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CONSERVATIVE MPS ENCOURAGE THE PM TO PUT HER 'PERSONAL STAMP ON ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY

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Richard Benyon’s letter, co-signed with 35 other Conservative MPs, encouraging the Prime Minister to put her ‘personal stamp on Environment Policy’:

Dear Prime Minister

Conservatives have always been in the vanguard of environmental protection. Conservatives first created the great, reforming Department of the Environment in 1970. Conservatives delivered the landmark Clean Air Act in 1956, and the Wildlife and Countryside Act in 1981. Conservatives published the UK’s first comprehensive environmental strategy This Common Inheritance in 1990.

Our 2015 manifesto commitment to establish a network of giant marine reserve in partnership with our overseas territories amounts to the single biggest conservation measure of any Government, ever. We committed to a continued crack-down on the illegal wildlife trade, to continued support for the Climate Change Act, and to cutting emissions as cost-effectively as possible.

Integral to Conservative philosophy is a deep cultural commitment to handing on a better world to our children. Lady Thatcher gave voice to this, “The core of Tory philosophy and for the case for protecting the environment are the same. No generation has a freehold on this earth. All we have is a life tenancy—with a full repairing lease.”

Over the coming months, you will be expanding your vision for the nation. As with previous Prime Ministers, we urge you to put your own personal stamp on Environment policy. We hope that as part of your vision, you will set out an ambitious plan for restoring the natural environment at home and around the world.

In particular, we urge you to:

  • Reaffirm our manifesto commitment to creating a Blue Belt of protected waters around the UK’s 14 Overseas Territories, including as a first step around the Pitcairn Islands and Ascension Island.
  • Commit to continued and thorough application of the EU’s Birds, Habitats and Bathing Water directives until equivalent UK legislation is enacted. We should incorporate in a new Nature Act the protections and powers we need.
  • Take advantage of the repatriation of the Common Agriculture Policy by shifting subsidies in favour of paying farmers for delivering services for the environment and public good.
  • Restate our commitment to fishing to maximum sustainable yield: a hard-won, UK-led reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.

Leaving the European Union poses risks and opportunities. With determined leadership the Government can overcome the risks and take full advantage of the opportunities to ensure our living environment flourishes for future generations. This will demonstrate that it is Conservatives who will deliver on prosperity and environmental protection. We have every expectation that you will provide that leadership.

Yours sincerely

Zac Goldsmith, Richard Benyon, Alex Chalk, Andrew Mitchell, Anne Main, Ben Howlett, Bernard Jenkin, Caroline Spelman, Charlotte Leslie, Cheryl Gillan, David Warburton, Derek Thomas, Flick Drummond, Heidi Allen, James Gray, Jason McCartney, Jeremy Lefroy, Jo Churchill, Kevin Hollinrake, Kit Malthouse, Marcus Fysh, Maria Caulfield, Matthew Offord, Neil Carmichael, Neil Parish, Nicolas Soames, Oliver Colvile, Paul Scully, Peter Bottomley, Richard Graham, Sarah Wollaston, Scott Mann, Stephen Hammond, Tania Mathias, Victoria Borwick, Will Quince

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RICHARD BENYON WELCOMES NEW JOBS FIGURES SHOWING A STRONG ECONOMY IN NEWBURY

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Richard Benyon, Member of Parliament for Newbury, has welcomed this month’s record-breaking employment figures showing that there are more people in work than ever before, with 320,000 more people in work across the South East.  Since 2010, there are over 2.7 million more people in work across the United Kingdom. 
 
In Newbury, the number of people claiming the key out of work benefits has fallen by 992 - a 72% drop – since 2010.
These figures show that the record high employment rate has been fuelled by full-time work, which has accounted for three-quarters of the employment growth since 2010, and that average wages grew by 2.4 per cent over the last year.  
 
Richard said:
 
‘I am delighted by the recent employment figures, and how more people than ever are finding work in Newbury. The figures show that employment is growing across all the regions and nations of the United Kingdom as we build a Britain that works for everyone not just the privileged few.  
 
‘The number of people in Newbury relying on the key out of work benefits has fallen by 992 since 2010 – a 72% drop.  Nevertheless, we aren’t complacent which is why we’re pressing ahead with welfare reforms like Universal Credit making sure that it always pays for people to be in work.  
 
‘With the employment rate at a record high, the unemployment rate at its lowest level in over 10 years, and wages up whilst inflation has remained low, the Government is making sure that everyone can share in the country’s wealth.’
 

