Member of Parliament for North Thanet (Margate, Herne Bay & The Villages)
Here is a list of Gale's View for 2020. Articles from previous years can be found in the archive.
29th December 2020
I shall vote for the agreement reached with the European Union . I shall do so not because it is perfect - far from it - but because it is the least worst of the options available. To have ended the transition period with no deal at all would, I believe, have resulted in an economic stress and uncertainty that, on top of the damage caused to our economy by coronavirus, that would be quite simply unsustainable.
There is a huge number of people working in the public sector, in addition to NHS and Care staff, who have performed heroically during the pandemic and it would be wonderful if they could all receive financial recognition for their service. Sadly, the present economic climate does not permit that. While, thanks to the austerity imposed in 2010, the nation`s finances had recovered sufficiently to ease us through the current
The Electoral College system used by the United States to select its Presidents is an anachronism. It dates back to the days when chosen representatives had to travel, sometimes many hundreds of miles, from all over the country by stagecoach or on horseback to New England where they would cast their votes as required for the candidate that their State had chosen. The delay between the local result being announced and the national endorsement allows for the four-footed travelling time between home and the
The reason for not converting Archbishop John Sentamu`s seat in the House of Lords to a Life Peerage upon his retirement as the Archbishop of York and Primate of England is, we are told, because there is a need to slim down the Upper House. But “given retirements and other departures some new members are needed to ensure that the Lords has the appropriate expertise to fulfil its role in scrutinising and revising legislation” according to a “Government spokesman” quoted in the Sunday Times.
The United Kingdom has left the European Union and the Transition period will end at midnight on 31st December 2020. That matter is enshrined in an Act of Parliament and, as I have had to explain to many who have called upon me to seek `an extension`, to prolong the exercise would require a further amendment to the Act for which there is currently no parliamentary majority. It would also require the
“Repeal the draconian and sweeping powers of the Coronavirus Act and replace them with a response to the pandemic that keeps me safe and respects my human rights” demands the latest round-robin to arrive in our in-boxes. This missive then adds that “we are all prepared to adapt and change in the face of unprecedented challenge but we cannot tear up our rights indefinitely”.
At the beginning of August the Secretary of State for Local Government, Robert Jenrick, published his Planning White Paper, a document billed as “The most radical shake-up of planning law for 70 years”.To be fair, our planning system is archaic, obstructive and in need of reform. It is bound up in far too much red tape and people who have travelled look on with amazement as in France, for example, roads and railways
European negotiations have a habit of running until the fifty-ninth minute of the eleventh hour before, suddenly, agreements are reached. It is, therefore, still possible that a deal will be struck prior to the end of our transition period and, remembering that we have already left the EU and so that is no longer in question, in time for it to be ratified before we break the tie with Europe on December 31st. . Time, though,
It is all too easy for the failed politicians of the far-right to post social media footage of illegal migrants landing from rubber dinghies on the coast of East Kent and to then play the dog-whistle politics of “send them back” knowing full well that they will not have to take any responsibility for their inflammatory words and actions.
At the start of each session MPs are frequently asked “What are your priorities for the coming parliament”? Setting aside the local issues that vary from constituency to constituency, housing is usually high on the agenda as is Education, Brexit and our international relationships and personal interests – in my case animal welfare. For some time, however, listed Health and Social Care as the number one concern with a growing emphasis on the social care piece of that jigsaw.
It should by now be common knowledge that the Department for transport has approved the Development Consent Order for the reconstruction and re-opening of Manston Airport. That the decision was announced on the eve of the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain is perhaps a fitting tribute to a front-line airfield that has given service to this Country for more than a hundred years and that will know be able to continue to serve the nation in a new and re-vitalised capacity in an hour of different need.
While I do not wish to be unduly pessimistic we are, I fear, in some danger of risking a resurgence of the Covid 19 Pandemic and throwing away the gains that have been won at a colossal physical, emotional and economic cost.
About fifty miles to the west of Accra in Ghana there is an ancient fort. It was staffed by a Spanish garrison and it was a god-forsaken outpost of civilisation. In the fort there was a holding dungeon where men, women and children were incarcerated prior to shipment to the Americas. The dungeon had a low ceiling
High Streets and local shopping parades were having a hard enough time before Covid 19. It is inevitable, I fear, that even as the lockdown eases – albeit possibly prematurely – the lifting of restrictions will come too late for some businesses that will never open again.
It is frustrating and a disappointment, for all of those with an interest in the future of Manston Airport, that the eagerly-awaited determination of the Development Consent Order (DCO) application has been postponed yet again.
We have to learn lessons from the Coronavirus pandemic. There are many, but one is that we are going to have to be more self-sufficient when it comes to food supplies. Our farmers, locally and nationally, are doing a good job of trying to keep us fed but it is clear that for the foreseeable future we are not going to be able to rely so heavily on imported jobs. That means that we need more local labour to help harvest
Last autumn fruit was left unpicked and rotting on trees of East Kent`s orchards because of a shortage of labour. That was before Covid 19 had been heard of and was as a result of foreign labour hitherto imported to do the work but deterred by Brexit and by the threat of tough immigration laws.
This year the pandemic is added to the equation. With borders locked down it is still harder to recruit fruit
If, by the end of this week, we face a further lockdown and if leaving home to take exercise is prohibited then it will be both the fault of a selfish and idiotic minority and very bad news indeed. The ability to go out for a walk, particularly for those living in flats without gardens, is essential for physical and mental health and we need to preserve that right if at all possible. Most people that I have observed, certainly in the rural
Seeking to launch a directory of voluntary organisations able to offer help to the isolated, housebound and disabled throughout what is likely to be the very long duration of the Covid 19 pandemic our office launched an appeal. The response was characteristically generous and impressive and notwithstanding
For the duration of the Coronavirus pandemic I and my team will continue to operate as normally as possible within the issued guidelines.
While it is clearly necessary, in the interests of public health, to minimise exposure to possible infection and therefore to suspend public access to our Thanet offices we shall continue to process all constituency
The Home Secretary has announced some of the detail of her proposals for a `points-based` Australian-style immigration system.
There is no doubt in my mind that the result of the EU Referendum in 2016 owed as much to the desire to see immigration controlled, at times little less than rank xenophobia, as to any other factor. The referendum
That the Court has rejected the case made by those opposing the creation of a Hyper Acute Stroke Unit at Ashford will in some quarters not be a popular decision. The harsh fact is, however, that the judge listened to all of the evidence presented by the clinicians and came to the same conclusion that I reached myself at the start of 2019: the case has been made and the establishment of the unit will be in the public interest.
The BBC`s Head of News, Fran Unsworth, is quoted as saying “Never in my career have I felt this organisation being under threat as I do now”.
The BBC is one of the jewels in the British cultural crown. Those countries that started from commercially rather than licence-fee funded broadcasting have universally tried and failed to replicate anything half-
As Winston Churchill might have said “ It is, perhaps, the end of the beginning”.
On Friday , at 11.pm , The United Kingdom will, following approval by the European Parliament, leave the European Union. There will then follow eleven months of intense negotiation during the “ transition period”
I have no idea how many rainforests worth of newsprint have been devoted to the future of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex but it is a lot. At the risk of adding to that waste of space and to the volume of mostly speculative guesswork generated by `Royal Watchers` it seems to me that two things leap out of this saga:
First, my thanks to those many thousands of people in North Thanet who went out last Thursday and put a cross beside my name in the General Election. I have never, ever, taken the support that I receive for granted and I do not do so now. To receive such trust is quite simply humbling and places a huge responsibility upon me – and all other who have been elected from whatever political party – to deliver on the undertakings that we have given.