Local MP Calls on Public to Vote for Staffordshire Regiment mascot as “Westminster Dog of the Year”

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

Watchman VChristopher Pincher, MP for Tamworth, is calling on local residents to support Staffordshire Regimental Mascot, Sgt Watchman V, in the Westminster Dog of the Year competition.

The 2016 competition will take place on September 8th in Parliament and will see the canine friends of MPs and peers battle it out to be named Westminster Dog of the Year – a very competitive, and political, event.

The competition is organised by the Kennel Club and the Dogs Trust and the winner is in part chosen by a public online vote. The competition celebrates the unique bond between man and dog – and aims to promote responsible dog ownership.  It is open to all dogs, regardless of breed, creed or “pawlitical” persuasion.

Sgt Watchman V has been nominated by Staffordshire MPs Amanda Milling, Jeremy Lefroy, Andrew Griffiths, Gavin Williamson, Bill Cash and Michael Fabricant, together with Mr Pincher.  The MPs are keen to see our local regimental mascot crowned Parliament’s top dog.

Mr Pincher said, “Watchman is a great Staffordshire icon and is the first military mascot to make it to the short list of the Westminster dog of the year competition.  I call on everyone in Staffordshire and especially Tamworth to vote for him in the competition and help him get the recognition he deserves.

“The Watchman mascot is a unique tradition and is owned by all the people of Staffordshire.  The tradition goes back generations. When a Watchman mascot dies, not only does another take his place, but the old mascot is buried with full military honours.  Something unheard of elsewhere in the country and is a matter of great pride to our local soldiers.  As a mascot of Staffordshire’s fighting men and women, this honour would be shared by them and the whole of the Staffordshire regimental family.”

The mascot tradition of the regiments of Staffordshire (which includes Staffordshire and the Black Country) stretches back to the 19th Century.

In 1882 The South Staffordshire Regiment was ordered to march with Lord Wolseley to the relief of General Gordon who was besieged in Khartoum.  They entrained at Cairo with their Staffordshire bull terrier, “Boxer”. Unfortunately Boxer leapt from the moving train and was seen lying unconscious or dead at the side of the track.  A few days later when the Regiment encamped at Assiut awaiting orders for the final phase of their march, a very thin and bedraggled dog staggered into their camp and collapsed. Boxer had walked for over 200 miles along the scorching desert railway track to rejoin his regiment.

From then on the tradition of having a Bull Terrier as a mascot continued with the battalions until after the Second World War. Since then the mascots have all been called Watchman, with one taking over from previous mascot.

Warrant Officer Greg Hedges, Handler of Watchman said, “It is a great honour to have Watchman recognised in such a prestigious competition. Watchman is a familiar sight at local parades and military events and we hope everyone can get behind him and support his nomination.  It would mean so much for the Staffordshire Regimental family.”

Adrian Burder, Chief Executive of Dogs Trust, explained, “The Westminster Dog of the Year competition is so much more than a canine beauty pageant. The competition is strictly apolitical; judges will be looking for the dog’s good deeds and devotion to their owner – rather than policies, opinions or ‘bottle’.”

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, continued, “The serious side of this competition is about MPs getting together with the Kennel Club and Dogs Trust to promote responsible dog ownership and develop a partnership on dog welfare issues.  The competition itself is light-hearted and an entertaining day out – not least because of the unusual criteria on which the dogs are judged!”

Click here to vote for Sgt Watchman V in the competition.

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Philip Hammond Appointed Chancellor

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

.Philip HammondGreat Britain’s new Prime Minister, Theresa May, has appointed the former Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Having been in Parliament since 1997, Mr Hammond is one of the Conservatives’ most experienced politicians and it is said that he has long wanted the role of chancellor.

Before becoming a politician, Mr Hammond had a career in business – in the medical equipment industry.

Mr Hammond studied philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford University and is seen as a “fiscal hawk”, which means he believes in prudent public finances.

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The Rt Hon Theresa May MP – the New Prime Minister of Great Britain

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

Prime Minister Theresa MayTheresa May mp has been appointed the United Kingdom’s second female Prime Minister in a private audience with the Queen at which she was invited to form a Government.

Mrs May kissed hands with the Queen in a simple procedure at Buckingham Palace which made her the 13th holder of the post of Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury during Elizabeth II’s reign.

Mrs May arrived at Buckingham Palace by ministerial car with husband Philip, having set off from the House of Commons only after receiving the signal that predecessor David Cameron’s resignation as Prime Minister had been accepted by the Queen and that he had advised the head of state to appoint the former Home Secretary in his place.

