Saturday, 21 September 2019

Shop local!

Northumberland County Council’s scheme to promote food and drink produced in our county- Produced in Northumberland- has reached a fantastic milestone after gaining its 100th member. Grannies Tearoom and Delicatessen in Alnwick has become the 100th business to sign up to the scheme, thanks to its brilliant range of locally produced products. The scheme was launched in 2015 to verify that food and drink products have been produced locally, and has proved to be a great boost to our local economy.

There is such a variety of food and drink produced in Northumberland and I am a great admirer of the Produced in Northumberland scheme which celebrates our local food and drink industry. As always I would encourage you to support your local businesses by shopping locally.

You can find out more about Produced in Northumberland by visiting its website:

Friday, 20 September 2019

Help Northumberland win gold!

Northumberland is nominated in the 'Best UK Holiday Destination/County' category at the 2019 British Travel Awards, having won the award last year, and needs your help to retain the title for another year. 

There is not long left now to cast your vote (voting ends on 30th September). You can vote for Northumberland by following the link below- make sure to ask all your family, friends and colleagues to vote as well!

Northumberland is a fantastic place to live and visit so please do help Northumberland win gold for the second year in a row.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

10 years of the Kielder Marathon- book your place now!

There is not much time left to enter the 10th Anniversary Active Northumberland Kielder Marathon Weekend! The event takes place from 12th - 13t h October, with entries closing on 11th October, but with the Half Marathon already sold out and the 10K run nearly full, now is the time to make sure you don’t miss out! Known as Britain’s most beautiful marathon, the Kielder Marathon follows an almost completely off-road track and is celebrating its tenth year this year.

To enter please visit here:

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Nominate your outstanding rural businesses!

Nominations are now open for the 2020 Countryside Alliance Awards! Nominations for the seven categories- Local Food/Drink, Village Shop/Post Office, Butcher, Rural Enterprise, Pub, Game Champion and the Clarissa Dickson Wright Award- are open until 8th December 2019. Last year there were 17,000 nominations submitted and the Awards hope this year to break that record, so if you would like to recognise a special rural business in your local area, from your favourite village pub to your local community's post office, then why not nominate them for a Countryside Alliance Award? 

Saturday, 14 September 2019

The sound of music in Hexham

The Hexham Abbey Festival takes place next week from Thursday 19th- Sunday 22nd September! With a line-up including everything from folk, jazz and the always popular Candlelight Concert, this year's festival looks set to be the best yet.

To find out more about the Festival's programme and to buy tickets, visit the link below. You're sure to find something for you so don't miss out!

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Prudhoe retail park is given the go ahead

There is great news for Prudhoe as work has been given permission to begin to build a new retail park in Low Prudhoe. The retail park will include a supermarket, fast food restaurant and hotel, bringing huge benefits to Prudhoe’s economy. The planning application has now been approved by Northumberland County Council’s planning committee and I look forward to work getting underway on the site before too long. 

Monday, 9 September 2019

Have your say on Hexham's two new schools

This week the designs for Hexham's two new schools are going on display as part of a public consultation which will allow families and local residents to give their views on the plans. New buildings for Queen Elizabeth High School and Hexham Middle School will be built on the same site and are due to be ready by September 2021.

The consultation events will take place on Wednesday 11th September from 5pm-8pm and on Saturday 14th September from 9.30am-12.30pm at the Winter Gardens at Queen Elizabeth High School. I would really encourage parents, families and residents to go along, find out more about the plans and have their say.

Sunday, 8 September 2019

42 years of the Ponteland Parish Flower Show

One of Ponteland's most loved events is just around the corner! The 42nd annual Ponteland Parish Flower Show is taking place next Saturday 14th September at the Memorial Hall. The Show incorporates the North East Group of the Heather Society and Ponteland Memorial Hall Leek Club.

The Show is taking place from 1pm-4.30pm, with the presentation of trophies and an auction of produce held at 4pm. You can find the programme by visiting here-

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Wear it Pink this October for Breast Cancer Now

As a cancer survivor, I am very proud to support Breast Cancer Now's 'Wear it Pink' day which this year is taking place on 18th October. 'Wear it Pink' day is one of the biggest fundraising events in the UK and takes place every year during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. Thousands of people wear pink in their communities, schools and work places to raise money for Breast Cancer Now, and to date over £33 million has been raised to fund vital research on preventing, detecting and treating breast cancer.

You can take part by visiting the link below to register and wear something pink to raise money on 18th October. It's a fun way to make a vital difference.

