232017Jun

United response should reinforce nation’s pride

The last few months have been plagued by evil acts of terror and tragedy which have left many questioning what our country is coming to.

These are acts of evil and should not be dressed up as anything else.

Evil must never win and we must tackle terrorism head-on, which is why the new four-point strategy will include a de-radicalisation programme and tackle both violent and non-violent extremism in schools and universities.

The majority of Muslims who share our values will be supported to make their voice head with funding and political representation.

And as part of this strategy is to build a more cohesive society. This means ensuring people learn English and integrate with surrounding communities.

We need to invest more in our security services to deal with the challenge and I welcome the extra £2.5bn that we are going to give the security services over the next five years to combat terrorism, which includes funding for an additional 1,900 staff at MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, as well as strengthening our network of counter-terrorism experts in the middle-east, south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

The dreadful fire at Grenfell Tower last week has shocked the entire country and investigations are rightly under way and urgent safety checks are being undertaken on all high-rise blocks around the UK – safety must always be prioritised.

The Government has initiated the Bellwin scheme to provide the financial assistance for the immediate costs. My heart goes out to all those involved and their loved ones.

I have been taken aback by the way that so many have pulled together up and down the country to donate money, clothes, time and food to support the families involved.

Whilst the acts of terror and tragedy make us question what our country has become, the united and loving response we have shown should reinforce our pride in our nation and our community spirit.

Parliament is energised with new MPs running around and getting lost, which takes me back to when I was first elected.

I am writing this on the day of the Queen’s speech so after this it will be back to Parliamentary business, having been sworn in again last week.

Since my re-election I have done two advice surgeries and have another planned this week. If you want to discuss an issue email michelle.donelan.mp@parliament.uk or call 01249 704465.

Michelle Donelan’s column in the Wiltshire Gazette & Herald 22 June 2017