IN a year dominated by Brexit, Redditch MP Rachel Maclean says she’s looking forward to cracking on with the domestic agenda in 2019 – in more ways than one.
This includes pushing ahead with the Green Paper on adult social care and maintaining the pressure on the local health trust, but she’ll also be focusing on affairs closer to home, like the wedding of her daughter Rose in the summer.
“We’ve already been wedding dress shopping and I’m looking forward to being the mother of the bride,” said the MP.
However reflecting on a busy year it is difficult to avoid the mighty shadow cast by Brexit.
“The whole narrative has been dominated by Brexit but there have been many good things going on elsewhere too,” she said.
“We have the Ivory Bill which has just received Royal Assent and which will curtail the ivory trade and protect elephants, which I know a lot of people in this country are concerned about.
“And we have the Offensive Weapons Bill, part of our strategy of tackling knife crime and crime, so there is an awful lot of good work going on across government.”
Other highlights include increased spending on Police and the revised business rate scheme which will see pilot authorities, including Worcestershire County Council, retain 75 per cent of cash collected.
Brexit though has grabbed the headlines and although acknowledging the wave of criticism heaped on the government Mrs Maclean is sticking by Prime Minister Theresa May.
“There is simply no precedent for Brexit, no rules, no processes about how to do things, and I think Theresa May is doing a good job.
“Throughout the last decade I have knocked on thousands of doors in the West Midlands and in those years Europe has been a persistent issue and I really do think the British people thought they were joining a common market, a trade block, they didn’t want to go with all the other parts.
“We are a sovereign nation, an island nation, and I think it simply goes against the grain for us and I don’t think the Europeans will ever understand that.”
Moving on to the domestic front, she recognises the burden of adult social care on county councils, and uses the example of Worcestershire.
“We are talking about unbelievable sums of money and of course Worcestershire is a county with an ageing population too,” she said.
“So we need to have a sensible discussion about this in a non-election year where we can get a consensus on this issue.”
On health, the Redditch MP admits she has been disappointed with the progress made by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.
“I have been pushing hard on health and there have been slippage with the Trust, someone outside their control, but I have been disappointed,” she said.
“Looking forward, there is greater provision for winter pressures, which is welcome and I am hopeful with the new leadership in place there can be some stability as they need to be responsible and accountable for the decisions they are taking.”