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I hope you've been having a lovely weekend...despite the weather. I have to admit, the weather has been great for me as it's incentivised staying indoors and relaxing

One thing I did get to do recently though was open a lovely new pub in George Street called The George Street Tap. The new owners asked me to pop along and pull a pint on opening day and it was an offer I couldn't refuse.

I was met by area manager Colin which was brilliant for me as I went to school with him. We'd gone our own way and not seen each other since so this was a lovely surprise.

The other really nice thing was that Colin's dad was landlord at the The Fox Inn in Felpham (Bognor Regis) way back in time when I worked there as a teenager. So now I've pulled pints for two generations in their own very different pubs!

Anyway I'm really pleased George Street has a really nice new pub. It has craft ales and I can attest to the lovely scampi and chips too. I'm sure I'll be bumping into many of your there in the months ahead.

Enjoy the rest of your long weekend. All the best, Peter

 

http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/16131076.__270k_bar_opens_up_in_Hove/ 

Opening the George Street Tap

I hope you've been having a lovely weekend...despite the weather. I have to admit, the weather has been great for me as it's incentivised staying indoors and relaxing

I love my job, but some bits I love more! Like taking over three huge rooms in The House of Commons and hosting young people from many different schools who all came to parliament to take part in debating competitions.

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The event is run by Debate Mate who organise debates in schools all over the country with a particular emphasis on schools in areas of disadvantage.

I sat in on two debates, one on votes at 16 and another on whether music with hateful language should be banned. Everything was there: passion, nerves, insight...and every now and then a poorly made point that let the side down.

I simply can't tell you how much I loved it. I wanted to punch the air when one 11 year old kid stood up and belted out an incredibly thoughtful point. And when one youngster got up, opened his mouth but stood in silence because his mind had gone blank, I wanted to run over and give him a hug! We've all been there.

I had the pleasure to speak to them all and say what it's like speaking in the Commons and how MP's go through everything they did. I said that each and every one of them has what it takes to become an MP so not to ever think it's something other people do but not them.

Business in the chamber of the Commons finished while the debates were on so I snuck down and spoke to the wonderful door keepers and security and told them who I was with upstairs. They very kindly kept the chamber open for me, and the students were totally over-the-moon when I told them. So I took the huge group around behind the scenes at the Commons and then into the chamber.

They all stood by the benches and I answered questions. One young woman asked why she couldn't sit on the green benches. I told her that sitting on the benches in the House of Commons is a privilege that only a community of voters can bestow on people, but that one day I hope she will return here and indeed sit down. I meant it from the bottom of my heart.

All the best, Peter

Young people debating in Parliament!

I love my job, but some bits I love more! Like taking over three huge rooms in The House of Commons and hosting young people from many different schools who...

esterday I brought Nick Brown, Chief Operating Officer of Govia Thameslink to visit our local stations. He's the boss of our whole rail franchise...including Southern.

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As you know, I never stop banging on about trains...I've even become a train nerd! That's because you need a train nerd for an MP. A week never goes by without me communicating directly with the bosses of our rail network and I always try to be a constructive partner that does whatever it takes to solve the problems we have on the network.

A fortnight ago I met with the boss of GTR who came to my office in parliament for a regular catch up. I asked him to come and see for himself the challenges faced by small stations like Aldrington, so a week later, yesterday, Nick took me up on the offer and came down to see it for himself.
I'm really grateful to him for doing this, it's the second time I've managed to bring the boss of GTR to our constituency. Many of you will remember the public meeting we had with Nick's predecessor.

I introduced him to local passengers, rail campaigners, and councillor Tom Bewick, all of whom have been working so hard for improvements to Aldrington Station.

And for once I have some good news! After talking to us all and hearing exactly what the local community wants to achieve with the station, he agreed to release £30,000 for us to invest in improvements to Aldrington.
The community has already formed an Aldrington Station community group and that group will now formalise and take control of how the money is invested. We discussed better departure signage, shelter, and increased ticket machines. We even looked at the possibility of an additional, shorter, entrance to the London-bound platform.

Now we have this money we can think of attracting more local investment in match-funding, so you'll be seeing a lot of energy and positive change in the coming months.

The sole ticket machine was out of order as we passed it, which caused much amusement and illustrated the challenges I was telling him about. I also told him about similar challenges at Portslade station and about the issues there too.

You'll be pleased to know that an engineer has been sent out this morning to fix it, and I will personally tell him if goes out of action again.
I then jumped on a train with Nick and took him to Hove station. I desperately wanted to show him the footbridge in person. That bridge needs to be upgraded, it is a disgrace. It's the only link across the railway for a long distance and it is totally inaccessible to people with mobility challenges. The elderly, parents with pushchairs, and people with disabilities are all punished by that wretched bridge.

Because ownership of the footbridge is complex, upgrading it has been put off many times. Well yesterday I took the boss of our whole network and dragged him from one side to the other, speaking to passengers as we went.
You'll see that I am laughing in the photo, that's because as we walked along every person kept saying things like 'Peter when will we get a new bridge'. Because it happened so many times Nick thought I had staged it! He accepted how bad things were and together we're going to get things rolling again.

So, as ever things won't change overnight. But we've made progress. I've got £30,000 for Aldrington for starters and we have a commitment to investigate improved signage, fencing, and reliability of ticket machines. And in Hove I have the promise to work with me on another big push to solve the problem of the dreaded footbridge. I promise you I'm really going to give this all I've got as I know everyone who lives around there is counting on me!
Hope you're all having a great weekend...don't forget the clocks go forward tonight! All the best, Peter

£30,000 for Aldrington Station, And A Push On Hove Footbridge

esterday I brought Nick Brown, Chief Operating Officer of Govia Thameslink to visit our local stations. He's the boss of our whole rail franchise...including Southern.

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