Theresa May joins Margaret as the second female Leader of the Conservative Party to become the UK’s Prime Minister, a feet not matched by any other UK political party.  Mrs May is also the 9th Conservative Party Leader to hold the post of Prime Minister during Elizabeth II’s reign.

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Message from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP – Leader of the Conservative Party

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Theresa May MPI am honoured and humbled to have been chosen by the Conservative Party to become its leader.

I would like to pay tribute to the other candidates during the election campaign, and I would like to pay tribute to Andrea Leadsom for the dignity that she has shown today.

During this campaign, my case has been based on three things.

First, the need for strong, proven leadership to steer us through what will be difficult and uncertain economic and political times.  The need of course to negotiate the best deal for Britain in leaving the EU and to forge a new role for ourselves in the world.

Brexit means Brexit and we’re going to make a success of it.

Second, we need to unite our country.

And third, we need a strong, new, and positive vision for the future of our country. A vision of a country that works not for the privileged few but works for every one of us.

Because we’re going to give people more control over their lives. That’s how together we will build a better Britain.

Thank you,

Theresa May
Leader of the Conservative Party

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Local MP Welcomes Government Progress on Fairer School Funding

Saturday, June 18th, 2016

Chris Pincher MPTamworth’s MP, Christopher Pincher, has welcomed the progress, which has been made in implementing the Government’s pledge for fairer funding for schools across the country.

The Government is currently at the consultation stage of the process to redesigning the funding formula.  There are two stages to the consultation and the Government has completed the first stage of the consultation, with the second stage of consultation about to commence.

Mr Pincher said, “I am pleased to say that the Government has completed the first of two stages of consultation in the process of introducing fairer funding for schools.  This first stage has discussed the basic foundations and the method of implementing the fairer funding formula.

“This means that we are one step closer to seeing fairer funding for Staffordshire and Tamworth.  If we get it right, that will be of huge benefit to Tamworth.  I will keep local schools up to date so they know what to expect and what we can all do to encourage a better set of school funding rules.

“This something a number of us at Westminster have been pressing for several years.  We will keep at it.”

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Local MEP’s Report Says all Farmers Must Benefit from Technological Advances

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016
Anthea McIntyre MEP

Anthea McIntyre MEP

Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, Anthea McIntyre, has secured European Parliament approval for a report calling for the greater use of technology in agriculture.

It calls for sustained investment in research and help to ensure new ideas and techniques are commercialised.  Innovative breeding to develop disease resistant crops and precision farming are among the advances that should be made available to all farmers, whether beef or arable, large or small, conventional or organic.

Miss McIntyre, MEP for the West Midlands, said, “Feeding a growing population while preserving the environment is one of the biggest challenges facing our world.  I believe harnessing technology is the only way to square this circle.

“We need to develop technological solutions not only to increase production but to improve the means of distribution and to tackle food waste.  We must raise awareness and understanding of new advances among both farmers and the general public.

“For example, agriculture accounts for 70 per cent of the world’s fresh water use but this can be significantly reduced by the use of precision farming techniques.”

The report stresses that EU regulations must not act as a barrier to innovation and urges a partnership between academia, industry, breeders, the agro-chemicals sector, farmers and food manufacturers to ensure European agriculture does not fall behind its international competitors.

Miss McIntyre added, “We must all work together to ensure we have the best research and that we translate research into practice.  From lab to farm to fork.”

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Pincher Speaks out on Queen’s Speech

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

Chris Pincher MPChristopher Pincher, MP for Tamworth, last week contributed to a debate on the Economy and Work following the Queen’s Speech in the House of Commons.

He welcomed measures for delivering security for working people, increasing life chances for the most disadvantaged, and strengthening our national security.

The Queen’s Speech he believes will improve lives across the country, and contains measures that will continue progress in delivering the Conservative Party’s manifesto commitments.  Since 2010, the Government has been working to do this, and we have seen:

  • 31 million people given a tax cut
  • 58 million people in work, up 2.5 million since 2010
  • Over 2.6 million new apprenticeships started across England
  • 9 million workers directly benefiting from the introduction of the National Living Wage
  • Over 753,000 new homes provided

In his speech, Mr Pincher praised the success of West Midlands and Tamworth firms in driving the local economy forward.  He paid tribute to local employers Jaguar Land Rover, BMW, Invotech and Alcon.

He also praised the Government on their work with the Help to Buy scheme, which has been seminal in getting people on to the property ladder.  However, he called for more homes that people want to live in the West Midlands and urged the Chancellor to encourage smaller SMEs and small developers into the supply chain.

