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Letter to the Editor - 12.12.11

The Editor
Sittingbourne News Extra

Dear Sir

Following the closure of the East Kent Gazette I would like to congratulate the Sittingbourne News Extra for the speed with which it stepped in to ensure that local people continue to have access to a newspaper providing the type of coverage that national newspapers cannot provide.

In the penultimate edition of the EKG there was a letter from my predecessor, Derek Wyatt, however, my response was never published. I would be grateful if you would rectify that omission on their behalf.

Mr Wyatt accused me of rarely speaking or tabling questions in Parliament. As it happens, since being elected 18 months ago I have spoken in 63 debates, voted in 90% of debates and rebelled against the Government on 19 occasions, which I hope shows that at least I have an independent mind and am not just another party hack!

In the same period I tabled at least 69 parliamentary questions. I appreciate this is less than some other MPs, but I prefer to write personally to ministers if I have a query; a strategy far more effective in getting a proper response.

In addition, I have written regularly to education ministers pressing the need for investment in Sittingbourne’s schools and I will continue to fight their cause without the need to continually blow my own trumpet in public.

With regards to the Northern and Southern Relief Roads; on this I have been consistent. I have always supported the concept of both roads, because I feel they would end the traffic misery faced by people living and working in the Sittingbourne area.

Recently I invited the transport minister, Mike Penning, to visit my constituency at which time I was able to brief him on the challenges facing Sittingbourne’s roads infrastructure, including the NRR, the SRR and the various problems on the A249. It was a stake in the ground for when the current economic crisis is over as the Government is able to spend more on our roads.

Finally, can I assure your readers that although I might not always be as visible as my predecessor, with the help of my very able staff, I am working quietly behind the scenes on behalf of my constituents.

Yours sincerely

Sittingbourne and Sheppey

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