Retford Times: 22 November 2014

It was devastating to learn of the tragic news that five teenagers were killed last weekend on the A630. The crash happened 100 metres from the spot where three other teenagers were killed in 2011. The police now have to work through the details, having released one man on bail, but the crash raises concerns about how safe our roads really are. The conditions last weekend were bad, with terrible visibility due to the fog.

Last year over 1,700 people were killed in road incidents and the death rate in our local area is disproportionately high. Investment in measures to improve road safety – for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians – must now be priority. Last year the Government announced that it was going to propose significant changes which would be targeted at young drivers but has since shelved the plans.

Northern Ireland decided to press ahead with a raft of proposals and it is time the Government followed suit for the rest of the UK. It appears that the big banks have still not changed their ways. Last week the Financial Conduct Authority fined five banks more than £1 billion, including HSBC and the taxpayer owned RBS, after their own staff were caught rigging a financial market. The evidence proved beyond doubt that the traders involved manipulated the market to ensure they profited at their customers’ expense. I have written to the banks involved demanding to know if these individuals are still employed by them and if so, why. It is also now time these crooks faced prosecution.  

This month is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. In Bassetlaw Lucy Anthony and her niece Holly Staples have been working hard to raise awareness of the disease – many readers will have seen that they were successful in lighting Retford Town Hall purple earlier this month due to the welcome support of Bassetlaw District Council. The survival rate for pancreatic cancer is the worst of any of the 21 most common cancers partly because it is frequently diagnosed too late for surgery. For my part I have backed a parliamentary motion calling for investment in research and improved diagnosis practice and I am sure that all readers will appreciate Lucy and Holly’s efforts to improve our chances of surviving the cancer.

The fate of endangered animals has become an internationally important issue. There has been a huge increase in poaching which is wiping out elephants and rhinos. Together with the destruction of natural environments this means that there could quite foreseeably be no rhinos or elephants left in under a decade. I am already in discussions with wildlife charities to develop a plan to create a new group after the next election which will bring together MPs from all the parties to push for major changes in protecting animals both at home and abroad. On this issue I will be asking MPs to put party politics aside and work to ensure that rhinos and elephants do not go the same way as the dodo.


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