Annette Brooke Blog - December 2013

In November I was delighted to co-host the inaugural ‘Dorset Day’ in Parliament.

This event showcased the best food and drink and tourism that Dorset has to offer. There was a wide range of stallholders from across the county including Dorset Shellfish, Fudge’s Bakery, Chococo, Hive Beach Cafe, Ford Farm, Mighty Hop Brewery, the National Trust, Dorset Wildlife Trust and tourism representatives in attendance. The event was hugely popular, with hundreds of MPs, Peers and Parliamentary Staff learning about just how much Dorset has to offer! The produce showcased was of an exceptional quality, and visitors to the day were able to sample delicious treats while seeing the best of what the county had to offer in terms of tourism and the natural environment. All went extremely smoothly, apart from an evacuation of the premises following a potential security breach!

Recently in Parliament I have asked important questions of ministers on planning and child trafficking. I asked the Planning Minister Nick Boles MP what progress he was making to promote existing planning permissions, especially on brownfield sites, and I was given an encouraging reply.

To the Under Secretary of State at the Home Office James Brokenshire MP I asked what steps the Government was taking to support the victims of child trafficking, and in particular whether his Department would consider piloting a system of independent guardianship. In reply, the Minister stressed that child trafficking is a form of child abuse, and the Department for Education was looking at ways to strengthen support arrangements for child victims of trafficking.

I was pleased to contribute to a debate in Parliament on tackling TB worldwide. As someone who suffered from TB as a teenager I was able to relay my experiences of the treatment and medication, which has regrettably not developed substantially enough. I highlighted "the need to ensure the consistent global provision of cheap, effective, high-quality drugs" to treat TB, in place of the same standard drugs which I was treated with and which cause very negative side effects.

I congratulated the UK Government and Dfid for on making a real commitment to overseas aid, but more needs to be done to support programmes like TB Reach. On top of this, I argued that the UK must work hard to "increase the number of countries engaged in pooled procurement programmes such as the Global Drug Facility".

Last week, I attended a parliamentary event to mark the 25th World AIDS Day. I showed my support for the UK Government's pledge of £1bn to the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, ahead of the Global Fund replenishment conference in Washington D.C. next week.  I spoke with activists about how far we have come in tackling the AIDS epidemic, with 9.7 million people now accessing treatment, and AIDS-related deaths declining from a peak of 2.2 million in the mid-2000s to 1.6 million in 2012. 

Over the busy Christmas period I shall be attending lots of things in the constituency. I will be visiting local postal sorting offices as well as Christmas fayres, which I am really looking forward too.  

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