Friday, 6 September 2019

The sound of music in Allendale

September is nearly upon us and with it comes the wonderful Allen Valleys Folk Festival. The Festival, which was established in 2014, is a three day event celebrating folk music, traditional dance and workshops. This year’s festival features an exciting line-up of talent, as well as a great programme of workshops. Meanwhile the Saturday of the Festival will see the burning of a wooden sculpture representing the legendary Allendale Wolf in the Market Square. 

The Allen Valleys Folk Festival takes place from Friday 27th– Sunday 29thSeptember. You can buy either day tickets or weekend passes. To buy your tickets and to see the programme in full visit here-

Friday, 30 August 2019

Sad to see Ruth Davidson step down as Scottish Conservative leader

I first met Ruth during the Glasgow North East by election in November 2009. I love this photo of us all looking a lot younger when neither of us were in politics professionally.

Subsequently Ruth has spoken in the Hexham constituency – see great pictures of her sell out event a couple of years ago.


And more recently we campaigned together in 2017 to get more Scottish Conservatives elected:

Her resignation letter in full is below. I fully understand why she feels it is difficult to be the mum of a first born in a couple, and the full time leader of the party, as she explains in more detail below. I am a massive Ruth Davidson fan – she has much more to offer this great country in the future. Have a read of her resignation letter:
“It has been the privilege of my life to serve as the leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party. The almost eight years I’ve spent at the helm have coincided with one of the most remarkable and important periods of recent Scottish political history.

I am proud of the teams we have built in Holyrood, Westminster and in council chambers across the country and proud of our electoral successes in recent years.

All of that pales in significance compared to the vital role our party undertook in the Scottish independence referendum of 2014. I will always consider that the most important contribution of my working life and my commitment to keeping the United Kingdom together remains undimmed.

None of the achievements mentioned above would have been possible without your [Robert Forman, Chairman Scottish Conservatives] support, guidance and friendship – along with the hard work and professionalism of the Scottish Conservative team at central office. For all of this, thank you.

Inevitably, much has changed over the years of my leadership — both personally and in the wider political context. While I have not hidden the conflict I have felt over Brexit, I have attempted to chart a course for our party which recognises and respects the referendum result, while seeking to maximise opportunities and mitigate risks for key Scottish businesses and sectors.

I hope and believe that industries as diverse as our fishing fleets and whisky producers have felt well represented by the Scottish Conservatives during this time.

The biggest change, of course, has been starting a family. I cannot thank you, Jackson Carlaw and the wider party enough for the generosity and support you have all shown to Jen and me following the birth of baby Finn. It made my return to work in April as smooth as I could have hoped and I believe the flexibility shown by colleagues has allowed me these last months to continue operating successfully in my role as leader.

However, as I look to the future, I see the Scottish Election due in 2021 and a credible threat from our opponents to force a general election before then. Having led our party through seven national elections and two referenda, I know the efforts, hours and travel required to fight such campaigns successfully. I have to be honest that where the idea of getting on the roads to fight two elections in 20 months would once have fired me up, the threat of spending hundreds of hours away from my home and family now fills me with dread. That is no way to lead.

Additionally, I fear that having tried to be a good leader over the years, I have proved a poor daughter, sister, partner and friend. The party and my work has always come first, often at the expense of commitments to loved ones. The arrival of my son means I now make a different choice.

While I offer you my resignation as party leader, I intend to continue in my role as the MSP for Edinburgh Central until 2021. I will always, always be thankful for the opportunity to serve and to the amazing teams I have worked alongside.

Be assured I will continue to support the party, the Prime Minister and Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom from the backbenches and beyond.

In terms of final thoughts. I believe that two referenda have split Scotland and indeed opinion in the UK and I am convinced that referenda should be used to affirm public opinion, but not as a way for political leaders to fail to lead. Looking at the division in our politics, I make this plea.

The vast majority of people who go into politics do so for the right reasons, to improve their communities and their countries. And I believe we should always remember that. Respect is what is missing from our debates. And without respect, you cannot have understanding and you cannot unite, which is what we in Scotland and in the UK need to do.”

The need for a new Queens Speech and opportunities to debate Brexit next week + in October either side of the European Summit

There are two issues that have been raised by the decision of the Prime Minister, as agreed to by Her Majesty the Queen: the need for a new Queens Speech, and an opportunity for parliament to debate any matters, including Brexit.

There is ample time for Labour, or other parties, to seek to stop Brexit or to introduce a Vote of No Confidence if they wish to do so. They could, for example, do this next Tuesday, when the House of Commons sits again.

Normally Parliament is prorogued each year in advance of a Queen's Speech. This particular session of Parliament has lasted nearly two and a quarter years – effectively the longest since the English Civil War. We are long overdue a Queen's Speech, and quite understandably a new Prime Minister, and a new ministerial team want to set out a new domestic legislative agenda. Genuinely, all of parliament, from across all political sides, have been waiting for a new Queens Speech since July, when the previous two-year 2017-2019 session ran out. For example, the Labour Leader of the House of Commons, Valerie Vaz MP, called for a new Queens Speech in June of this year in the Commons. For more details on this issue have a read here. 

