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This Week in Parliament

This week in Parliament saw the start of five days of seminal debate on the Government’s draft Withdrawal Agreement, culminating in a vote that will be held on Tuesday 11th December. I will be speaking in the debate and if you wish to comment to me in advance of the debate, please email me at matt.western.mp@parliament.uk. I am keen to know the wider views of constituents so please make sure your voices are heard and I will seek to represent the majority.

On a more sombre note, last week we were reminded of the terrible bus crash in Coventry in 2015 which tragically took the lives of two people, one of them being 7 year old Rowan Fitzgerald and my thoughts once more go to his family and that of Dora Hancox of Nuneaton. A fine of £2.35 million was imposed on Midland Red, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Stagecoach Group.

Having read the sentencing statement from the judge, I find it extraordinary that Midland Red (Stagecoach Group) received only a fine. The Judge described the company as “highly culpable” and it would seem to me a sad indictment of our criminal justice system when there was clearly systemic organisational failure over a three-year period.

I believe this tragedy could have potentially been avoided if 1) working hours for local bus drivers were capped at 56 hours a week, and no more than 90 hours over any two consecutive weeks (as it already is for long distance bus drivers and HGV drivers), and 2) that drivers should be tested and have medicals annually by two independent GPs.

I will be taking this issue to Parliament, where I hope I can persuade colleagues of the need to urgently change the legislation and harmonise the hours worked by local bus drivers with those of long distance bus or lorry drivers.

Last weekend saw Small Business Saturday, where I was pleased to visit small businesses across the local area, especially in Warwick, to see the positive impact small businesses make to the local community.