North East Bedfordshire MP Alistair Burt was in touch last night with some of the parishes affected by the flooding, and will be keeping in contact today to ensure that all help and assistance is being given.

 

Alistair Burt MP said: “I was sorry to hear that some houses have been flooded and I have been in touch with the Environment Agency and the Parish Councils affected.

 

I understand from Parish clerks that the emergency services have been very helpful and responsive, and that the Environment Agency’s flood warning system has been very useful.

 

This is a reminder of the need for flood responses to be kept constantly up to date, and I will be up to discuss matters first hand shortly.”

 

For more information, please go to either Bedfordshire Local Resilience Forum website at: www.bllrf.org.uk/ or the Flood Warning Service at https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk 

I shall be campaigning and voting for the UK to remain in the EU in the Referendum on June 23rd.

This is unlikely to come as a surprise to any constituent who has contacted me about the EU whilst I have been an MP. I am fortunate enough to have voted in the only other referendum on the subject in 1975, in which I voted for the UK to stay in the EEC. Subsequently, in Parliament and Government, my position has been entirely consistent in support of the UK’s engagement with a developing Europe.

That position is built on heart, head and the same patriotism that all MPs, of whatever persuasion, display in working for the best for their country.

I entered Parliament in 1983, when there were still MPs who had fought in the Second World War, who had driven in tanks through the tragedy of northern Europe, and seen Berlin in ruins. This was nothing new to Europe, which had destroyed itself and its peoples generation after generation. I listened to them, and their stories. What is now the EU was born out of the horror of war and occupation, the latter a disaster this country has not suffered for a thousand years, and a determination that never again would the sovereign states of Europe be in this position. Frankly, when you look around the rest of the world, that in barely seventy years Europe has succeeded in building tolerance, forgiveness, and reconciliation to such a degree that war between its nations is unthinkable, it is a modern miracle.

This really matters to me, and is rarely given the prominence it needs in this country as we see the EU through a different lens than on the continent. It deserves a place in the argument.

My head says that the EU has delivered a great deal for the UK, and much at the UK’s insistence, in dealing with issues which transcend borders:- the single market, access to half a billion people in the EU, with all the advantages of making trade deals for all; increasing common approaches to terror and the need to arrest, detain and transfer perpetrators of violence; benefits for consumers from airline prices to new tech charges, opportunities for our students to study and live abroad; to our retired to live in the EU if they choose; the environment and climate change issues which require common approaches - and much more.

Of course it is not without flaws. Some of those have been addressed by David Cameron in his recent negotiations, ensuring that the particular needs of the British people at this time can be recognised in a group of nations which needs to be alert to the needs of all to be effective for any. But that processes exist to do this should give confidence that the EU can continue to evolve to meet the changing needs of its members, whilst retaining the unity needed to enable it to function.

In terms of patriotism, I will not hear it that one side or the other has a monopoly in this argument. Those who want the best for their country, its people and its future are as entitled to see it either in a UK apart from the EU or within it. I believe that our essential security, in a threatening world, is best defended by our ability to use our own forces in alliances and collective action, whether that is through the transfer of intelligence, civil authority liaison, NATO, or the political and economic structure of the EU which enables us to meet challenges together. The Syrian crisis, and the consequent migration issues of staggering proportions, will not go away if we leave the EU. Nor will the threat from terrorist groups with no boundaries, nor the issues surrounding our relationships with states such as China or Russia. But it is not inconceivable that if as big a player as the UK chooses to leave, that the current political passion for dissolving what has been successful for generations, from the UK itself, to some of the internal borders within some EU states, might lead to an unravelling of the EU, threatening a return to the jealousies and tensions which plunged our continent into disaster all too often. History should not be made in haste, nor on transient issues.

