In between commitments in Crawley I kept a close eye on developments at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham.
Last week I wrote of the importance of protecting our environment. Therefore I welcome confirmation from Government that it intends to drastically increase fines one thousand-fold for water companies in breach of the law to £250 million.
This will crack down on water companies illegally breaching permit conditions and releasing wastewater and sewage into our rivers and seas.
Such action will help protect water quality and deliver cleaner rivers, lakes and seas.
Also of importance to many of us in Crawley will be the confirmation of new legislation that is to be introduced to ensure Minimum Service Levels for important public services to mitigate the impact of militant trade union bosses on hard-working commuters.
No one disputes the right to strike. No one disputes that people need to get to work, attend medical appointments, and arrive at Gatwick Airport for that well-deserved holiday.
Minimum Service Levels will be developed through negotiation between employers and trade unions, overseen by Government.
With the economy urgently in need of growth and businesses calling for support, the last thing we need is disruption on our railways and in public services.
The Prime Minister is right to focus on growth, and moves to expand the definition of Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) from 250 employees to 500 will cut costs for nearly 40,000 businesses.
This will see companies save time and resources which will be better spent on growth and investment, helping to deliver high skill, high wage jobs.
It will be applied proportionately to ensure workers’ rights and other standards are protected, while reducing the burden for firms.
The Home Secretary also reiterated her commitment to deport those who have entered our country illegally via people smugglers to cross the English Channel.
The cost of illegal immigration to hard-working and law-abiding British taxpayers is unacceptable, and a point I continue to pursue with the Home Office and indeed right across the Government.
The Home Secretary confirmed that she wants to legislate to make it clear that the only routes to this country are legal ones and I look forward to ensuring with colleagues that such plans become law at the earliest opportunity.
The impact of crime in our neighbourhoods cannot be underestimated. Theft, robbery and burglary are some of the most intrusive and upsetting crimes.
This is why the electronic tagging scheme is being expanded, introducing compulsory tags for burglars, robbers and thieves on shorter sentences of 90 days or more. This will monitor the movements of an additional 2,000 criminals. Since 2019, almost 4,000 people have been actively monitored on GPS tags.
Henry Smith MP