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News From Westminster- By Michelle Donelan MP

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My constituency, like the rest of Wiltshire has a large population of military veterans who can all too often feel isolated and suffer from mental health problems after leaving active service.

I recently asked the Defence Minister what more can be done to support and reassure my constituents that action is being taken on this issue. I am delighted he recognised the importance of the issue of looking after our veterans, particularly those who suffer from homelessness or isolation. He also highlighted the role local councils play, with all requiring to have a designated veterans’ champion. Wiltshire Council’s champion is David Wood and I will be meeting with him to discuss the work being done locally.

This week Wiltshire has received an additional £312,000 in Government funding to tackle homelessness. I have and will continue to push for more funding and work closely with local charity Doorway and Wiltshire Council, because everyone deserves a roof over their head.

Recently we saw the return of the EU Withdrawal Bill to the House of Commons after amendments had been suggested by the House of Lords. I supported cross party amendments designed to protect the environment post-Brexit, but did not support the Lords’ amendments as it is crucial that we keep the EU Withdrawal Bill simple and effective to ensure it is passed and the result of the referendum honoured. The issue with some of the amendments presented is that they attempt to shoehorn things into the Bill which do not fit, the Bill is simply to ratify and codify existing EU legislation into the UK statute book, so Parliament can then spend time over the years to come assessing the legislation and alter where necessary to work better for our country.

The focus of correspondence from constituents has been on the ‘meaningful vote’ amendment. However the Prime Minister committed to a Parliamentary vote on the deal weeks ago. We have made it clear throughout that Parliament should not be able to stop Brexit given the referendum result and the fact that Parliament voted overwhelmingly to trigger Article 50 and so it is currently being considered how this can be worded.

I voted to remain, but have never been a fan of the EU. My priority has always been protecting local jobs and I believed that leaving would create uncertainty in the short term and potentially damage jobs. The British people however voted to leave by a margin of 1.3m people. Parliament has a duty to enact this decision and it was a government manifesto commitment giving another mandate. I believe we need to get on with the process, protect local jobs and uphold democracy.

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