The last week was extremely challenging in Parliament with the Prime Minister standing down. I would like to thank Boris Johnson for the opportunity to serve in his government over the past three years; it has been a great honour. We have achieved many of our manifesto commitments and it has been a highlight of my career helping to deliver on key legislation – including Brexit which will be the Prime Minister’s legacy. I wish Boris, Carrie, and the children all the best for the future in whatever they do next.
Over the period of transition between leadership, the work of government will continue. The Whip’s Office which I serve will continue to work hard to ensure that parliamentary business can be conducted. The cost of living and price of energy profoundly impact rural constituencies such as North Cornwall and I am pleased that financial support will be coming through to local people shortly. This will include a direct payment of £350 to qualifying households and a £400 non-repayable credit to energy accounts. In terms of going forward, there will of course be a new Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative party by the autumn. At the time of writing there, several colleagues have put their names forward for consideration, but the contest has not been formally called. As I have done previously, I will talk to the candidates and look at what they are offering. For me, the key issue is what their leadership can deliver for us here in North Cornwall and I do hope that the levelling up agenda which I have supported will continue.
I’m very pleased that last week we also announced new measures in the Online Safety Bill, to make sure technology firms step up and play their part to protect children online. While online platforms can connect people, it is still too easy for offenders to access harmful content online, putting children at risk of grooming and from child sexual offences. That is why we are amending the Online Safety Bill so that Ofcom will be able to demand that tech firms remove images of child sexual abuse and exploitation, or they could receive fines of up to £18 million or 10 per cent of their global turnover, whichever is higher. Criminals cannot be allowed to run rampant online and technology companies must play their part and take responsibility for helping to keep our children safe.