Richard’s Blog

Two steps forward

Two good news stories for the environment and environmentalists emerged last week. One was the introduction of the Ivory Bill in Parliament on 23 May which will ban all commercial dealing in ivory in the UK that ‘could directly or indirectly fuel the poaching of...

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Apprenticeships for the future

This is the time of year that applicants for apprenticeships look to sign up. There have been sweeping changes to this crucial area of further education and training and although the Government’s ambitious target of 3 million new apprenticeships has not yet been...

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The right to be offended

At a recent question and answer session with a local sixth form, a pupil asked me, “what do you think of the state of free speech in Britain today?”. I started to answer in a general way about free speech but then moved on to what is happening in our universities....

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Support for ‘Magnitsky’

One of the bravest men I have ever met is Vladimir Kara-Murza, a Russian journalist who has twice survived being poisoned, the last one had him inches from death. He and other brave dissidents like Bill Browder, campaigner and author of Red Notice, continue to work at...

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West Berkshire in top ten for broadband speeds

West Berkshire has the best rural broadband, as well as the highest median download speed in the UK, according to new research by Thinkbroadband. The study, which ranks local authorities by the average broadband speed possible if everyone in the area bought the...

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Syria

We have all woken up to the news that Britain has joined the US and France in targeted attacks on Syrian locations linked to the Assad regime and their repeated use of chemical weapons. The overall strategy here is right. There has been a time honoured rule that the...

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Gaza

Last week I met with Professor Michael Lynk, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories. I heard from first-hand experience of the immense suffering faced by the citizens of Gaza. In 2016 alone, 1,094 Palestinian structures and homes...

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Health consensus

Along with around 100 other MPs from across the political spectrum, I signed an open letter to the Prime Minister last week calling for a Parliamentary Commission to look at the future of the NHS, social care and public health. Coordinated by Sarah Wollaston, chair of...

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Spies, lies and nerve agents

The attempted murder of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury has stunned the world. We shouldn’t really be surprised. In 2006 Alexander Litvinenko was murdered in London by drinking tea laced with the highly radioactive substance polonium-210. He had just...

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The truth about free school meals

On Tuesday this week, MPs voted on new eligibility criteria for free school meals and, under new regulations, the Government estimates that by 2022 around 50,000 more children will benefit from a free school meal, compared to the previous benefits system. I have been...

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