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RICHARD BENYON MP BACKS TRIDENT AND AWE

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Richard Benyon, MP for Newbury, has supported the Government in the renewal of the delivery system for the Trident nuclear missiles. 
 
He gave his backing during the debate on the UK’s nuclear deterrent in the House of Commons on Monday 18th July. 
In his speech, Mr Benyon made particular reference to the work of the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) at Aldermaston.  He said: “The nuclear deterrent is my constituency’s largest employer, and it brings many advantages, not least to the supply chain of 275 local companies and 1,500 supply chain organisations nationally.” 
 
He went on to praise the work of AWE’s civil nuclear work and its role in advising the Government on counter-terrorism, the effect it has on nuclear threat reduction, on forensics—not least in the recent Litvinenko inquiry—and on non-proliferation, together with its second-to-none apprenticeship scheme and its academic collaboration with the Orion laser.
 
But he said, “None of that would matter one jot if the decision we were taking today was wrong. The decision we are taking today is right.” MPs voted by 472 to 117 votes in favour of renewal.
 
Following the debate, Mr Benyon also highlighted the ongoing concerns relating to proposed changes to the AWE pension scheme. In a statement he said: 
 
“Whilst employees of AWE are not necessarily paid as well as their counterparts in wider industry, what makes AWE such an attractive employer is the quality of its pension scheme. It ensures that very talented individuals are retained by the organisation and will continue to make a valuable contribution to both the civil and military work done there. I would urge the Minister to take note of the very genuine concerns that the proposed changes to the pension scheme will damage morale and will see talent leaking away.”
 

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RICHARD’S SPEECH IN THE TRIDENT DEBATE 18 JULY 2016

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Watch Richard's speech here

 
Richard Benyon (Newbury) (Con)
 
That was one of the most courageous speeches I have heard during my time in the House.
 
I am very sad that the right hon. Member for Gordon (Alex Salmond) is not here. When we last debated the matter in 2007, he was in his place and I was sitting on the Opposition Benches. He swept his arm to his right and said that we in the home counties could not understand what it was like to have such a powerful weapon on our doorsteps. I pointed out to him that if he came into my bedroom and looked across the Kennet valley, he would see the rooftops of the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston; if he looked slightly to his left, he would see the rooftops of the Royal Ordnance Factory at Burghfield; and if he climbed on to my roof, he could probably see the missile silos at Greenham common. In my part of Berkshire, we need no lessons from anyone about the impact or the effect of living close to the nuclear deterrent. He replied as consummately as clever politicians do, that that was the first and last time he would ever be asked into a Tory MP’s bedroom.
 
The point is that the nuclear deterrent is my constituency’s largest employer, and it brings many advantages, not least to the supply chain of 275 local companies and 1,500 supply chain organisations nationally. Add to that its role in advising the Government on counter-terrorism; the effect it has on nuclear threat reduction, on forensics—not least in the recent Litvinenko inquiry—and on non-proliferation; its second-to-none apprenticeship scheme; and its academic collaboration with the Orion laser. None of that would matter one jot if the decision we were taking today was wrong. The decision we are taking today is right.
 
Joanna Cherry (Edinburgh South West) (SNP)
 
I have listened with great interest to what the hon. Gentleman has said about the situation of nuclear materials and weapons in his constituency. Does he agree that there is one big difference between his constituency and that of my hon. Friend the Member for Argyll and Bute (Brendan O’Hara)? The hon. Gentleman’s constituents—witness his election—want nuclear weapons. The constituents of my hon. Friend, and those of all my hon. Friends, do not want nuclear weapons.
 
Richard Benyon
 
There are many polls that conflict with the information that the hon. and learned Lady provides. I was elected on a resounding majority, but who knows how much of that decision was about nuclear weapons being based locally? I think it was about a wide variety of issues.
 
The truth is that the nuclear deterrent has saved lives—this is a point that has not been made enough tonight—over the past few decades, because aggressors have been deterred. We have to ask ourselves how predictable future conflicts are. The leader of the SNP said that we are talking about deterrence today. We are not; we are talking about deterrence for 20 years, 30 years or 40 years. The SNP may have a crystal ball, and SNP Members may be able to say that there will be no threats to us in that time. I do not have a crystal ball, however, and I want to ensure the protection of future generations in this country.
 
Stephen Gethins (North East Fife) (SNP)
 
Will the hon. Gentleman tell us what role these nuclear weapons played in the catastrophes in Libya and Syria? What contribution did they make?
 
