Parliament returned on Monday following the Whitsun recess which I used to catch up on emails and other correspondence with constituents. I requested a meeting with a local housing association to discuss the concerns of constituents on an estate in Finchley. Readers may know that I am chair of the London Conservative MPs group which meets on a monthly basis. We met on Monday to discuss airline passenger duty which remains a contentious issue.
Tuesday was another busy day. The head of the Royal Free Charity visited Westminster to keep me up to speed on their activities. They’re creating a world centre of excellence in regeneration, transplant and immunology so I was interested to learn of their progress. I then dashed over to meet a member of the House of Lords to discuss the Same-Sex Marriage Bill and its progression. The Whips office had nominated me to sit on a committee to discuss the Local Transport Act which I attended soon after. This was a brief meeting in which several amendments to the Bill were discussed including Traffic Commissioners. Later on, a number of members from Finchley and Golders Green Conservatives visited Westminster. The day concluded with an interview on Radio 5 Live.
Wednesday was similarly busy. I had a lengthy meeting with Marc Francios MP, Minister of State at the Foreign Office to discuss LGBT issues in the armed forces. This touched on a number of issues such as discrimination. Prime Minister’s Questions returned on Wednesday, the agenda centred around the NHS. David Cameron was right to point out that in Labour controlled Wales, where unlike in England the health budget has been cut, hospitals are unacceptably behind on waiting time targets. Later I chaired the All Party Group on Anti-Semitism (of which I am Vice-Chair) which discussed regionalised trends in discrimination against the Jewish community.
I have been contacted by a number of money transfer businesses located in Finchley and Golders Green so I was keen to arrange a meeting as soon as possible and did so that afternoon. In order to comply with money laundering regulations, a number of legitimate money transfer firms have had their operations suspended. I will be investigating this issue further. Two constituents then attended Westminster later that day.
As readers will no doubt be aware, the Somali Bravanese Centre in Barnet was a victim of a despicable arson attack this week. I attended the site with neighbouring MP Theresa Villers and Security Minister James Brokenshire to see firsthand the damage that was caused. We then headed over to Finchley Mosque to speak with community leaders to discuss the situation and their concerns. A press release with more detail is available on my website. After the Minister’s visit, I returned to my Finchley Office to meet constituents and progress casework. Regrettably, due to the Mosque visit, I have had to postpone my Mobile Surgery in North Finchley. Amended dates are now online.