What are the consequences of the decision in terms of parliamentary time as compared to the normal agenda? MPs will still return to parliament for the new session, which begins next Tuesday, and then break, for the party conference recess. Labour conference will be in Brighton, the Conservatives in Manchester the following week and so on. Again, any political party who wants to bring a vote of No Confidence can do so next week. For more details on such a situation have a read here.

Party conference recess always happens under each and any government. In October, there will be the loss of 3 days business on the 8th, 9th and 10th October. If the Government were committing, as some have argued, "a constitutional outrage", they would be proroguing Parliament until November 1st to ensure that it did not sit between now and November 1st. This is not happening.

Brexit was due to take place on March 31st 2019. Shortly before then the UK Government and the EU27 agreed to delay the Brexit departure date until 31st October 2019. The next European Council is on the 17th and 18th October. The new Prime Minister has already met with President Macron and Angela Merkel and progress has been made to removing the backstop, which remains the chief hurdle to an agreed deal.

The Government has set out a clear timetable, which indicates that if a withdrawal agreement has been reached it would be debated and voted on 21st and 22nd October. This will still give time, both before and after the European Council, to debate Brexit and a potential new Withdrawal Bill. We have already debated Brexit repeatedly; I have voted on three occasions to leave with a deal. It is a matter of regret that Labour, and other opposition parties, have repeatedly blocked the United Kingdom leaving with a deal. It remains both my, and the Prime Ministers, desire for an agreed Deal by way of a Withdrawal Agreement with our partners in the EU.

For too long the deadlock in Parliament has taken the focus away from key domestic issues and I am delighted that Boris Johnson has set out such a bold policy agenda for more police on our streets to tackle violent crime, levelled up school funding, and that the NHS continues to secure the extra £20 Billion it has been promised by this Conservative Government. I accept that not everyone agrees with the result of the 2016 EU Referendum, but I am a democrat and I believe we need to leave the EU and abide by the decision of the Referendum, in light of the assurances given by all political parties, and MPs, both before and after the referendum. I am also of the view that the British people want Brexit sorted and their Government to focus on the domestic renewal of our country.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Investing in our greatest asset... Northumberland National Park

Northumberland National Park is one of our greatest assets, and brand new visitor facilities have now opened at Walltown Country Park, near Greenhead, with the aim of providing a better experience to visitors to the stunning area. The new facilities are part of the planned ‘Hadrian’s Wall observatory’ across sites including the Sill and Walltown Country Park itself. The work was done thanks to funding from the Rural Development for Rural England Growth Programme which provided 80% of the funding. 

We are incredibly lucky to have such a beautiful National Park on our doorstep. It is so important that we make sure that it is a place both local people and tourists can enjoy. 

Monday, 26 August 2019

Contractor announced for Hexham's new schools

Galliford Try has been announced as the company which will design and build Hexham’s two new schools. The company is known for its modern and innovative approach to designing teaching environments. The plans for the new schools will see the current Queen Elizabeth High School and Hexham Middle School situated on one site while retaining their own distinctive spaces. The £36.1m project is largely being funded by Northumberland County Council, with a contribution also from the Department for Education. Construction is expected to begin in early 2020, with the schools open in September 2021.

It is hugely positive news to see the project to build the two new schools in Hexham making progress and I look forward to Hexham’s students being able to benefit from a first class education in the not too distant future. 

Saturday, 24 August 2019

The brilliant Bellingham Show

A fabulous summer of country shows is coming to a close, but we’re not quite finished yet! Next Saturday 31st August the Bellingham Show takes place with a programme of events packed full to entertain all the family. There is so much planned for this year’s show- live bands, horses, terrier racing, children’s activities and rides, food, crafts, beer tents and vintage vehicles to name just a few. Meanwhile the Forestry England stand will be celebrating 100 years of forestry and for the first time since the early 1990s there will be helicopter flights at the show for the chance to see Bellingham and the North Tyne from above (make sure to book now 

The Show starts at 9am on Saturday 31st August. I can’t think of a better way to end the summer.

Friday, 23 August 2019

Vote for Northumberland!

After winning the title of ‘Best UK Holiday Destination/County 2018’ at the British Travel Awards last year, Northumberland is once again nominated in the category and needs your help to retain the title for another year. 

There is just over a month left to cast your vote (voting ends on 30th September). You can vote for Northumberland by following the link below- make sure to ask all your family, friends and colleagues to vote as well!

Northumberland is a fantastic place to live and visit so please do help Northumberland win gold for the second year in a row.

