Chris Mole's letter from New Zealand

I am writing this from Queenstown, New Zealand where my Parliamentary Select Committee is gathering evidence to support our current inquiries. The schedule of 26 meetings is gruelling, and we have had just one day off to adjust to the 12 hour time difference, but this evening I managed to catch up with the local news through e-copies of local papers.

I am writing this from Queenstown, New Zealand where my Parliamentary Select Committee is gathering evidence to support our current inquiries. The schedule of 26 meetings is gruelling, and we have had just one day off to adjust to the 12 hour time difference, but this evening I managed to catch up with the local news through e-copies of local papers.

I noted concern is growing again about parking at Heath Road Hospital. Despite promises from NHS managers their estates management plan will provide a solution, nothing has yet happened. We now need to see some concrete action.

I also couldn't help but notice my Conservative opponent's pathetic attack on the Select Committee trip. This demonstrates a worrying lack of understanding about how Parliament functions.

Select Committees are Parliament's way of scrutinising the Government and holding the Civil Service to account. An important part of making that challenge effective is to see for ourselves how things work on the ground. However, I notice there was less media interest in our trips to Stoke-on-Trent, Birmingham and County Durham.

The purpose of the current trip reflects the many interests of the committee - electoral practices in Australia and New Zealand, planning for high-density housing in Singapore and how San Francisco funds its local government. The only times we are not in meetings are travelling days and Sundays. The first and last stops are essentially extended refuelling stops.

Taxpayers have paid for this trip and have a right to know exactly what it's been spent on. As it is, the trip has been misrepresented for political ends.

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Conservative MPs on the committee have not boycotted this trip, but made themselves ineligible because most had turned up to so few committee meetings in Westminster, and were not up to speed with the detail of the issues.

Anyone who wishes to learn exactly what work I do on the Select Committee, and how much it costs, can contact my office in Westminster. The ODPM Select Committee is the hardest working, and produces more reports than any other each year.

Paul West makes much of a meeting with Strategic Health Authority managers organised by a Suffolk Conservative MP. I would just point out that I had my meeting last month and have already taken issues up with Health ministers.

People should know the truth, which in this case has been the first casualty. While I've been working hard for Britain and Ipswich, the Conservatives and the Daily Mail are childishly playing at politics.

Yours sincerely

Chris Mole MP

Contact:-

House of Commons

London

SW1A 0AA

0207 2194158

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