The Life at Westminster column with Sir Greg Knight MP

Although Parliament is currently in recess, I am one of a cross-party group of over 80 politicians who are using the summer to campaign for improved transport connections for the North of England, including Yorkshire.

Sunday, 19th August 2018, 3:51 pm
There were 1,258 laser attack incidents reported in 2016.

We want to see a substantial £100billion investment in transport in northern England by 2050 and we have written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer asking for regional road and rail links to be improved in time for the proposed arrival of HS2 in 2032.

Why? Because we believe that this money is needed to reverse decades of underinvestment in the North.

Current Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has said we will get the lion’s share of future transport investment but the Treasury still need to give him a bigger pot of cash to improve our transport links.

Some rail services are appalling and we need to do more to cut journey times, particularly east to west across the country both on rail and also on our roads.

New transport investment would also bring new job opportunities and stimulate significant growth for the whole of the North.

During this recess, which ends in September, a number of changes to the law Parliament has recently made are starting to take effect.

For example, yobs possessing laser pens now need to be very careful how they use them.

We have passed a new law which means that those targeting airline pilots with laser pens could be fined and possibly imprisoned.

A total of 1,258 laser attack incidents were reported in 2016, most commonly targeting planes flying into British airports.

The Laser Misuse (Vehicles) Act also allows for sentences up to five years and unlimited fines and it extends those protected by the law to include bus drivers, captains of boats and hovercrafts as well as airline pilots.

Although it was the Conservative government which introduced the measure, these welcome proposals had all party support and they have just come into effect.

Even during a recess, Members of Parliament still receive daily a mixture of telephone calls, letters and emails from their constituents, but it is emails which dominate the postbag.

However, surprisingly, it is often the ‘snail mail’ letter which contains the urgent problem, while the email inbox frequently contains a 100 or more messages emanating from some lobby group or organisation.

Of course, it is always important to know other people’s views but sometimes cheeky e-mailers complain if they do not receive a reply immediately, or question why you have taken 48 hours or so to respond.

While all communications are important, those who send emails should realise that using the latest technology, of itself, does not mean that you automatically have the right to leapfrog people with more pressing and urgent problems, some of whom might not have internet access.

However, no communication system is infallible and if you do not receive a reply within a couple of weeks, it is always worth asking what is happening.