19-04-18 - Syria

For the second time in my period of office as MP for Maidstone & The Weald, we are amidst a debate about the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime against its own people in Syria.

UK military intervention was first considered in August 2013, when (unusually) the PM chose to put the issue to Parliament. I supported taking action on that occasion, but the motion was narrowly voted down.

The use of chemical weapons is a severe breach of international law and a barbaric and brutal crime against humanity. History has shown, time and time again, that when tyrants go unopposed in their heinous actions, they go on to repeat and escalate their evil in a veil of assumed immunity.

This time our PM, having consulted with her Cabinet and taken legal advice from the Attorney General and others, used her prerogative powers to take specific and measured action to try and prevent further atrocities taking place. The intervention was not about regime change but a punishment that will not be repeated unless there are further abominations.

In electing the Prime Minister, we confer on that person the power to take certain critical decisions affecting national security and foreign policy, if she deems it appropriate, under the circumstances. Indeed we expect our leaders to be decisive and be able to act. And whilst some are quick to complain about their perceived abuse of democracy, they cannot possibly know the detailed and sensitive intelligence, the threats or the urgency of a given situation.

The test for me is this: If you see a powerful bully meting out abuse on his neighbour, do you turn a cheek and walk away, or do you summon support and deal with the issue? The latter is harder, it needs courage and bravery, and may cause you some injury too. It is a question we must all ask ourselves.

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Helen's column is published weekly in the Kent Messenger. Please note the print version may differ from the content here.


MP Helen Grant gets the latest on Barming sinkhole site


Maidstone, Kent 03-04-18: Maidstone & The Weald MP Helen Grant visited Barming resident Mrs Noreen 'Nolly' Clarke today to check she was being suitably attended to, following the appearance of a massive sinkhole at the end of her garden and driveway on Easter Sunday.

Whilst on site Helen met senior officials from South East Water and their subcontractor Southern Testing. They are looking into the reason behind the geological movement that led to the collapse of the surface of Nolly's garden.

There will be several boreholes sunk in order to diagnose the problem and ensure the correct rectification works are undertaken. The situation is not expected to be resolved for two or three weeks.

Helen said 'The effect of this collapse could have been so much more serious and I am thankful that Mrs Clarke says she is fine and very happy with the way her interests and her property is being looked after'.

'I asked Nolly, who is a volunteer for Maidstone Dementia Society, if there was anything she needed. Her main concern was that she could still get to Maidstone King Street on Monday morning where she is helps Involve at their weekly coffee morning for older people in Maidstone. She is such a lovely lady, putting others first despite having a huge sinkhole to deal with'.

'From my investigations it is apparent is that everyone involved sprang into action extremely quickly and deserve some commendation. The loss of water to some 30 households was reported at 8am on Easter Sunday morning and was rectified by 11am, just three hours later. Southern Water and Kent County Council highways department are working together to find the reason for the collapse and then take the necessary action as quickly as possible'.


11 APR 2018

Helen keeps the pressure up on local train services

Since becoming the MP for Maidstone and The Weald in 2010, Helen Grant has continuously campaigned to improve and maintain local train services. Recently her work has seen her take local concerns to the very top; meeting with the Secretary of State Chris...


02 APR 2018

Barming Sinkhole

MP Helen Grant gets the latest information on site Maidstone & The Weald MP Helen Grant visited Barming resident Mrs Noreen 'Nolly' Clarke today to check she was being suitably attended to, following the appearance of a massive sinkhole at the end of her...


28 MAR 2018

National Apprenticeship Week - Op-Ed

The theme of National Apprenticeship Week 2018 was 'Apprenticeships Work.' However as I spent the week meeting apprentices, employers, and celebrating the many successes that apprenticeships can bring – I felt as though my own #NAW2018 had a slightly...



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HELEN GRANT MP

Helen's column

19 APR 2018

Syria

Kent Messenger Column - 19-04-18  For the second time in my period of office as MP for Maidstone & The Weald, we are amidst a debate about the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime against its...


12 APR 2018

Gender pay gap

Kent Messenger Column - 12-04-18  Last week saw the legal deadline for businesses with over 250 employees to publish their gender pay-gap data for the first time. Why is this important? It is a...


05 APR 2018

Allington Surgeries

Kent Messenger Column – 05-04-18 GPs are a cornerstone of our NHS and I was therefore very concerned to learn of the threat of closure facing two neighbouring GP surgeries in Allington, as reported...