First Friday with Steve Barclay MP: Fenland Remembrance services, Christmas fun and public accounts

IN this month’s column, North East Cambs MP Steve Barclay also thanks well wishers following the birth of his daughter.

THE most important event of an MP’s year took place at the start of last month, attending the Remembrance Services in Fenland. This year I was at the Wisbech parade and service in the morning and Chatteris in the afternoon.

It is always a moving occasion and I think as a community we can take great pride in the way young and old come together to mark such an important moment of remembrance.

In Parliament there continues to be a wide range of issues to focus on. These range from items capturing the headlines, such as how to pay for universities given the increasing number of students attending, and those issues which are also important but tend to get little coverage.

For example, an issue I have taken a personal interest in on behalf of a constituent is why children from foster families who go to universities risk losing their room with their foster family during the university holiday.

There is a pilot at the moment to help with this issue but this does not apply to North East Cambridgeshire. I was therefore pleased to be able to arrange a meeting for my constituents with the Children’s Minister so that we can press the issue with those at the top.

My duties on the Public Accounts Committee continue to be both fascinating and shocking. Hearings this month included questioning the head of the Civil Service, Sir Gus O’Donnell on the �1.5billion the Government spent last year on consultants.

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In the Chamber I gave a speech this week highlighting the lack of enforcement against senior bankers who continue to be allowed a one-way bet with the taxpayer exposed to picking up losses.

On a lighter note away from Parliament my diary has recently taken a much more festive air in recent days. I greatly enjoyed presenting the prizes to the primary school children who designed my Christmas cards.

The following day, on Saturday, I opened the Benwick Dickensian Market and then attended the Cambs Times/Wisbech Standard’s very own festivities at the Oliver Cromwell Hotel in March.

Particular credit should be given to the Cambridge Caledonian Pipe Band whose music not only opened the Dickensian market with such style, but that they even braved the cold weather in their kilts.

Of course all of this is against the backdrop of a little less sleep than I am accustomed to which will come as no surprise to any new parent. Thank you to everyone for their kind wishes which Karen and I greatly appreciate.

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