Opinion: ‘The new Parliament will also mean more investment for Peterborough’

Peterborough MP Paul Bristow writes his regular column for the Peterborough Telegraph

Sunday, 16th May 2021, 12:24 pm
The Houses of Parliament. (Photo by Chris Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

On Tuesday, the Queen came to Parliament.

I was stood by the doors of the House of Lords as she delivered the Queen’s Speech. Normally, there’s a free-for-all of jostling MPs. This week, I had to win a ballot just to be there.

A new session of Parliament means new legislation, not just the back of my head briefly appearing on BBC1.

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Her Majesty slowly read out the bills that her Government will be enacting.

A lot were dedicated to building back better – helping the economy to recover and create jobs. Likewise, building back safer and greener. The bills on health, mental health and integrating social care will take on challenges that were overdue a long-term plan.

The new Parliament will also mean more investment for Peterborough We already have the new university and research hub that will bring new highly paid jobs to Peterborough.

We also have £23 million Towns Fund money to regenerate our city centre. And on Monday I celebrated the £250,000 grant for the New Theatre on Broadway I helped to secure together with the theatre owners. But the Queen’s Speech also focussed on Levelling Up, which is more than just a slogan. It means Peterborough is at the front of the queue for more Government money and my efforts (with other local MPs) in making the case for our city have been successful.

This is a Government that sees the potential of our city. It was a vote of confidence in Peterborough.

Last week’s elections were also good news, as Peterborough Conservatives gained councillors at the Town Hall, although still lacking an overall majority.

Our gains outnumbered the one loss in my constituency. I was particularly pleased to see Bryan Tyler romp home, ensuring that residents in Gunthorpe now have a hard-working Conservative councillor to represent them.

As Peterborough Telegraph readers know, John Holdich stood down at these elections after many years of dedicated service, leaving a vacancy for leader of the council.

He has given a significant part of his life to public service and to Peterborough. We owe him a great deal – perhaps more than many of us will ever realise.

He deserves our thanks and a well-earned retirement.

I’m delighted that councillor Wayne Fitzgerald will likely succeed him. Wayne is fully committed to regeneration, jobs and investment that Peterborough needs. He’s also passionate about cleaning up our city: the introduction of free bulky waste collections is his project. He also wants to crack down on crime and anti-social behaviour.

Given how much was at stake, it’s both reassuring and exciting to look to our future. We have a council that shares my goals and understands what Peterborough can achieve.

It could have been very different. In recent weeks, over half of Labour’s Peterborough councillors were suspended by the national Labour Party. How they could have formed a functioning administration is anyone’s guess.

The opposition leader is apparently saying that his missing councillors will be let back in because they are all “good people.”

As it stands no-one knows the evidence on which they were suspended.

But to have over half of the Labour group suspended is quite extraordinary.

On Monday, we can hug our friends and loved ones again.

We can sit inside for a meal or a pint.

Life takes another turn towards normality, tempered by some common sense, but with our basic freedom restored.

By the end of June, thanks to the UK vaccination programme, the legal limits on social contact are likely to be removed altogether.

The sun is breaking through the clouds – and smiling on Peterborough.