Richard Benyon
 
That was a totally ridiculous intervention, which is not worthy of a reply. The hon. Gentleman might like to consider what kind of aggressor we might face in the future. We are not just talking about a resurgent Russia. What about groups of nations or individual nations? We know that nuclear weapons have proliferated in recent years. As we have reduced our arsenal, others have increased theirs. He needs to think not just about today, and not just about himself and his 
constituents, but about the future generations whom we are talking about protecting.
 
Ian Blackford
 
Will the hon. Gentleman give way?
 
Richard Benyon
 
No, I will not take any more interventions.
 
We have to think through the recent conflicts in our lifetime: not conflicts in which nuclear retaliation would ever have been appropriate, but the Yom Kippur war, the Falklands—mentioned by my right hon. Friend the Member for New Forest East (Dr Lewis)—the invasion of Kuwait, 9/11 and even last week’s coup in Turkey. We did not know that they were going to happen. Who can say that we would be any the wiser in the event of a coup de main operation that might not have happened if the potential enemy had been deterred by our possession of weapons that made them sit up and think? We need potential enemies to hold in their mind the fact that there is no advantage to them in aggression.
 
I have spoken tonight about our constituents and about future generations, but let us also talk about the concept of using nuclear weapons. There is a good, honest and decent concept, which goes back many generations and which I can respect, of disarmament and pacifism in this country. I happen to think that in this context it is wrong, but we can respect it. When people talk about using nuclear weapons, they need to understand the doctrine that governs them. Our nuclear deterrent has been used every single day of every single year for which it has been deployed. It does what it says on the tin; it deters.
 
I am sorry to say it, but no one believes that an independent Scotland would suddenly start to invest in Type 26 destroyers, fast jets and all the other paraphernalia ​of a nation that somehow wants to engage in the world in the way that Britain does. SNP Members’ sudden attraction to the idea of massive defence spending is complete nonsense.
 
Ian Blackford
 
Will the hon. Gentleman give way?
 
Brendan O’Hara (Argyll and Bute) (SNP)
 
Will the hon. Gentleman give way?
 
Richard Benyon
 
No, I will not give way.
 
The nature of regimes in a more dangerous world is what we need to consider today. Although we have reduced our arsenal of nuclear weapons by 50% in recent years—the Leader of the Opposition completely ignored the fact that we have reduced our arsenal so considerably—the number of states with nuclear weapons has increased and the number of tactical nuclear weapons in the world is now over 17,000.
 
On the question of cost, I would just state that all this—the £31 billion over 35 years, plus the contingency—translates to about 0.2% of total Government spending. That will be reduced if we take account of the advantage for the supply chain of developing this suite of replacement submarines.
 
I will finish by saying that we need to listen to our allies on this issue. We have an agreement with the French—the Lancaster House agreement—and we have a long-standing agreement with the United States. Our nuclear defence is networked into our other allies as well. We need to think about their response to what we are debating as much as about the future generations that we will protect through our decision tonight

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NEWBURY MP WELCOMES LATEST ONE-YEAR CANCER SURVIVAL STATISTICS

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By 2020, almost half of the UK population will receive a cancer diagnosis during their lifetime1. Cancer survival rates in the UK are among the worst in Europe – not least because many people are diagnosed too late when their cancer is advanced. Richard Benyon MP is supporting the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer’s call for this to change.
 
The latest published figures show that the percentage of people in England surviving at least one year from their initial cancer diagnosis has risen from 69.3% to 70.2%. However, this is still well behind comparable international rates – in Sweden, for example, one-year cancer survival is around 82%. The figure for the local NHS Newbury and District CCG is 69%2, up from 68.4%3.
 
Commenting on the figures, Richard Benyon said, “The earlier cancer is diagnosed, the better the chance of surviving at least one year and surviving cancer generally. The publication of these local one-year survival rates should therefore encourage the local NHS, with the support of the wider cancer community, to promote earlier diagnosis.
 
“In the Newbury CCG area, 69% of people are living for a year or more after a cancer diagnosis. Yet in Sweden, the figure is 82%. More work is needed through earlier diagnosis to increase this number, as the UK has among the lowest survival rates in Europe. I have written to our CCG asking for feedback on initiatives they may be exploring such as better screening uptake, diagnostics within Primary Care, public awareness and GP training.”

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Richard Benyon was re-elected as the Member of Parliament for Newbury on 7 May 2015, with an increased majority of 26,368. Richard won 61 per cent of the vote share.

 

 

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