State Opening of Parliament

Yesterday saw the State Opening of Parliament and the delivery of the Queen's Speech, which outlines the Government's policy priorities and sets the programme for the new Parliament.

As the Lord Chancellor one of David's responsibilities was to carry the Queen's Speech in the Lord Chancellor's ceremonial purse and present it to Her Majesty.

The full transcript of the Queen's speech can be found here.




Happy Eid


As you may know, this Sunday-Monday marks the Muslim festival of Eid,  the celebration Muslims have to mark the end of Ramadan and break their fast.

David would like to wish everyone in the local Muslim community a very happy Eid. 

Bucks and Milton Keynes Armed Forces Day

This weekend David attended the Bucks and Milton Keynes Armed Forces Day at the Aylesbury Rugby Club.

The event was attended by over 3000 visitors with attractions including air displays, live music, live sport, attractions, food and craft stalls.

David said: 

"I always enjoy coming to the Bucks and Milton Keynes Armed Forces Day. It's an excellent opportunity for service personnel and families as well as local residents to show support for our armed forces while (hopefully!) enjoying the sunshine and a whole range of stalls and attractions.

This year was another great success and I would like to thank all the people who supported and helped to organise this year's event."

Lord Chancellor appointment

David said:

"I am pleased and honoured to have been appointed as Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice. 

I look forward to working with the Lord Chief Justice and his fellow judges in the months ahead, to ensure that justice is fairly administered and robustly defended.

More information on the role of the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice can be found here."

Film the House Competition

Every year the parliamentary 'Film the House' competition allows young filmmakers and script writers to gain a greater understanding of both the media industry and Parliament by submitting entries to the Best Film and Best Script competitions.

The prizes for the winners include professional advice, work experience and a screening of the winning film.

Information and how to apply can be found here.

Constituency Diary

On Friday, David met with Dan Gooding at Mix 96 to talk about his new appointment to Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice.

David also spoke at a dinner held by the Citizens Advice Bureau. The CAB provides an important service in helping advise people on issues such as debt, housing, immigration and health.

On Saturday David was happy to open a new gym in Aylesbury.  GymFit4Less can be found at Unit 2, Britannia walk, HP12 3AB.




Latest unemployment statistics for Aylesbury

The total number of unemployed claimants in Aylesbury constituency in May 2017 was 745. This represents a rate of 1.2% of the economically active population aged 16-64, the 538th highest of the 650 UK constituencies. (1st = highest claimant rate, 650th = lowest claimant rate.) The equivalent UK claimant rate was 2.6%.

The number of claimants in Aylesbury constituency is 95 higher than May 2016 and 10 higher than April 2017.

There were 125 claimants aged 18-24 in May 2017, 5 higher than May 2016.

David's comments on the Westminster attack

David said:

“There was an initial sense of shock and confusion, as nobody really had the full picture of what had happened. Reports were filtering through on social media, and one MP had said they had heard shots. The police were telling us all to get down. It was a horrific situation to be in.

“There was an immense show of solidarity – all party divisions were set aside. As time went on, some MP’s who have diabetes had to get some food, and also other MP’s who were needed for the COBRA meetings were ushered out with the police’s permission. There was a huge overwhelming sadness for Keith Palmer and his family, and the other victims of the days incidents.

"PC Palmer is quite well known, he is a regular at the House of Commons, not only on the front gate but he also did shifts at the police point at the rear entrance behind the speaker’s chair. He was a familiar face and will be missed.

“I can remember when I was first elected in 1992, we were all issued with telescopic mirrors to check for bombs under our cars. I imagine some older MP could remember the IRA campaigns in the 70s, 80s and early 90s and the situation was one they were sadly familiar with.

"It was bizarre, the chamber is usually such a flurry of activity and boisterousness, with MP’s bobbing up and down, it was strange to see them all quiet with MP’s putting their hands up like they were back in school.

“A far cry from normal proceedings.

“Unless the police had anything to say to the contrary, It was business as usual the following day. There was a very strong cross party consensus that these events were not going to block the normal democratic process.

“These people were not victorious, we went on as we always will. The atmosphere on Thursday was very emotional, with prayers followed by a minutes silence for those we have lost.

“Our Democratic process will go on, unbowed by these attacks.”

Digital technology article

David thought you might be interested in seeing an article he wrote for the Bucks Free Press on digital technology.

We all know that digital technology is shaking up many familiar assumptions about our way of life. Two bills now in the House of Commons illustrate how this is happening.

The Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill includes a legal framework for the insurance of driverless vehicles. Even a few years ago, the notion of driverless cars or lorries seemed the stuff of science fiction. Now, driverless vehicles are being tested and may be on our roads within the next decade.

The benefits would be significant. Elderly and disabled people who cannot drive would still be able to use a car. Smart programming would bring greater capacity to our roads.

But there are a lot of questions too. Who is liable if something goes wrong: the owner, the manufacturer or the software designer? How do you programme a car to respond to an infinite number of potential emergencies? How secure would the computers controlling driverless cars be against cyber-attack? And of course the obvious question of alternative work for taxi drivers and chauffeurs.

The second piece of legislation is the Prisons and Courts Bill which includes measures to allow more court business to be done online. Aylesbury Crown Court is already a pioneer in this work, with a lot of court business other than actual trials already being carried out digitally. A remand prisoner can appear for a preparatory hearing in Aylesbury without leaving the gaol – a huge saving in transport, escort, and court security costs.

For governments, technology can cut the cost of providing public services but may also erode the tax base. Online firms are much harder to tax than those that use bricks and mortar. And how do you levy VAT easily on online sales where the transaction crosses international borders?

Challenges and opportunities lie ahead.