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

The Falstone Show- this weekend!

This weekend the Falstone Border Shepherds’ Show is taking place. The Show has been an important event on the calendar since 1885, and the timetable for this year’s event is packed full of classes, competitions and more. A beer tent, children’s classes, an incredible range of competitions and classes, music and the chance to take an alpaca for a walk, the day looks set to be a busy and fun-filled event.

The Falstone Show takes place on Saturday 24th August- follow the signs to the show field to find free parking.

Monday, 19 August 2019

Betel House: an example of best practice in the care sector

It was great to visit the fantastic Rising Cafe which assists the excellent work of local charity Betel House. Betel House is based in Hexham and supports those battling drug and alcohol addiction. It was recently highlighted in the Parliamentary Review as an example of best practice in the care sector. It is great that Betel UK is being given this platform to showcase the incredible work it does. Betel House Hexham, with its residential centre, furniture restoration shop, gardening business and cafe, is a beacon of hope and care in the Tyne Valley.

Thank you to everyone at the Rising Cafe on Beaumont Street, Hexham, for making me so welcome!

Friday, 16 August 2019

The 181st Allendale Show

It’s back for another year! This weekend the 181st Allendale Show is taking place, with entries in an amazing 42 different agricultural classes. Competitions include show jumping, the dog show, photography, art, flowers and so much more. 

The Allendale Show is always a great family day out and a fantastic showcase of our local area. There is sure to be something for everyone in the family at this year’s show- terrier racing, stalls and stands, a stunt bike show and circus workshops for children taking place throughout the day. It promises to be a day to remember!

The Allendale Show takes place on Saturday 17th August at The Showfield, Riding Haughs. 

Thursday, 15 August 2019

How the Romans made their armour

This week members of the Ermine Street Guard are at Vindolanda to show how they make their replica Roman armour, weapons and shoes. The Guard make their kit as authentically as possible, with the process based on recent research, so this is a fascinating chance to find out how the Romans themselves may have made their armour. The Guard are at Vindolando every day until Monday 19th August so make sure not to miss out on a unique experience!

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Sunday at the Thockrington Church Fete

There is no better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than in a beautiful country garden, and this weekend the Thockrington Church fete and open gardens at Carrycoats Hall is a perfect opportunity to do just that. The fete takes place on Sunday 18th August at 2.30pm and there will be cream teas, a plant stall, home produce and a raffle. Entry is £5 and children enter for free. So this Sunday if you would like to wander around the herbaceous and vegetable gardens and look at the woodlands of Carrycoats Hall, then the Thockrington Church fete is the place to be!

Monday, 12 August 2019

The World Transplant Games 2019

This week the World Transplant Games get underway, and for the first time ever the games will be taking place in Newcastle and Gateshead. The World Transplant Games are a celebration of a second chance of life, and show the success of transplant surgery. This year’s games are taking place from 17th-23rdAugust and include events such as cycling, swimming, football, golf, badminton and much more. Participants are all recipients of organ or tissue transplants, however there are also events for donors.  

There are around 6080 people on the transplant waiting list in the UK, including around 150 children and teenagers. On average three people die every day who could have benefited from an organ transplant. The World Transplant Games aim to raise public awareness of organ and tissue donation. You can support donation by joining the NHS Organ Donor Register at You can also text WTG2019 to 70300 to donate £3 which will be received by the Graham Wylie Foundation. 

I wish all participants the best of luck and hope that the 2019 World Transplant Games are a fantastic success!

Flood Risk Update - 12th August 2019

The last few days has brought significant rainfall across Northumberland, and I have been visiting many of the villages affected by high river water levels. The Tyne is high, but a very long way off Storm Desmond levels, and our flood defences are doing a good job. 
I have spoken with the Environment Agency and local County Councillors for updates. Thankfully, at this stage, the flooding along the river Tyne appears not to be a threat to property.

We have had some problems with the River Rede which has burst its banks. I will be visiting to see the problems for myself.

Please be very careful when driving or walking on riverside footpaths. There is a significant about of standing water on our country lanes, and if you come across standing water, please report it. 
You can monitor flood warnings for our Tynedale by clicking here. If you need to report a flooding problem, you can contact the Environment Agency Floodline 24 hours a day on 0345 988 1188.

Finally - I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has played their part in helping to clear up flooding that has taken place in recent days, from our emergency services, to the Environment Agency.

Friday, 9 August 2019

Highlights of the summer so far...

Parliament is currently in recess, which has given me a great opportunity to spend as much time as possible in the Hexham constituency. Here are just a few of the visits I have made in the past couple of weeks:

It was great to meet Team 2 Northumberland from the National Citizen Service at Dene Grange Care Home in Hexham. I am a great admirer of the NCS programme and I cannot recommend it highly enough to local young people.

