MP for Windsor
Working Hard For You
Conservatives are social reformers

As a long-standing advocate of social mobility I was cheered by the message at this years’ conference.

The Prime Minister laid out the moral mission for Conservatives over the next Parliament in his keynote address.

The message was clear and unequivocal: if you want something done about the challenges facing society, then the Conservatives are the only party for you.

As Conservatives, we are determined to tackle the complex social and economic issues of our time. Whether it’s housing, prisons, family stability, the care system or social mobility, we need to get to work, even if other politicians and political parties are reluctant to express their views through fear of being exposed as out of kilter with the sentiments of modern Britain.

The Conservative party has a proud heritage of social reformers from Disraeli’s “One Nation” conservatism to Macmillan’s housebuilding and Thatcher’s reshaping of the economy. We have a strong tradition of reforming and strengthening society. It should be no different today.

Prison doesn’t rehabilitate well enough. The care system does not, as I have long argued, look after children well enough. The housing market seems unaffordable for aspiring homeowners and hardworking young people often can’t get an early foothold on the career ladder despite their education.

Over the coming months, it will be important to set out how these reforms will work in practice. And the proof will undoubtedly be in the pudding.

But one thing is for sure, Labour has vacated the moderate politics of social justice to engage in catastrophic, destructive politics that have failed time and time again not just in the UK, but around the world from Venezuela to the USSR. They’ve learned nothing. Whether it’s housing, benefits or the care system, their answer is always to throw more money at it than the country earns and to breed state dependency.

The time has come to prove once and for all that only the Conservatives can provide the strong economy and secure country that we need to take on the injustices of society. Whether it is removing the obstacles to opportunity, raising wages, ending discrimination or extremism, the Conservatives will take on the big issues and continue to build a healthy and prosperous society.

It is a big ask but it will be worth it for the millions of hardworking people, young and old, who want to feel they are being dealt a better hand than in the past.

Campaign Kids changing the world!

One of the best gifts a young person can receive in life is a good education to give them hope for the future and the chance of a better standard of life. So I was over the moon when I received several wonderfully written letters from a group of children at Lambrook School who are taking part in a fantastic programme called Campaign Kids.

Campaign Kids, founded by Amelia Sinclair, aims to further children’s education beyond the national curriculum by teaching them kindness and charity, and to learn to look after others in need. It seeks to combine the three main elements of giving – Fundraising, Raising Awareness and Campaigning – into one programme which will support, encourage and help children to learn about the things that they care about.

The letters truly made me smile because they reminded me how strong-minded and strong-willed children are. Their enthusiasm and passion really shone through their words and I am proud that they have chosen a number of really great charities and good causes. These include The Children’s Trust; Great Ormond Street; the Children’s Chronic Arthritis Association; Amigos; the British Council for the Prevention of Blindness (BCPB); the Teenage Wilderness Trust; Rainforest Concern; International Animal Rescue; WWF; Pine Ridge Dog Sanctuary; the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group; the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS); the Make a Wish Foundation; the Scottish Wildlife Trust; Gearing up 4 Gorillas; and shelters for unhealthy and homeless dogs.

I’m delighted that Campaign Kids is giving these children the chance to show others what they are passionate about, and teaching them that individually, and in a group, they can make a huge difference.

Their parents should be proud! Keep up the good work!

800 Years on Magna Carta remains a proud Windsor legacy

On a summer’s day in June 1215, after days of negotiation, the royal imprimatur was applied to a document that would underpin the history of democratic evolution across the globe.

It was sealed in at Ankerwycke which is today part of the Windsor constituency and took the form of a typically British document, the result of compromise and competing demands, free from hasty radicalism but which nevertheless formed the foundations of the free society we live in to this day.

The rule of law, trial by a jury of peers, a limit on executive power and protection from imprisonment without trial were all first laid down on that day in 1215. And these guarantees were not easily won.

Initially sealed by King John after political pressure, he conspired with the authorities in Rome to overrule British sovereignty. King John tried to revoke the document, but succumbed to dysentery, which led to his death a year later. His 9 year old son Henry was ultimately responsible for enshrining Magna Carta into law, under the watchful eye of his protector, William Marshal.

Though its passage into law was not the clear cut, magnanimous act that is often remembered, Magna Carta paved the way for the democratic, free society that we still have in Britain. This should never be taken for granted.

But this document is also an inextricable part of Windsor and Berkshire’s legacy despite some ongoing debate about the precise location of events. Unbounded by the shackles of being a qualified historian I am happy to be a shameless politician in supporting Wraysbury’s claim to that honour at Ankerwycke, in my constituency.

I spent this morning celebrating the legacy of Magna Carta with thousands of people up and down this country. It’s one of our proudest contributions to the world, both as a country and as a county. I would encourage everyone to get involved in this national celebration that to this day, keeps us a free and fair country.

To end, I’d like to quote Franklin Roosevelt, the former American President who said:

“The democratic aspiration is no mere recent phase in human history. It is human history. It permeated the ancient life of early peoples. It blazed anew in the Middle Ages. It was written in Magna Carta.”

