Monthly newsletter Edition 9 Sir Robert reports:- Page 1

Another visit to the North West Regional Assembly last month. What a waste of time, effort and taxpayers' money it is! The majority Labour Party are now trying to dictate how it will be run, by limiting the time for debate, by avoiding any questioning and by threatening to exclude troublesome people - like me! - from attending or speaking. The best answer to this sham "assembly" is for the Conservatives to win the Cheshire, Cumbria and Lancashire County Council Elections and then to ignore this pointless organisation.

I was at Winsford in Cheshire recently, to discuss local issues with Tory County Councillors and Prospective Candidates. Under Paul Findlow's determined leadership, they are getting geared up to take control of the County next May and I was delighted to see their enthusiasm and plans for imminent power!

My Parliamentary Committee is considering a number of matters at present which will have an impact on British interests. Firstly, an attempt by some Swedish Socialists to harmonise road safety legislation across the EU, supported by British Labour MEPs. I challenged the Commissioner to allow Britain to continue to make its own decisions on this matter and was delighted when she agreed, particularly on the blood alcohol level required for prosecution. We have one of the best records in the world on road safety in general and drink/driving accidents in particular - although they must still improve - so we can claim to know what we are doing. Secondly, we are getting deeper into the debate on a Commission proposal to liberalise postal services and I know there are some concerns being expressed by, for example, the Women's Institute. You may be assured that, whilst being supportive of the principle of greater liberalisation, competition and commercial freedom, Conservatives are determined to protect the Universal Service Obligation - whereby mail is delivered to the Outer Hebrides on the same basis as Central Manchester - and also to maintain sub-post offices wherever they are located. But we have much to learn from the successes of the newly-liberalised operations in Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands. We can and must improve the quality and variety of postal services for the customer.

Last month I was asked to offer what help I could to hundreds of residents in the Anchorsholme area of Blackpool, who have suffered severe flooding twice this year already. They are desperate for urgent remedial action and local Tory Councillor, John Blake, has sought to counter Labour and Liberal inaction by demanding a rapid response from NW Water and the Office of the Water Regulator (OFWAT). I was happy to add my support at a Public Meeting and, subsequently, in correspondence with those in a position to resolve these problems.

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