THIS last week has seen Parliament and MPs winding up for our summer recess period. Like many people across Furness, I’m embracing the opportunity to take a brief time out with my family. Prior to heading north across the border to Scotland there was much work to do in Parliament and in Furness. Much of the last couple of weeks has been spent whittling down the candidates to be the next PM to two (I’ll save you another update on that!), but there have also been debates to speak in, questions to ask, and meetings to have.

Thursday was one of those days that I dread. Two important meetings set up and not a lot of wiggle room with trains from London to get back to Furness. I arrived at London Euston with plenty of time to spare for the 07.30, only to see that it had been cancelled. I then bumped into John Stevenson (Carlisle’s MP) who was also booked onto the same train, so we waited together, boarded the 08.30, and then were kicked off when we were told that train wasn’t running either. At that point, barring a helicopter, there was no way for me to be able to make my first meeting, but the second was salvageable. Waiting on the concourse it was announced that the 09.30 was also cancelled and so I returned to the Commons and held my second meeting virtually – annoying, but at least not entirely wasted time.

This brings me to the railways. I know I’m not the only one who is seeing increased numbers of cancellations both on the west coast mainline, and also on Northern. It had appeared that the railways had turned a corner before the pandemic, but we are back again to more cancelled trains, delays, and frustration. This isn’t all about strike action and I’m working with the Department of Transport to understand what is driving it, and how we can get back to the ‘glory days’ of 2020.

Earlier this week I attended Furness College to join the NCS Social Action Panel. Together with local leaders from business and the third sector, we scrutinised three excellent (but very different) projects that were presented to us by groups of young people taking part in the NCS programme this year. Congratulations go to all three groups for such sound presentations, and for grasping the spirit of NCS to the full. Each were awarded £100 to deliver their projects which will help provide clothing for asylum seekers, provide a self-care toolkit for people to help improve their mental health and wellbeing, and coordinating fundraisers for local charities.

Finally, I was delighted to see more than three quarters of a million pounds being invested in Cumbria to make our streets even safer. No one should feel afraid while walking the streets of Furness, yet many people, particularly women and girls, feel uncomfortable or unsafe in public spaces, especially at night. That is why I welcome this funding to help to keep Furness’ streets safe for everyone.

I’ll be back next week and will soon be heading out on my third annual summer surgery tour. It’d be great to see you as my team and I bring the office to every corner of Furness. We’ll be starting in Newbarns on 15 August and for the rest of the week we’ll visit every corner of Furness in the hope of chatting to and helping as many people as possible – I hope to see you there!