Evennett back Government action on Southeastern rail franchise

Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, has expressed his strong support at the Government’s decision to end the London Southeastern rail franchise (LSER) on 17 October 2021, and transfer it to the Operator of Last Resort.

Earlier today (28 September), Sir David met virtually with the Rail Minister, Rt Hon Chris Heaton-Harris MP, to discuss the Government’s plans. Sir David has long campaigned for improvements to rail services in the local area due to the many failures of Southeastern Railway, including delays, cancellations and lack of communications. The Government has taken this action because of the franchise “deliberately failing to report over £25 million of historic franchise payments due to be repaid to Government” and “continues to investigate outstanding matters relating to historical contracts with LSER, with a view to recovering any additional money owed”.

Sir David commented: “I had a very productive meeting with the minister this morning and am pleased with the Government’s decision to remove the franchise from Southeastern next month. Bexley residents have suffered for too long and the Operator of Last Resort will prioritise the punctual, reliable services that passengers deserve, as well as deliver the much needed new and refurbished rolling stock. I am also very concerned at the failure to report monies owed to the Government, but welcome the Government’s swift and ongoing actions to investigate and recover the payments due”.

Evennett reappointed as Conservative Party Vice Chair

During the course of the Prime Minister’s recent reshuffle of Government and Party jobs, Rt Hon Sir David Evennett MP was reappointed to his position as Vice Chair of the Conservative Party for Business Engagement.

Sir David commented: “I am delighted to continue to serve as a Vice Chair of the Party and to work with colleagues and businesses. As we build back better the Government is determined to help businesses across our country to thrive, succeed and create jobs. Under our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, Global Britain is a reality.”

Evennett highlights importance of FE colleges

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Parliament returned from the Summer Recess this week and Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, has been present in the House of Commons chamber to watch the debates and quiz Ministers.

Yesterday (7 September), during Treasury oral questions, Sir David asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP, a question on FE colleges. Sir David asked:

I commend my right hon. Friend the Chancellor for all his determination to create new jobs and new investment and to upskill the workforce; I believe it is paying dividends, as we are seeing in the economy. Does he agree that further education colleges have a vital role in upskilling our workforce, both young and not so young, to get the best jobs for the future?

In response, the Chancellor commented:

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right about the important role of FE colleges, which is why I was pleased in the last Budget to invest billions over this Parliament to improve the infrastructure and the quality of our FE estate. With the Prime Minister’s lifetime skills guarantee, FE colleges will be instrumental in delivering to all adults the extra qualification that they need to get better-paid jobs. My right hon. Friend is absolutely right to focus on that.

Evennett backs proposed Parliamentary boundary changes in Bexley

In a speech to the AGM of the Bexleyheath and Crayford Conservatives held virtually on Friday evening (25 June), Rt Hon Sir David Evennett MP backed the recently published initial proposals from the Parliamentary Boundary Commission for new constituencies in the London Borough of Bexley. He called the plans “proportionate and sensible”.

Sir David backed the proposals for bringing the Parliamentary boundaries in alignment with the new Bexley Council ward boundaries, which would mean that the whole of West Heath and Northumberland Heath wards would be included in the new Bexleyheath and Crayford Parliamentary constituency. The whole of the Falconwood and Welling and East Wickham wards would transfer into the Sidcup and Welling Parliamentary constituency. Sir David commented: “these proposals are good for local communities and organisations, and they also maintain historic ties. These proposals would ensure that our important major towns like Bexleyheath, Welling and Thamesmead are not split between Parliamentary constituencies”.

The Parliamentary Boundary Commission have opened their proposals for consultation and constituents can make their views known by visiting https://www.bcereviews.org.uk/ then entering their postcode and clicking the ‘Make a comment’ button.

Need to look forward

Speaking at the AGM of the Crayford Conservatives branch yesterday evening (14 June), Bexleyheath and Crayford MP, Right Hon Sir David Evennett, gave an overview of the last year. He highlighted the success of the vaccine uptake in Bexley as “one of the best in the country”.

Sir David spoke of the considerable difficulties, sadness and challenges of the past year, but highlighted how the leadership of the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Boris Johnson, has been “measured and inspirational”. He then spoke about the Government’s legislative programme, including the Immigration Bill, Animal Welfare Bill, the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill, repealing the Fixed-term Parliaments Act the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill and to look forward to the Government’s levelling up agenda.

The Officers elected for the Crayford Conservatives branch were:

Chair: Cllr Geraldene Lucia-Hennis

Deputy Chair: Mrs Norma Seymour

Treasurer: Peter Lucia-Hennis

Secretary: Jamie Hamilton

Evennett welcomes “constructive and comprehensive” Queen’s Speech

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Yesterday (12 May) in Parliament the Queen outlined the government’s priorities for the year ahead, as she officially reopened Parliament.