Crucially, he also used the opportunity to call for further work to improve and upgrade the A5 running through Tamworth.  Mr Pincher believes Wall Island must be redeveloped and the Stonydelph junction near the M42 re-drawn to stop traffic backlogs.

Mr Pincher said, “This was a Queen’s Speech for aspirational people who want to do the right thing and get on.  That is why we made gains in the local elections in my constituency just a few weeks ago.  In a town that had nearly 30 Labour councillors 16 years ago, there are now just seven.  After the general election, Jon Cruddas was quite right to write in his, I hope, non-ironic document “Labour’s Future”, Labour lost because voters didn’t believe it.”

Following the debate Mr Pincher added, “We’ve seen people’s taxes cut, wages boosted, more homes built, and jobs and apprenticeships created.  New Bills will help people save money, buy a home, get fast broadband access, as well tackle some of the deepest social problems in our country, and strengthen our national security.  All of this will mean a better and brighter future for Tamworth.”

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Sue Arnold Re-Appointed as Deputy PCC

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

Matthew Ellis and Sue ArnoldLocal Conservative Sue Arnold is looking forward to continuing her work as Staffordshire’s Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner following her re-appointment on Monday 23 May.

Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis proposed the re-appointment, which was confirmed following a meeting of the Police and Crime Panel.

Mrs Arnold, former Conservative councillor for Clifton Campville on Lichfield District Council, was appointed Deputy PCC in November 2012 and has spearheaded work on behalf of the PCC to provide a revolutionary new approach to giving victims more effective, tailored support.

She has also been instrumental in the successful introduction of the Police Cadets service across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent and led campaigns to tackle female genital mutilation, modern slavery, domestic abuse and business crime.

Mr Ellis said, “Sue has brought real drive to her role over the past three and a half years and a new approach to all of the areas I have asked her to lead on.

“She has led the development of the Police Cadets on my behalf which has enhanced the lives of many young people across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.”

Mrs Arnold said, “I’m really looking forward to continuing the important work we have started with the challenge now to take the PCC ‘working model’ on to its next stage of development.

“Personally, I feel very positive about its future direction, in particular as I see how PCC’s can make that crucial difference to local communities.  Much work is ahead of us and I will relish the challenge to serve the people of Staffordshire and help produce results that deliver a safer place to live and work.”

Police and Crime Panel Chairman Frank Chapman said, “The Panel recognise the valuable contribution that Mrs Arnold has made to the work of the Police and Crime Commissioner, especially in the area of domestic abuse, and are pleased to confirm her re-appointment.”

For more information on the new approach to victims through the Staffordshire Victim Gateway, click here.

Businesses are invited to become Patrons or Sponsors to help fund uniforms and equipment for the Cadets.  For more details on Cadets and the patronage scheme click here.

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Local Conservative Appointed New Chairman of Lichfield District

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Cllr David SalterLocal Conservative and District Councillor for Shenstone, David Salter, has been appointed the new Chairman of Lichfield District Council.

Cllr Salter was sworn in at Lichfield District Council’s Annual Council meeting last night, Tuesday 17 May.

As the Chairman, Councillor Salter will represent the district at a range of events that take place across the district and region, including any royal visits, community events and formal openings.  He will also chair council meetings throughout the year.

Cllr David Salter, said, “I am honoured to take on this role and I am looking forward to representing Lichfield District at the many events and functions I will attend over the year.  It will be interesting to meet people who work to improve the district, and to find out more about their work.”

Cllr Salter replaces Cllr Norma Bacon after a year in the role.

Cllr Bacon said, “It’s been such a brilliant, if not busy, year as Chairman.  I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting a huge range of people and finding out so much about what is going on across the district.

“From opening new play areas and shops, to showing fellow civics around Lichfield’s heritage attractions and the National Memorial Arboretum, there have been plenty of highlights.”

You can keep up to date with Cllr Salter throughout his year as Chairman by reading the Chairman’s online blog.

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Matthew Ellis Calls for Changes to the Voting System for Future PCC Elections

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

Matthew Ellis 04Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Ellis, has called for a change in the voting system for future PCC elections.

Mr Ellis, who was re-elected with a majority of 8,487, spoke out after 4,065 ballot papers were spoilt in the recent election held across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

He said, “My preference would be that we go for a traditional ‘first past the post’; it’s clear, it’s tidy.  A number of people vote for a candidate, that candidate gets in.

“The current system might seem fairer but if we go through the rigmarole of having a massive proportion of people utterly confused then as far as I’m concerned it defeats the object.”

In the five PCC elections held across the West Midlands region, 46,277 ballot papers were spoilt and the election for the West Midlands Commissioner had 28,346 spoilt papers, the largest by far.

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