Meon Valley MP Flick Drummond's Letter from Westminster. This was published in the Hampshire Chronicle: https://www.hampshirechronicle.co.uk/news/19634186.meon-valley-mp-flick…
IT WAS recess last week and I took time to join a Parliamentary three-day fact-finding delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina with 14 fellow senior MPs.
It was a busy visit in the 30th anniversary year of the start of the civil war in the Balkans that cost the lives of many thousands. We talked to Bosnian MPs, then we went to Ahmici and to Srebrenica where there were massacres of civilians.
In Srebrenica, the UK has funded a museum telling the horrific story of the massacre of more than 8000 men and boys. It was a sobering day of reflection for many of us. This was a war within our lifetime on the same continent and just two hours from Heathrow.
Sadly, we found there is still much tension and segregation of schools and Bosnian and Serb communities.
But there is light as well as darkness as Muslim mothers in the country try and foster friendship with Serbs. This is very much at the heart of my work as co-chair of the women, peace and security All-Party Parliamentary Group and I wish everyone who wants peace and friendship in Bosnia the very best.
I know many of you have been shocked about the murder of Sarah Everard at the hands of serving police officer who used his position to kidnap and rape her.
My heart goes out to Sarah’s family and I applaud the dignified way they have conducted themselves while making sure their daughter’s murderer faced them in court.
It is an absolute must the police now have to rebuild trust with women and girls. Shortly after the sentencing of Sarah’s killer, Hampshire’s chief constable Olivia Pinkney wrote to me. She said she shared everyone’s disgust that the man used his position to commit this appalling crime.
More must be done to tackle sexual crimes against women and girls even if they are considered low-level like harassment. It is up to the police and those in public life to make sure this happens.
A big step in the right direction is the Police and Crime Commissioner Donna Jones launching a Violence Against Women and Girls Task Group and Hampshire Constabulary is part of that. It will use it to improve the response and support given to victims but also give focus to stopping it happening through prevention and targeting of perpetrators.
A shortage of fuel at filling stations due to panic buying now seems to have eased.
There was never any shortage of petrol or diesel and actually ample tanker drivers to get supplies to most service stations. Sadly, the national media took the chance to stoke fear and I can understand why the public went out and bought fuel as a result.
The shortage of drivers has been an issue in the making for many years. Pay and conditions in the industry have been very bad and so drivers have left.
We have a shortage of more than 70,000 drivers in the UK and EU countries have similar driver shortage problems too. Pay and conditions are improving and the testing of HGV drivers is being speeded up.
Flick Drummond MP
MP for Meon Valley