I went along to Acomb Court Care Home in Hexham where residents were being treated to one of their regular visits from two of WAG and Company's Friendship Dogs. It was wonderful to see the joy that the two dogs brought to residents. WAG and Company is holding a fundraising sponsored walk at Kielder on 28th September 2019. If you would like to get involved you can find out more and register here-

I also paid a visit to the Northumberland Cheese Company in Blagdon to see their fantastic shop and dairy. It's a really great local business- definitely worth a visit!

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Help Northumberland retain its crown!

Last year Northumberland was named as 'Best UK Holiday Destination/County 2018' at the British Travel Awards, and having been nominated once again this year our great county needs your help to retain its title.

Beaches, castles, history, a stunning National Park, brilliant pubs and restaurants... Northumberland has it all! To help Northumberland to retain the title of the UK's best holiday destination/county for a second year vote by following the link below-

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

North East- leading the way on climate change

Climate change is one of the most important issues we are faced with today, and I am delighted that the North East are leading the way on educating children about climate change. The North of Tyne Combined Authority has committed to providing every state-funded school in Northumberland, Newcastle and North Tyneside with the opportunity to train a member of staff as a UN-accredited climate change teacher. The project is led by Corbridge Middle School teacher Dr Meryl Batchelder, who is Northumberland’s first UN teacher.

This is a hugely significant step and I am so pleased to see the North East leading by example and ensuring that the next generation receive the best possible environmental education. 

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Sunday in a country garden

An open garden event is taking place this weekend to raise money for two churches in Haydon Bridge- St Cuthbert’s Church and St John of Beverley Catholic Church. Tom and Belinda Speir are opening up their garden at East Deanraw Farm, Langley, on Sunday 4th August to raise money for the two local churches. As well as the chance to visit the wonderful garden, there will also be stalls, ice cream, an auction, raffle, tombola and live music. 

The event is at East Deanraw Farm, Langley, at 2pm on Sunday 4th August.

Friday, 2 August 2019

Great news for Hexham schools

I am passionate about ensuring that every child receives the best education, so I am delighted that my long campaign for a new school in Hexham is making great progress. Over the past nine years I have been one of many voices calling for major investment to improve Queen Elizabeth High School and Hexham Middle School, and it is fantastic news that the contractor for the £37 million project to build new buildings is set to be approved next week. It is hoped that the new schools will be ready to open in September 2021. 

The funding for this project is being provided by Northumberland County Council and the Department for Education. This really is a true partnership of local councillors and the government working together to support Hexham, and I am confident that the future is positive for our Hexham schools. 

Thursday, 1 August 2019

A showcase of local talent

August looks set to be a busy month in the Hexham constituency!

The Hexham Art Club's Summer Exhibition is opening its doors next weekend. From 10th-16th August work from talented local artists will be on display at St Peter's Church, Bywell, from 10am-4pm daily. Entry and parking are free, and art including originals, prints and cards will be available to purchase at affordable prices.

You can find out more about the exhibition, as well as information on how you can get involved with the Hexham Art Club here-

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Friendship Dogs- bringing smiles and melting hearts

I recently popped in to Acomb Court Care Home in Hexham where residents were being treated to one of their regular visits from two of WAG and Company's Friendship Dogs. Cassie and Tattie (and their owners Audrey and Judy) call in to Acomb Court every week with a view to offering comfort, laughter and to rekindle memories of times past for those who are no longer able to have a pet themselves. WAG aims to reduce loneliness in older dog lovers in the North East and to ensure that no older person misses friendship and the company of a dog.

WAG and Company North East Friendship Dogs was launched in May 2016 to enable volunteers and their dogs to visit older dog lovers in their own homes or in care and medical establishments across the North East. It is so moving to see the interaction between the residents and the dogs, and it is fantastic that Acomb Court hosts these wonderful visits which are having such a positive impact for older people in addressing feelings of loneliness and isolation. They have my full support.

WAG and Company is holding a fundraising sponsored walk at Kielder on 28th September 2019. If you would like to get involved you can find out more and register here-

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Kielder's osprey chicks are flying the flag for Northumberland

Locations around Northumberland have been given a great honour as the eleven new osprey chicks born this year at Kielder have been named after famous Northumberland places. The chicks’ names include Corbridge, Chesters, Cragside and Coquet. It is great to hear that the chicks are doing well and continuing to thrive!

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Boris Johnson's first speech on the steps of Downing Street - positive, optimistic and aspirational

This afternoon, our new Prime Minister Boris Johnson entered Number 10. His first speech on steps of Downing Street was positive, optimistic and aspirational for all of the UK. Boris has my full support and I look forward to working with him.