The new legislative programme is focused on supporting the nation’s recovery from the global COVID-19 pandemic. Among the 30 new laws announced were:

  • Legislation to establish a fairer immigration system that strengthens our borders and deters criminals who facilitate dangerous and illegal journeys by migrants across the English Channel.
  • The Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill to accelerate the rollout of 5G mobile and gigabit broadband.
  • Improvements to animal welfare, including banning the export of live animals for fattening and slaughter, mandatory microchipping for cats, and recognising animal sentience.
  • Repealing the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, in order to reinstate the constitutional principle that the Government of the day has the confidence of Parliament and is able to seek a fresh democratic mandate when it is needed.
  • A Skills and Post-16 Education Bill to transform access to skills across the country, ensuring that people can train and retrain at any stage in their lives, supporting them to move into higher quality, higher skilled jobs and equipping the workforce with the skills employers need.

Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, watched the Queen’s Speech from the Special Gallery in Parliament before speaking in the House of Commons Chamber during the Debate on the Address.

He welcomed the “constructive and comprehensive” approach the Government is taking, and primarily focused on the measures for education, especially on skills and post-16 training and education, and ending fixed-term Parliaments. In particular, he strongly supported the skills revolution to “support the nation’s recovery from the ongoing pandemic, while building on the progress made so far to level up the country and ensure equal opportunities for all people, wherever they live”.

Sir David concluded by commenting that: “The issues people are concerned about are being dealt with in this Queen’s Speech, and it will pave the way for us to build back better, putting jobs, skills and businesses at the heart of our recovery. It is the way forward. I commend the Queen’s Speech”.

Tribute to HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Yesterday (12 April), the Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP, invited Members of Parliament that were unable to unable to make a tribute in the Commons Chamber to send in their personal messages in tribute to HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Owing to the current COVID-19 restrictions in place, Books of Condolence will not be available in the normal way. In these wholly exceptional circumstances, these tributes will be presented to the Palace at the appropriate point together with a record of the tributes made in the Chamber.

Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, contributed to this, with his message reading:

I pay tribute to His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who was an exceptional man and spent a lifetime serving our country and working tirelessly for so many good causes. I have been privileged to meet Prince Philip on a number of occasions, including when he visited Crayford. I was always impressed by his enthusiasm, knowledge and his interest in people, the environment and the events he attended. RIP Prince Philip.

Evennett praises ‘measured, sensible and constructive’ Budget

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Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, hailed the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Budget as “measured, sensible and constructive” in the House of Commons yesterday (3 March).

As part of the Government’s commitments to fund the nation’s priorities, the Budget confirmed:

  • A continuation of the temporary Universal Credit uplift for a further six months.
  • New support for providing young people with new skills, including doubling the incentive payment to SMEs to take on apprentices of any age to £3,000, and £126 million to triple the number of traineeships next year.
  • An extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until the end of September, ensuring it continues to support employers as they begin to reopen. Two further grants will also be available to self-employed people – and the newly self-employed will also be eligible for both grants.
  • New Recovery Loans and a new Restart grant of up to £18,000 to help businesses as they reopen. Support for the sports, arts and culture sectors will also be increased by a further £700 million as they begin to reopen.
  • Extending the business rates holiday and providing a VAT cut for businesses in hospitality and tourism.
  • A new Help to Grow scheme to boost productivity of small businesses, to ensure they are embracing the latest technology and management training.

Sir David participated in the Budget debate virtually and highlighted the support the Chancellor is providing and that “although so many challenges for businesses still remain, this is undoubtedly a Budget for business and getting the economy back on track”. He concluded that “The Budget provides us all with hope for the future and allows us to begin to get the economy moving again”.

Evennett backs PM’s roadmap and highlights support for businesses

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Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, spoke virtually in the House of Commons debate yesterday (23 February) on Supporting Businesses and Individuals.

Sir David began his speech by welcoming the roadmap that will guide us cautiously towards reclaiming our freedoms, whilst continuing to do everything possible to protect people against COVID-19. He called the plan “a measured, sensible and constructive approach”, and praised the much-needed clarity it provides for businesses going forward.

He then highlighted the support the Government has provided over the last year to support individuals and businesses experiencing difficulties due to the pandemic. The Government has implemented one of the most generous and effective support packages in the work, amounting to approximately £280 billion, and the furlough scheme alone is being used by 1.2 million businesses and has saved almost 10 million jobs.

Sir David did express concerns for the hospitality sector but concluded that “we are all looking forward to the summer when we can enjoy hospitality, tourism, pubs and social opportunities, of which there are so many across my borough of Bexley”.