IT has been another busy week, both locally in Central Devon and up in Westminster. 

On Friday I visited Chudleigh Knighton Primary School after being invited to speak to Year 3-6 pupils about parliament and my role as an MP. 

Inspiring an interest in politics at an early age is important and I hope my visit helped to make the learning they received in the classroom seem a lot more real. I was impressed with how engaged the pupils were and how much thought had gone into their questions. Other schools I have visited in the past few months include Hatherleigh, Ilsington, Bow, Bradninch and Chagford.

From Chudleigh Knighton in Teignbridge it was over to Okehampton in West Devon for a briefing on new development in the town and to cut the ribbon on a show home. 

The new rail service, which I helped to deliver for the community after a decade of campaigning, has made Okehampton an even more desirable place to live and work and I am sure the new homes will help to meet the local housing need. 

In total, 400 new homes are being delivered across three parcels of land, with 20 per cent of these designated as affordable. This means 80 homes will be sold or rented out below market value. Those with local connections are usually prioritised. I was encouraged by how much thought had gone into the environmental impact of the development with a number of schemes in place to protect local wildlife.

From Okehampton it was then onto North Tawton to meet with Inspector Chris Conway, the new lead for the West Devon area within Devon and Cornwall Police. 

A large part of Central Devon is now under his leadership, including Okehampton, Hatherleigh, North Tawton and Chagford. He brings to the role his specialisms as a tactical firearms commander and a public order and safety bronze commander. Devon and Cornwall has had a large intake of new recruits, currently going through intensive training, and seven of these will be allocated to West Devon. 

Although communities in our constituency are generally safe (Devon and Cornwall as a whole has some of the lowest crime rates in the country) there are always problems in any community. Domestic abuse for example, which I wrote about in my column last week, can affect anyone, anywhere, and being rurally isolated in a quiet and so-called ‘safe’ community can sometimes make getting help even harder. I raised this specific issue with Inspector Conway during our meeting.

After other local meetings on Saturday morning it was back up to Westminster, where the dominant issue has been agreeing the Windsor Framework – a solution to the Northern Ireland Protocol which will make Brexit work for the people of Northern Ireland. 

The agreement delivers free flowing trade by removing the border in the Irish Sea, safeguards Northern Ireland’s place in our Union and restores democratic sovereignty. It will certainly have my support in any commons vote.

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