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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 REOPENS BICESTER GREEN WITH MAYOR AND COUNCILLOR, LES SIBLEY

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On Friday 7 July, Victoria Prentis joined Bicester Mayor, Cllr Les Sibley to reopen Bicester Green at their new purpose-built premises next to Garth Park.

Bicester Green is a local organisation supporting waste reduction by taking bikes, furniture and electrical items from landfill to refurbish and repair. As a body reliant on volunteers, Bicester Green brings together a variety of skills from within the community, as well as providing education and training for its members.

In addition, Bicester Green is now advertising practical training courses for anyone who is unemployed and wants to develop new skills and widen their career opportunities.

Following the opening, Victoria commented: “I thoroughly enjoyed looking around Bicester Green’s new, purpose-built premises and meeting volunteers. It was a pleasure to join Cllr Les Sibley for the opening, and get involved in this exciting new era for the group.

Litter and waste are important issues for me, and Bicester Green is a prime example of a valuable community asset that is totally committed to tackling social problems.”

For more information about the work of Bicester Green, visit www.bicestergreen.org.uk/.

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 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/.

VICTORIA PRENTIS RE-ELECTED AS MP FOR NORTH OXFORDSHIRE

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VP 2017 GE Results

Conservative candidate, Victoria Prentis, has been re-elected as the Member of Parliament for North Oxfordshire.

Speaking after the result was announced, Victoria said:
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to represent the area in which I have always lived once again. Turnout was brilliant, as we have seen across the country. Regardless of what my opponents have said throughout the campaign, I am committed to fighting for the future of the Horton General Hospital, and hope to be able to continue to work cross-party with Labour going forward.
“We must also focus on Brexit given that we start negotiating in just eleven days. This is the future of our area that we are talking about. It is vital that we get the best deal. I will be a vocal champion for North Oxfordshire at Westminster.”

 

VICTORIA PRENTIS CHATS TO VOTERS OVER COFFEE AND BEER

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On Friday 26 May, ahead of the General Election on 8 June, Victoria Prentis, the Conservative candidate for North Oxfordshire, travelled across the constituency to meet local people.

Starting at the new ‘FLTR Coffee’ shop in Bicester, Victoria spent time chatting to new mothers and residents of Langford Village over a coffee. They discussed issues including community facilities, healthcare in Oxfordshire and road safety.

In the afternoon, Victoria joined the Adderbury Friday club for lunch, where members had the opportunity to ask questions about Victoria’s election commitments and her priorities for the area. The Horton General Hospital was a key topic of discussion, alongside NHS funding and Brexit.

Victoria then joined staff and pupils at St John’s Priory to celebrate their recent Independent Schools Inspection rating of ‘excellent’. As part of the celebrations, an afternoon tea party was held in the grounds, and provided an opportunity to congratulate the pupils, parents and staff for all of their hard work.

Finishing off the day, The Sun Inn, Hook Norton played host to another of Victoria’s ‘Pub Tours’. During her election campaign, Victoria has been visiting local pubs across North Oxfordshire to meet village residents to chat about local matters such as housing developments and bus services.

Victoria commented: “I thoroughly enjoyed travelling around North Oxfordshire today, meeting people over coffee and in the evening, a beer. It is important that residents are able to talk about matters that are close to their heart, and have the opportunity to asks questions ahead of the General Election.”

Throughout the rest of the campaign, Victoria will be visiting various places across North Oxfordshire. For further details, please visit www.victoriaprentis.com/general-election-2017/meet-victoria/.

Victoria visiting FLTR Coffee, Bicester.

Victoria at FLTR Coffee, Bicester.

Secretary of State for Health comes to Banbury

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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/.

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Victoria Prentis hits the General Election campaign trail

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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!’

Victoria re-selected as Conservative parliamentary candidate for Banbury

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On Saturday 22 April, at a special meeting of the North Oxfordshire Conservative Association membership, Victoria Prentis was selected as the Conservative candidate for Banbury in the upcoming General Election.

Speaking after her re-adoption, which was passed unanimously by local Conservative members, Victoria said: “It has been a privilege to represent the people of North Oxfordshire at Westminster for the past two years. I am pleased and proud to have been re-adopted as the Conservative candidate for my hometown and will be working hard to seek re-election on 8 June. Much of my time, particularly the last year, has been spent fighting to save the Horton General Hospital. We have not won yet. I really hope I will have the opportunity to continue this battle as the Member of Parliament after the election. I look forward to getting out and about in the constituency in the coming weeks.

If anyone wants to get in touch with me they can via victoria4northoxon@gmail.com.”

The meeting was chaired by Association President, Barbara Cunningham. Of Victoria’s re-selection, she said: “Victoria has been a superb constituency MP and a passionate advocate for North Oxfordshire. On issues from HS2 to farming needs, broadband, business and of course the Horton General Hospital she has been a vocal champion for the Banbury constituency in Westminster. Her national campaigns like Singing for Syrians and the Great British Spring Clean are making a hugely positive difference in communities both at home and abroad. We look forward to working hard on her election campaign.”

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