You can read a full transcript of Boris' speech below, or watch the video.

Good afternoon.

I have just been to see Her Majesty the Queen who has invited me to form a government and I have accepted.

I pay tribute to the fortitude and patience of my predecessor and her deep sense of public service.

But in spite of all her efforts, it has become clear that there are pessimists at home and abroad who think that after three years of indecision, that this country has become a prisoner to the old arguments of 2016 and that in this home of democracy we are incapable of honouring a basic democratic mandate.

And so I am standing before you today to tell you, the British people, that those critics are wrong.

The doubters, the doomsters, the gloomsters – they are going to get it wrong again.

The people who bet against Britain are going to lose their shirts, because we are going to restore trust in our democracy and we are going to fulfil the repeated promises of Parliament to the people and come out of the EU on October 31, no ifs or buts.

And we will do a new deal, a better deal that will maximise the opportunities of Brexit while allowing us to develop a new and exciting partnership with the rest of Europe, based on free trade and mutual support.

I have every confidence that in 99 days' time we will have cracked it. But you know what - we aren't going to wait 99 days, because the British people have had enough of waiting.

The time has come to act, to take decisions, to give strong leadership and to change this country for the better.

And though the Queen has just honoured me with this extraordinary office of state my job is to serve you, the people.

Because if there is one point we politicians need to remember, it is that the people are our bosses.

My job is to make your streets safer - and we are going to begin with another 20,000 police on the streets and we start recruiting forthwith.

My job is to make sure you don't have to wait 3 weeks to see your GP - and we start work this week, with 20 new hospital upgrades, and ensuring that money for the NHS really does get to the front line.

My job is to protect you or your parents or grandparents from the fear of having to sell your home to pay for the costs of care.

And so I am announcing now - on the steps of Downing Street - that we will fix the crisis in social care once and for all with a clear plan we have prepared to give every older person the dignity and security they deserve.

My job is to make sure your kids get a superb education, wherever they are in the country - and that's why we have already announced that we are going to level up per pupil funding in primary and secondary schools.

And that is the work that begins immediately behind that black door.

And though I am today building a great team of men and women, I will take personal responsibility for the change I want to see.

Never mind the backstop – the buck stops here.

And I will tell you something else about my job. It is to be prime minister of the whole United Kingdom.

And that means uniting our country, answering at last the plea of the forgotten people and the left-behind towns by physically and literally renewing the ties that bind us together.

So that with safer streets and better education and fantastic new road and rail infrastructure and full fibre broadband we level up across Britain with higher wages, and a higher living wage, and higher productivity.

We close the opportunity gap, giving millions of young people the chance to own their own homes and giving business the confidence to invest across the UK.

Because it is time we unleashed the productive power not just of London and the South East, but of every corner of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The awesome foursome that are incarnated in that red, white, and blue flag - who together are so much more than the sum of their parts, and whose brand and political personality is admired and even loved around the world.

For our inventiveness, for our humour, for our universities, our scientists, our armed forces, our diplomacy for the equalities on which we insist - whether race or gender or LGBT or the right of every girl in the world to 12 years of quality education - and for the values we stand for around the world

Everyone knows the values that flag represents.

It stands for freedom and free speech and habeas corpus and the rule of law, and above all it stands for democracy.

And that is why we will come out of the EU on October 31.

Because in the end, Brexit was a fundamental decision by the British people that they wanted their laws made by people that they can elect and they can remove from office.

And we must now respect that decision, and create a new partnership with our European friends - as warm and as close and as affectionate as possible.

And the first step is to repeat unequivocally our guarantee to the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us, and I say directly to you - thank you for your contribution to our society.

Thank you for your patience, and I can assure you that under this government you will get the absolute certainty of the rights to live and remain.

And next I say to our friends in Ireland, and in Brussels and around the EU: I am convinced that we can do a deal without checks at the Irish border, because we refuse under any circumstances to have such checks and yet without that anti-democratic backstop.

And it is of course vital at the same time that we prepare for the remote possibility that Brussels refuses any further to negotiate, and we are forced to come out with no deal, not because we want that outcome – of course not – but because it is only common sense to prepare.

And let me stress that there is a vital sense in which those preparations cannot be wasted, and that is because under any circumstances we will need to get ready at some point in the near future to come out of the EU customs union and out of regulatory control, fully determined at last to take advantage of Brexit.

Because that is the course on which this country is now set.

With high hearts and growing confidence, we will now accelerate the work of getting ready.

And the ports will be ready and the banks will be ready, and the factories will be ready, and business will be ready, and the hospitals will be ready, and our amazing food and farming sector will be ready and waiting to continue selling ever more, not just here but around the world.