I do not intend to limp towards June 23rd with a series of apologies for the EU and our relationship with it. The UK has, for the past twenty years, been cowed by elements of press, political and public opinion which urged us to see the EU as the fount of all our problems, the whole thing being ‘all about us’ instead of recognising that a state can share what is important to it, and sometimes has to accept that it wins some and loses some. That will remain the case whether or not we are inside the EU, with no guarantees that things will always go our way.

So enough of the working with the EU with one hand behind our back, leaving behind our friends of decades in sister parties and trying to be an influence for needed reform and change whilst giving every impression of being uncommitted and hinting that we really wanted ‘out’. No wonder the EU is less effective that we want it to be.

If the British public decide to leave the EU, as a Member of Parliament I would feel mandated to pass the necessary legislation to give effect to their views.

However, as I very much hope, after June 23rd, if the people of the UK decide to remain in the EU, let us work for a future for the UK in that reformed and reforming EU, fully committed to it, and finding the partners who know we really mean it. Then, let’s see the UK truly take off.

NE Beds MP Alistair Burt has been keeping a close watch on the possibilities of flooding across NE Beds throughout the festive period and into the New Year.

‘Compared with some previous years we have been rather more fortunate than some of the very hard hit areas in the north and west. I have been following the flood alerts, as I am sure most of my constituents have, via the Environment Agency networks, and I went out and about to look at the water levels from the Great Ouse and the Ivel in some of our villages.’

‘Although any flooding has been fairly localised and small scale for now, we are still on flood alert in places across the area, and I would urge constituents to check the Environment Agency website for their area, and to use the flood preparation information available on both the Central Bedfordshire and Bedford Borough websites.’

‘Any flooding is always devastating for residents, so let’s try and be as prepared as we can as we go through the rest of the winter weather.’

Bedfordshire Local Resilience Forum www.bllrf.org.uk/

Flood Warning Service https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk

Overall winner:
Aimee Ashford, Burgoyne Middle School Year 6

Overall runner up:
David Cheetham, Pinchmill Lower School Reception

Groups winners:
Years R-2 Joe Steer, Potton Lower
Years 3-4 Charlie Albone, St Andrews Lower
Years 5-6 Maisy Bell, Biggleswade Academy
Years 7-8 Katherine Gendron, Etonbury Academy

Thank you to everyone who took part this year, I had well over 1000 entries from lots of schools, and they were all excellent. I am also incredibly grateful to all the school staff who have helped pupils get involved with this competition.

 

Alistair Burt, MP for NE Bedfordshire, has welcomed the Chancellor’s statement today, putting economic and national security at the forefront of the Government’s financial plans.

Alistair said; ‘The Chancellor has set out a series of detailed budget changes which commits £4 trillion pounds over the next five years. A huge commitment of the hard-earned cash of British taxpayers, and we have an obligation to make sure it is well spent. Our approach is not simply retrenchment, it is to reform and rebuild.

The review looks to the protection of our economic security – taking the difficult decisions to live within our means and bring our debts down - meaning Britain will reach a surplus of £10.1 billion in 2019/20 – that’s higher than was forecast at the Budget and means Britain will be out of the red and into the black.

Read more: 25.11.2015 Alistair Burt welcomes the Chancellor’s commitment to deliver economic and national...

The Paris attacks are unjustifiable and without excuse. There is no faith or ideology which can claim any legitimate cause or grievance to commit such atrocities, and there should be no apologist from anywhere for them.

The attacks are unlikely to be the last, and the UK may well suffer another.

They can only be overcome by determined security and intelligence, in which the public must play their full part.

Read more: Paris atrocities and Bedford 'Quiz a Muslim' event

UPDATE

I hope there is now a way forward over concerns about the Remembrance Day Parade in Biggleswade.

This occasion brings the town together in a unique way, and should be commemorated by all who wish to. Whilst the organisation of it is in the hands of the Royal British Legion, to honour those who gave so much for us, it is truly run for all, and having consulted with the RBL this weekend I know that remains their clear intention.

Read more: Biggleswade Remembrance Sunday Update