The leaders’ debate showed that only the Conservatives have a credible plan

As the election campaign kicked off, it was fascinating to watch the seven main party leaders set out their positions in the leaders’ debates. For those of us living in England, it demonstrated a clear choice between the coherent economic competence of the Conservatives on the one hand, and the chaos of the other parties.

It was clear throughout that Conservatives have a plan to get rid of the deficit, by bearing down on departmental spending and further reducing welfare, so that work really pays.

Yes, we are still spending more than we can afford as a country, but thanks to tough decisions taken by Conservatives in Government, the deficit has been cut by half in percentage terms in this parliament, and will be eliminated in the next. Conservatives believe it’s morally wrong to leave huge debts behind for our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to pay off.

The only way to build a prosperous future that works for everyone and provide the public services we all rely on is with more jobs and a growing economy. That’s why it’s so important that we stick to the economic plan that has made us the fastest growing major economy. It is striking to note that we have created 2 million jobs which is more than any other European country. And let’s not forget that, for all the challenges facing it, the NHS has been voted the best health service in the world.

The other parties showed that they simply don’t have the plans to deliver on growth, jobs and taxes. From what I can fathom, Labour will cost the average family about £3,000 more in taxes over the next parliament, levy a tax on homes in the South-East to give more money to Scotland and has no strategy for cutting the deficit. A Labour Government, in all likelihood propped up by the SNP, would mean more taxes, higher unemployment, and unaffordable borrowing.

The other parties have no sensible plans for deficit reduction, job creation or economic growth and none of them will be willing or able to give people their say in an in/out referendum on our EU membership other than the Conservatives.

So, I guess, if you fancy a punt based on reckless promises then a vote for one of the other parties might be in order.  But if you want a bright future with the security of a grown-up Government that sticks to a sensible economic plan that’s putting people into work and our country back on top, then I’d encourage to vote Conservative on the 7th of May.


Bravery in the face of an awful disease

Every one of us will face challenges in our lives. We may face difficulties at work, in our personal relationships or with physical or mental health. Few of us have the courage and strength to reach out and help others when we are fighting our own battles. Yet one of my constituents is doing just that.

In 2013, Andrew Scarborough from Ascot, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour at the age of 27. I cannot begin to imagine just how difficult this must have been for him and his family.

Andrew is a talented and admirable young man who is well on his way to a Master’s degree in nutritional therapy and is planning to go on to a career helping others to improve their lives through changing their diets.

Living with brain cancer

As his brain tumour has developed, Andrew has had to deal with the debilitating symptoms that go along with brain cancer. He began to suffer from epilepsy as the tumour started affecting his brain functions and was, at times, unable to leave his bed, such was the pain and fatigue of the disease.

As an expert on nutrition, Andrew was naturally attracted to a trial on ketogenic diets being run at Charing Cross Hospital where he receives treatment. The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, moderate-protein diet high in fats, particularly Omega 3, generally used to tackle epilepsy.

In Andrew’s case, the trial has had a transformative impact. Not only is he now able to function well and has his epilepsy under control, he is also working as a patient adviser on ketogenic diets, helping to implement changes to the way dieticians advise and roll out trials to other patients. He is now raising awareness of the impacts of brain cancer, what brain cancer patients can do and what we as a society can do to support sufferers.

This is exactly what was intended with the introduction of the Health and Social Care Act where clinical trials are embedded into the way that hospitals work so that patients find it easier to participate and try newer treatments that might improve and save lives in the future.

What we can do

There are no easy solutions. Brain cancer is a terrible disease and, currently, incurable. But it is treatable, and Andrew’s example, though one of an ongoing struggle, shows that diagnosis is not the end of life or opportunity.

As a former shadow minister for science, I want to see more well-controlled clinical trials which allow patients, like Andrew, to help provide the robust evidence needed to one day find a better way of treating and curing diseases like brain cancer. The trial that is being carried out expertly by brilliant medical experts at Charing Cross Hospital have contributed to the best survival rates for brain cancer patients in the country. It’s important that the Government, through NICE and the MHRA, looks at the research undertaken at Charing Cross and more generally at the potential applications of metabolic diets for cancer patients as the results come through.

Only through well-controlled trials can we establish a scientific basis for future medical treatments and that’s why it’s so important that we retain the recent changes to care that offers clinical trials to all eligible patients and resist any political game-playing that would endanger this progress.

I also want patients have access to adequate medicine and equipment. Brain cancer is the biggest killer of cancer patients under 40. And yet it is not currently given as much attention and funding as the more well-known forms, such as skin cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer. One particular area of concern is the lack of access to emergency MRI scans, which could save many lives as they demonstrate the most accurate diagnoses. Funding must be allocated rationally, fairly and according to need.

So I’m looking forward to seeing Andrew next month when I’ll be watching a film he’s promoting, along with several long-term cancer survivors, about how we can tackle brain cancer. He is an inspiration to all young people and embodies triumph in adversity.

If you want to learn more about Andrew’s condition, then I’d encourage you to go on his website: and follow him on Twitter at @ascarbs.