EDITOR – The railways can provide numerous problems for those of us trying to get about the country from our little part of Lincolnshire.
If one travels home from London, there is a very quick service up to Newark but, as I said in the Commons not long ago, as soon as you get into Lincolnshire you enter the land that time forgot – and that the Department for Transport forgot as well.
In Transport questions recently, I raised a question to the transport minister to discover what progress has been made to update the rolling stock on our trains on the East Coast Main Line. The minister, Simon Burns MP, replied that the Government has made a commitment of £4.5 billion to be invested in new inter-city train sets on the East Coast Main Line.
Many in Lincolnshire and the surrounding areas rely on the trains to get around, and my fellow MPs Martin Vickers, Austin Mitchell, and I have been campaigning long and hard for the restoration of direct service to Cleethorpes via Market Rasen.
Happily, the Government are committed to an additional thirty-five on the east coast, which will include a combination of electric trains and trains that can switch between electric and diesel modes.
It’s too soon to tell where precisely these trains will be deployed in the area, but we are working to convince the relevant authorities to provide the services which have been so vocally requested by our constituents.
I am glad to represent a constituency in which people are quite ready to write to me letting me know of the issues and matters which concern them most, and I try to deal with most of these in the columns printed here.
No subject has ever been the cause of greater concern to those in Gainsborough who take the time to write than that of the Coalition government’s plan to introduce legislation to redefine civil marriage to include same-sex couples.
It should be well-known by now that I am among the foremost opponents of this plan. Civil partnerships, as they currently stand in law, provide those who take part in them with all the legal benefits and privileges of marriage. And yet, as a society, we have continually decided to reserve marriage as a particular and exclusive state of life freely entered into between a man and a woman and recognised in law.
I believe that this situation has stood the test of time for centuries, and that it is very foolish to muck about with it. The Coalition’s far-reaching proposals would have the effect of reaching into all marriages which have so far been recognised by the state and changing them into something similar but altogether different.
I am surprised but encouraged by the sheer volume of correspondence I have received from constituents on this matter, and I remain calmly hopeful that the Government will see sense regarding its plans, and the current wise compromise we enjoy regarding marriage and civil partnerships will be maintained.
MP for Gainsborough