And don't forget that in the event of a no deal outcome, we will have the extra lubrication of the £39 billion, and whatever deal we do we will prepare this autumn for an economic package to boost British business and to lengthen this country's lead as the number one destination in this continent for overseas investment.

And to all those who continue to prophesy disaster, I say yes - there will be difficulties, though I believe that with energy and application they will be far less serious than some have claimed.

But if there is one thing that has really sapped the confidence of business over the last three years, it is not the decisions we have taken - it is our refusal to take decisions.

And to all those who say we cannot be ready, I say do not underestimate this country.

Do not underestimate our powers of organisation and our determination, because we know the enormous strengths of this economy in life sciences, in tech, in academia, in music, the arts, culture, financial services.

It is here in Britain that we are using gene therapy, for the first time, to treat the most common form of blindness.

Here in Britain that we are leading the world in the battery technology that will help cut CO2 and tackle climate change and produce green jobs for the next generation.

And as we prepare for a post-Brexit future, it is time we looked not at the risks but at the opportunities that are upon us.

So let us begin work now to create free ports that will drive growth and thousands of high-skilled jobs in left-behind areas.

Let's start now to liberate the UK's extraordinary bioscience sector from anti-genetic modification rules, and let's develop the blight-resistant crops that will feed the world.

Let's get going now on our own position navigation and timing satellite and earth observation systems – UK assets orbiting in space, with all the long term strategic and commercial benefits for this country.

Let's change the tax rules to provide extra incentives to invest in capital and research.

And let's promote the welfare of animals that has always been so close to the hearts of the British people.

And yes, let's start now on those free trade deals – because it is free trade that has done more than anything else to lift billions out of poverty.

All this and more we can do now and only now, at this extraordinary moment in our history.

And after three years of unfounded self-doubt, it is time to change the record.

To recover our natural and historic role as an enterprising, outward-looking and truly global Britain, generous in temper and engaged with the world.

No one in the last few centuries has succeeded in betting against the pluck and nerve and ambition of this country.

They will not succeed today.

We in this government will work flat out to give this country the leadership it deserves, and that work begins now.

Thank you very much.

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Boris Johnson is our new Conservative Party leader and will be our next Prime Minister

I congratulate Boris Johnson on being elected leader of the Conservative Party and on becoming our new Prime Minister - he has my full support and I look forward to working with him. Throughout the leadership campaign both candidates have demonstrated their qualities and strengths and I hope that Jeremy will continue to play a significant role in Government. I also congratulate Jo Swinson on her election.

We will see this week that the media focus will quickly shift to the new PM in No.10, but I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Theresa May and acknowledge her outstanding public service as Prime Minister. Her tenure in Downing Street has coincided with one of the most tumultuous and complex periods in recent British political history and she has carried out her duties with great diligence and dignity, always seeking to do what is in the best interests of the country.

It remains my strong conviction that we must deliver on the Brexit referendum result - to bypass the largest single democratic event in my life time would be to trample on the foundations of our democracy.  Now is the time for the Conservative Party, and indeed Parliament, to unite in order to deliver a Brexit that is timely and workable and to support a settlement that offers our country a strong and positive platform on which to build our future relationship with the EU and the rest of world.

Monday, 22 July 2019

Hexham's cycling jersey champions!

Congratulations to our local winners of Northumberland County Council’s competition to design a Northumberland-themed cycling jersey for the upcoming Tour of Britain cycle race. 

It is fantastic to see some Hexham constituency schools featured in the list of winners- Broomhaugh C of E First School, Wylam First School, Hexham Middle School and Prudhoe Community High School all feature in the winners’ list. 

A special congratulations have to go to Broomhaugh First School Year 4 pupil Adam Symes, who’s Hadrian’s Wall under the stars design was named as the winner in the Reception to Year 4 category.

The Tour of Britain will be visiting Northumberland in September, starting in Berwick, heading along the Northumberland coast, before traveling into North Tyneside and finishing on Grey Street in Newcastle city centre. The race will be broadcast to 166 countries, and really will be an incredible opportunity to showcase our wonderful region.

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Supporting more forestry in Northumberland!

L-R Sir William Worsley, David Rutley MP, Myself and John Paterson, Director of Forestry at EGGER
It was great to welcome Forestry Minister David Rutley to Egger in Hexham yesterday, along with the government's recently reappointed Tree Champion, Sir William Worsley who is driving forward a massive tree planting strategy.

Egger provides over 650 jobs Hexham. It is the largest private sector employer in Northumberland, and undoubtedly one of the best. Everyone who works at Egger is extremely proud of this family owned business.

