AS always, I am writing this several weeks before publication – and today the American President is visiting Northern Ireland, to mark 25 years since the Good Friday Agreement.
I was in Belfast just before Easter and recently voted in favour of the Windsor Framework, which sets out a new way for the Northern Ireland Protocol to operate. The Government has been in negotiations with the EU since the protocol came into force in January 2021, and I am pleased that the new framework resolves some of the issues that had arisen. I hope that power-sharing can now be re-started, to continue the important work of devolution for all the people in Northern Ireland.
My visit to Belfast was as part of my work as HM Solicitor General. Although I have ‘rights of audience’ as Solicitor General for England and Wales, I was also called to the Northern Irish Bar, along with the Attorney General and Advocate General for Scotland, to show our commitment to every part of the United Kingdom. I also spoke to members of the judiciary, as well as members of the Northern Irish bar, and lawyers from the Crown Solicitor’s Office who consider some of the most critical legal issues in Government.
As part of the visit, I also visited Northern Ireland Alternatives which considers how to use restorative justice to reduce paramilitary-style attacks. This is an important charity that developed into a government-accredited restorative justice programme that aims to promote and develop non-violent community responses to the issues of low-level crime and anti-social behaviour.
Closer to home, I have been out and about across the constituency as usual. I visited Julia’s House following its outstanding Care Quality Commission rating, and discussed with the chief executive the importance of the support it provides for local children and families in very difficult circumstances. I have also been out chatting to residents across the constituency, including enjoying a fantastic breakfast courtesy of Bere Regis Scouts!
Following the very concerning oil spill in Poole harbour I continue to receive regular updates on the situation. I discussed the spill with the Minister for Environmental Quality and Resilience, and was sitting next to her on the front bench in Parliament for the Urgent Question tabled by my colleague from South Dorset. I have also been to speak to the Poole Harbour Commissioners in person about the spill and will follow closely the clean-up and investigative work to ensure it cannot happen again.
I continue to hold regular surgeries in the constituency, so please get in touch if there is something you need help with. Email me on email@example.com or contact my office on 01202 624216.
You can also follow what I’ve been doing on Twitter @Michael4mdnp, Facebook www.facebook.com/michael4MDNP and on my website, www.michaeltomlinson.org.uk, where you can also sign up to receive my regular email newsletter.
Member of Parliament for Mid Dorset & North Poole