LAST week I worked on the local government by-election in Looe West, Pelynt, Lansallos & Lanteglos following the sad death of Cllr Edwina Hannaford.

It was good to knock on so many doors with my team.  There were plenty of messages for my national party which I will take to Westminster next week when I return after the Easter recess.  Whilst my party did not win the by-election it was good to see the Conservative share of the vote increase, albeit marginally, from when Edwina was last elected in 2021. I congratulate Jim Candy on retaining the seat for the Liberal Democrats and hope that he works hard to represent the people of the Looe West, Pelynt, Lansallos & Lanteglos area.

On Saturday it was a real pleasure to welcome back the former Chairman of South East Cornwall Conservatives Peter Booth to an event held at the lovely Boconnoc House.  Boconnoc has a long political history and mentioned in the Doomsday book as in the ownership of the brother of William the Conqueror and having an MP live there as far back as 1300.  The most famous political family at Boconnoc where the Pitt’s after it was last purchased by Thomas Pitt in the early 18th Century following the sale of the Pitt Diamond.  It is this line which still has the house today.  Thomas Pitt was the grandfather of William Pitt the Elder and great grandfather of William Pitt the Younger both who served as Prime Minister.  Indeed the modern day Conservative Party can trace its roots back to the Pittites which were the Whigs who supported William Pitt the Younger.  So it was a great pleasure to welcome the now Lord Booth back to South East Cornwall to speak to members at this beautiful house.

Recently I undertook a trip to Kew Gardens with Parliament’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee on which I sit.  The purpose of the visit was to learn about the work of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, including its research, conservation and education offerings.  One of the subjects we looked at in depth was to learn about Kew’s range of education offerings, including schools and youth programmes, vocational training, and graduate and postgraduate studies.  This is quite important to our rural constituency as I often have students who want to learn more about our natural environment and wanted to explore what is on offer. 

Recently, with the same committee, we were able to quiz the secretary of state for the environment, food and rural affairs Steve Barclay MP and the department’s permanent secretary, Tamara Finkelstein. The meeting raised a number of important issues including Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme and tenant farming; animal health with a focus on diseases; import checks; food security; farm employment; plastic waste; food labelling an water. At this meeting I raised a number of fishing issues including the situation regarding the lack of quota for pollack.  This is a topic I continued with other Cornish MPs in a private meeting with the Fisheries Minister the following day.