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4th Jul, 2022

MP Matt Western writes for The Observer in Westminster Diary

EU elections took place this week. For many these elections focused on Brexit and I have made my position clear: we need a confirmatory vote if we are to resolve this impasse and begin reuniting the country.

However, we also had an unexpected opportunity to vote for progressive candidates that will work at the heart of, and engage constructively with, the European Union. What we need is to reform Europe from within; we don’t need a group of MEPs seeking to destabilise Europe at a time of such considerable global uncertainty.

Elsewhere, I was pleased to speak in another debate on the legalisation of medical cannabis. It is extraordinary that six months after Parliament voted in favour of its legal prescription, families are still unable to access these medicines. Many children, including Alfie Dingley, suffer intractable epilepsy and whole plant cannabis products are transformational for treating their conditions; likewise, for so many others who need pain control.

Many of you will know I’m a keen cyclist and that I try to cycle around the constituency as much as possible. However, last week a handful of newspapers put out a story about me claiming cycle mileage expenses for trips to meetings and events in the local area (as I do also for car mileages) – insinuating I was somehow in the wrong. Not only are cycle mileage expense claims considerably less than car mileage claims, they are totally legitimate and entirely within Parliamentary standards on expenses. In total, I claimed £8.60 (all of which goes to charity together with part of my salary).

By coincidence the story broke in the same week that the worst air quality in the UK was registered in South Leamington! My cycling is not just campaigning but practicing what I preach and leading by example. Fortunately, this story has already raised awareness about cycle to work schemes in this area and I have received a lot of support from constituents and fellow cyclists.

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