Forestry Minister David Rutley was in Northumberland for a tour of Egger's factory, to meet many of the company's employers. He also convened a roundtable on forestry industry opportunities, challenges, an action plan for the way ahead and to discuss how DEFRA can work with us locally to get more trees planted. We need to get everyone, from the County Council to Northumberland National Park, the North of Tyne Combined Authority, and Forestry England to work together.

As Northumberland's biggest employer, Egger is vitally important to our community. But we need to continue planting more trees so they can continue to provide well paid jobs. At a time when we are facing a Climate Emergency, it's a win win.

Ranger School at The Sill!

The school holidays are here, and The Sill has a unique opportunity for 11-14 year olds this summer!

The Sill’s Ranger School is running from Tuesday 30th July- Friday 2nd August. Children will have the chance to work with Northumberland National Park Rangers on a variety of tasks, including conservation activities, mammal monitoring and navigation skills to find out what it takes to look after some of the UK’s most protected landscapes.

You can book a place at Ranger School now- if you book all four days an additional session on Monday 29th July is free!

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Net zero by 2050

Each and every one of us has a part to play in fighting climate change, so I am delighted to hear that one of the UK’s major energy suppliers, E.ON, is now providing its customers across Britain with a 100% renewable electricity supply at no extra cost.  

Last month the UK became the first major economy in the world to pass laws to end its contribution to global warming by 2050. The target will require the UK to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, compared with the previous target of at least 80% reduction from 1990 levels. We have already reduced emissions by 42% but there is still work to be done, and it is great to see major energy suppliers like E.ON leading the way in achieving net zero emissions. 

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Falstone Open Gardens

This Sunday the village of Falstone is coming together to raise money for some great causes. Falstone Open Gardens is taking place on Sunday 21st July from 1.30-5pm. Entry is £5 with under 5s going free. Meanwhile at Falstone Village Hall there will also be afternoon tea, a plant stall, a raffle and a quiz.

The afternoon is set to raise money for Maggie's Cancer Care and the Freeman Heart and Lung Transplant Association, two causes which provide vital care for local people. A great way to spend a Sunday afternoon while raising money for a worthwhile cause.

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Carnival Day in Haltwhistle

Today is Carnival Day in Haltwhistle, with the famous annual procession of floats departing Haltwhistle Fire Station at 12pm, led by the City of Newcastle Pipe Band. Meanwhile, there will be a ukulele band at the Market Place from noon, as well as live music from Diablo, a fancy dress competition, donkey rides, vintage vehicles, a fun fair, stalls, a beer tent, children's crafts and so much more!

The Haltwhistle Carnival is one of the highlights of the year in the town- don't miss out on the fun!

Friday, 12 July 2019

Support our fantastic local producers tomorrow!

Hexham's fantastic Farmers Market takes place tomorrow between 9:30am and 1:30pm. There are so many local producers, from the Northumberland Cheese Company based in Ponteland, to Muckle brewing based near Haltwhistle.

All producers come within a 50 mile range of Hexham and products use a high percentage of locally produced ingredients. The Hexham Farmers Market takes place every second and fourth Saturday of the month, with the next one taking place tomorrow. Make sure you pop down and support our fantastic local producers.

Find out more at

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Vote Northumberland!

Following last year's success at the British Travel Awards, where Northumberland was named 'Best UK Holiday Destination/County 2018', Northumberland is this year in the running to retain its title. We all know how lucky we are to live in such a stunning county, with castles, beaches, Hadrian's Wall and a National Park, and a second year of success at the British Travel Awards would give our region's tourism and economy a significant boost.

You can help Northumberland to retain its crown as the UK's best holiday destination/county by voting at

Monday, 8 July 2019

LOVE Northumberland

The LOVE Northumberland awards celebrate projects and initiatives which improve local areas and neighbourhoods for the benefit of the local community, and entries for the awards have now opened.

Entries can be made into a variety of categories; best children’s project, best young people’s project, best urban project, best coast or countryside project, best new project, best school recycling project, and an award for an outstanding individual. The awards will be presented by the Duchess of Northumberland at Alnwick Garden in September.

The closing date for entries is Friday 2nd August. To enter go to You can also email or phone o1670 622992. 

Saturday, 6 July 2019

Get designing for the Tour of Britain

The Tour of Britain is coming to Northumberland in September, and school children are being invited to take part in a competition to design a Northumberland-themed cycling jersey. A cycling jersey is a specially designed T-shirt which is made from synthetic material to keep the cyclist cool. The jersey might also include a design or colours which show which team the rider is a part of. The winning design will printed, framed and presented to the child’s school, and there are three age categories- Reception to Year 4, Year 5-8 and Year 9 onwards. A prize of £10,000 will be shared among the winning schools to be spent on sporting activities and school trips.   

The closing date for the competition is 15th July. For more information visit