December 2018 Newsletter from John Howell MP for Henley

This will be my first newsletter published in the New Year so let me begin by wishing everyone a prosperous and peaceful New Year, and also with a thank you. There are many people in our communities who work quietly, often in the background, playing their own part in making our communities special. Thank you to you all; your work is much appreciated.

Around this time last year I reflected that we had come to the end of an unsettling year of change and uncertainty. It seems that a year on these same words continue to ring true. I know from conversations and correspondence that there are a wide range of individual concerns which come from personal circumstances and these are over and above the national issues which fill our media daily.

As I write my newsletter, in mid-December to meet copy deadlines, I write in the midst of a week of, perhaps not unprecedented, but certainly unusual turmoil. It is impossible to know what twist or turn will come next. In looking to the New Year I can only hope that things will settle and that 2019 will see us moving into better times.

The last year have been a busy one in which I undertook a wide range of activities in the constituency, the House of Commons and representing the UK abroad. Much of this I have already written on during the year. In December I was pleased to have been able to introduce my own private member’s Bill in the House of Commons on helping to protect communities that have made Neighbourhood Plans. The essence of it is to bring in regulation to prevent a developer lodging an appeal where they had an application not in line with a Neighbourhood Plan rejected. I am only too aware of the time and money wasted in communities seeking to defend such applications which seek to cut through the hard work put into making a Neighbourhood Plan in the first place. The Bill is scheduled for its Second Reading in January.

I am often asked about my work representing the UK abroad which tends not to be reported in the UK. In the Council of Europe where I sit as a UK Parliamentary Representative the UK is the only country which does not send media representatives to report the sessions. The Council of Europe was established in 1949 and is much larger than the EU. It has 47 member countries and will continue after we leave the EU. Its role is to promote democracy, and protect human rights and the rule of law in Europe. The Parliamentary Assembly is the deliberative body of the Council of Europe and has 318 appointed by the 47 member states’ national parliaments.

Another international role is as the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Nigeria. The Prime Minister has appointed 32 Trade Envoys to engage with emerging markets where substantial trade and investment opportunities have been identified by UK government. Nigeria has a rapidly growing population and is one of the world’s important growing economies. I am pleased that during my tenure of office it has significantly gone up the World Bank tables of countries to do business with.

If there is an issue that concerns you please do let me know. you can email me at howelljm@parliament.uk or write to me at the House of Commons (House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA) or my constituency office (PO Box 84, Watlington, OX49 5XD).

If you would like to know more about my work on behalf of the Government and the Constituency please do look at my website which is regularly updated. The address is www.johnhowellmp.com. Further details of the work of Parliament is available on the parliament website at www.parliament.uk. As always, I am interested to hear constituent’s views on the proposals before the House.

If you would like to receive my periodic electronic newsletters and briefings on specific issues, please email me at asking to be subscribed. You can also follow me on Facebook www.facebook.com/JohnHowellOxfordshire or on twitter @JHowellUK