS CONNECT SCHEME

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Victoria Prentis, MP for North Oxfordshire, is supporting the British Council’s search for a new generation of leaders to join individuals from ten other countries for an intensive policy and leadership programme. Future Leaders Connect, launched this year by the British Council, will offer nine days of leadership learning and development for young people to provide them with the skills they need to turn innovative ideas into tangible policy recommendations. Those taking part will meet some of today’s leading thinkers from public, private, third sector and political worlds.

 

Commenting after meeting representatives from the British Council at the House of Commons, Victoria said: ‘I am a huge supporter of any initiative that gets young people from different countries engaging with each other. I really benefitted from a similar scheme, and my own daughters go on foreign exchanges every year. We need to inspire the leaders of the future from all over the world, and I am really excited about this new opportunity from the British Council. I would urge any young people from North Oxfordshire who want to make a difference to apply.’

 

Sir Ciarán Devane, the Chief Executive of the British Council, said: ‘An international outlook is vital for the future leaders of all countries, if they wish to overcome the challenges they will face. Through Future Leaders Connect the British Council will help a new generation to understand practical policy development by putting them in contact with the leaders of today. The programme will help them to develop the skills and international contacts they need to make positive change in their countries.’

 

Anyone who would like to take part needs to submit an online application by 23.59 Thursday 20 July 2017 (BST). They will be asked what their unique policy ideas are and about their experience as a leader. www.britishcouncil.org/future-leaders-connect.

 

Ten finalists from across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will be awarded a fully funded place as part of Future Leaders Connect. They will join finalists from Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tunisia and the USA.

BANBURY MP QUESTIONS JEREMY HUNT ABOUT TRAINING ACCREDITATION

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During Health Questions in the House  on Tuesday 4 July, Victoria Prentis MP took the opportunity to ask the Secretary of State for Health, the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, about training accreditation and the potential domino effect on service provision following a decision by Health Education England.

She asked: “Will the Secretary of State reassure my constituents that the component parts of the NHS can communicate with each other sufficiently to ensure that decisions such as the one by a medical dean to remove accreditation for anaesthetic training will not lead to the closure of A&E departments in hospitals such as Horton general, where my father was treated so well last Friday?”.

Following the downgrade of the Horton’s maternity unit, owing to staff shortages and a lack of training accreditation for obstetricians, Victoria was keen to impress the importance of training in relation to the long-term sustainability of acute hospital services. In his response, the Secretary of State agreed that changes to training patterns must not interrupt the delivery of local services in a “disadvantageous way”.

Speaking afterwards, Victoria said: “There is no doubt that the loss of training accreditation for obstetricians in Banbury has had a detrimental impact on maternity services in the area. It is vital that the same does not happen to A&E, and anaesthetic training is retained at the Horton. A knock on effect from the removal of any further training would further inhibit our hospital services. I am glad that I had the opportunity to raise this matter with the Secretary of State for Health, and I will be meeting the Dean of our local Trust soon to discuss my concerns.”

Victoria Prentis’ statement on public sector pay

‘Before I became a Member of Parliament, I was a senior civil servant and managed a team that effectively had no pay increase for seven consecutive years. I saw first-hand how it affected morale. It is vital that public service workers – including those providing frontline services – are treated fairly and given every opportunity to progress and excel in their careers. Nowhere is this more important than in our own area given the recruitment challenges facing health services across the county, and particularly at the Horton. However, we must understand the costs involved.

Yesterday’s amendment was made with very little notice, allowing no opportunity for any of us to look the implications in sufficient detail. Of course, it is right to keep the issue under review and independent advice sought. Over recent years, pay review bodies have done exactly this, making recommendations regularly. The NHS Pay Review Body last reported in March and said the level should remain at one percent. The next set of recommendations to the Government will be brought forward later this year. I do think this is a balanced approach, and I will certainly look at the outcome closely.

We must also remember that our public services rely on a strong economy. I appreciate that we have had to make difficult decisions over recent years to reduce the national deficit. Pay restraint has protected thousands of jobs and frontline services throughout. That said, I am hopeful that we can start to look forward, both locally and nationally, to a more stable future for public services.’

VICTORIA PRENTIS USES FIRST COMMONS SPEECH OF NEW PARLIAMENT TO TALK ABOUT THE HORTON

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On Wednesday 28 June, Victoria Prentis, MP for North Oxfordshire, used her first speech of the new parliament to talk about the Horton General Hospital and patient safety.

During the Health, Social Care and Security debate, Victoria delivered a passionate speech, detailing her support for the draft patient safety Bill and highlighted the need for transparency within the NHS, focusing on positive patient outcomes.

Making reference to a recent visit to the Grange Primary School in Banbury, in which the pupils showed impressive knowledge of the challenges facing the Horton, Victoria told the Chamber of her ongoing concerns regarding the safety of mothers and babies in Banbury following the downgrade of the maternity unit in 2016 and local population growth. She raised important matters relating to the consultation in Oxfordshire, calling again on the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group to halt the Transformation Programme consultation and focus on recruitment.

After the speech, Victoria commented: “Following my re-election, I am committed to ensuring that the Horton General Hospital remains one of the most important issues during my work as the MP for North Oxfordshire.

Local and national health authorities must prioritise patient safety, and I just do not think that is the case, particularly in Banbury. We are building five times more houses in the constituency than the national average, yet the CCG are planning to centralise healthcare in Oxford.

I know the Labour Opposition Leader of Cherwell District Council has called on me to use the current situation in Government to get the Prime Minister to stop any further changes to service provision at the Horton. Of course, health decisions are devolved to local commissioners but the Secretary of State for Health is well aware of our situation, as is the Prime Minister. Last week I attended the CCG’s Board meeting, and met the Chief Executive on Friday and also spoke to the Clinical Director of the Oxford University Hospitals Trust, Paul Brennan, to ensure I was up to date with recruitment, and other challenges facing the Trust.

With the retirement of the CCG Chief Executive David Smith, I will continue to press for the consultation to be halted, and remain committed to ensuring that we retain acute services in Banbury. I have raised all these points again with the Department since returning to Westminster. They can be in no doubt about the challenges we face locally.”

To read the full speech, visit www.victoriaprentis.com/horton-general-hospital/.

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