16-11-17 – 1918

To lay a wreath at the annual Remembrance Sunday service in Maidstone is one of the great honours that I experience within my role as your MP. It is humbling to commemorate the sacrifices made by our forebears, whilst standing as one with representatives from our community and the military personnel who continue to protect us today.

At a time when there is such great threat within our world, Remembrance Sunday has never been more important. It is essential that we pause to remember the horrors of war and truly appreciate the unprecedented period of relative peace we are presently experiencing in this country.

That is also why, for the last three years, we have been commemorating the centenary of the First World War, and it was my privilege to be the Minister responsible for the programme back in 2014. You may recall a moving moment at the launch of the events where people across the UK turned out their lights, bringing the country to darkness, as the war commenced 100 years previously.

Now we approach 2018 and our focus rightly turns toward the centennial of the end of that terrible conflict, the Armistice next November.

This week I heard about a project known as the 'Battle's Over – A Nation's Tribute'. The highlight will see communities across Great Britain ringing church bells and lighting beacons to mark the end of the war. The beacons will symbolise the light of hope that emerged from the darkness of WWI, in contrast with the dimming of the lights four years previously.

There's more about that particular project and how to get involved here, but I would also encourage people to plan other ways to mark next year's crucial anniversary; a moment of hope and victory in the face of darkness and adversity. For more information on the centenary and stories from the war, visit the Government's dedicated page.

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Helen's column is published weekly in the Kent Messenger. Please note the print version may differ from the content here.


MP Calls for Swift Building of Lorry Park

Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant has leant her support to a letter seeking assurances from the Secretary of State for Transport that the proposed M20 lorry park will be built swiftly.

The letter to Chris Grayling, signed by 11 MPs from across Kent, sets out in stark detail the economic cost of gridlock on Kent's roads. It reinforces the message that, in 2015, Operation Stack cost the Kent economy £46 million. It also suggests that the danger of further gridlock is ever increasing with the number of lorries on Kent's roads projected to double by 2025.

The MPs contend that there is an urgent need for a lorry park to keep Kent's roads clear for the long term and secure the free passage of lorries into the UK. They also believe that the park would provide a sustainable solution to the fly parking of lorries which continues to blight haulage roots across the County.

In response to the letter, the Secretary of State has agreed to meet with Helen and other Kent MPs at the end of October, to discuss the construction of the lorry park.

Helen said, 'Like many Kentish residents, I remember the summer of 2015 for operation stack and the enormous disruption, 

frustration and economic cost it caused. As we prepare to leave the European Union it is essential that we have the strategic infrastructure we require to thrive as a trading nation.

The Lorry Park would mean that one of the key routes onto our nation's road network remains gridlock free and ensure that the people of Maidstone and the Weald are no longer confronted with the Op. Stack nightmare.'

Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke, who was the lead signatory on the letter, said: "It's vital to make sure we are ready on day one for Brexit, deal or no deal. We can't wait until the last moment to make sure we have resilient roads and strong borders.

"That's why the Department for Transport needs to act now to make sure that the long-suffering residents of Kent don't have to put up with Operation Stack happening in the future."


16 NOV 2017

The Social Mobility Foundation

Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant has thrown her support behind a project which aims to drive up social mobility. The Aspiring Professionals Programme (APP) is run completely free of charge by the Social Mobility Foundation for Year 12 students...


09 NOV 2017

MPs' plea to halt further homes from the South East

Local MPs Helen Grant and Tracey Crouch have joined forces to write to the Prime Minister to ask her to look again at the proposal to build more homes in the South East of England. The Government's proposals will mean that Maidstone will have to find space...


07 NOV 2017

MPs' plea to halt further homes from the South East

Local MPs Helen Grant and Tracey Crouch have joined forces to write to the Prime Minister to ask her to look again at the proposal to build more homes in the South East of England. The Government's proposals will mean that Maidstone will have to find space...



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With very best wishes

HELEN GRANT MP

Helen's column

16 NOV 2017

1918

Kent Messenger Column – 16-11-17  To lay a wreath at the annual Remembrance Sunday service in Maidstone is one of the great honours that I experience within my role as your MP. It is humbling to...


09 NOV 2017

Leeds-Langley relief road public meeting

Kent Messenger Column - 09-11-17  My neighbouring colleague Helen Whately and I held a public meeting in early 2016 at the Maidstone Studios to facilitate an open discussion about the Maidstone...


02 NOV 2017

Stay Warm this Winter

Kent Messenger Column – 02-11-17  There was certainly the feel of seasonal change in the air this week; as the clocks turned back, the nights drew in and the winter chill descended. As we know,...