THE primary piece of legislation this week was the Media Bill, writes MP Anne Marie Morris.

One of the key pillars of this Bill is the repeal of Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013. 

Initially conceived in the aftermath of the Leveson inquiry, Section 40 posed significant challenges to the news industry by potentially obligating publishers to bear the legal costs of litigants against them, irrespective of the case’s outcome. 

This provision, which was never enforced, has been widely criticised by the national press as a detriment to investigative journalism. The government’s decision to remove this ‘legislative sword of Damocles’ from the statute books underscores its commitment to a free and vibrant press.

The recent deal between the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and the UK Government marks a significant stride towards reinforcing Northern Ireland’s integral role within the UK, ensuring ‘permanent’ unfettered access to the UK’s internal market. 

This agreement, necessitating amendments to the UK Internal Market Act, demonstrates a firm commitment to Northern Ireland’s economic alignment with the UK. By introducing measures to prevent Northern Ireland from being used as a backdoor into the Great Britain market, the deal addresses long-standing concerns and lays the groundwork for Northern Ireland to fully benefit from UK free trade agreements.

On Wednesday morning I met with the Chancellor. I proposed an increase in the VAT threshold to £120,000 to invigorate small businesses, alongside crucial VAT relief for our vital tourism and leisure sectors. 

Highlighting the urgent need for robust flood defences, I called for rural proofing in the funding formula to protect our communities from the escalating threat of flooding. In addressing the state of our roads, I urged for streamlined funding for road maintenance, emphasising efficiency in pothole repairs to maximise value for taxpayer money.

And finally, I pushed for the introduction of a levy on water companies to pay for a national campaign explaining how much water is used in a typical household, so we can better manage our consumption.

This week marks the 10th anniversary of the ferocious storm in Dawlish which devastated the main railway line in and out of the West Country. 

In response to the storm our community came together and pushed the Government to future proof this vital artery, connecting our region to the rest of the UK and so the South West Rail Resilience Programme was born. Network’s Rail’s Sea-wall project has seen innovative designs coupled with the latest in construction technology to deliver us a more resilient railway than ever before. Now that the government has agreed to fund Phase 5 of the programme, the final phase of the decade-long project will soon begin.

This week NHS Devon announced that 202 pharmacies in Devon have signed up to the Government’s new Pharmacy First approach. This will mean that pharmacists can treat more conditions without patients needing to see a GP or have a prescription first, helping people receive treatment sooner and freeing up vital GP appointments in our local surgeries. Individuals can now internet search “Onedevon Pharmacy First” to find a comprehensive list of participating pharmacies in Devon.

On Thursday I was delighted to visit the Teignmouth Arts Action Group’s exhibition, visit a felting class and to see the huge amount of work they have done to future proof the building. Totally brilliant. Much more still to do, so join me in sponsoring a roof tile at £2 a tile.

Then to Newton Abbot to see a wonderful display of old photographs capturing our rural heritage beautifully put on by the Arts Society of Teignbridge who have a fantastic programme of talks and events I would thoroughly recommend. Then to Teign School in Kingsteignton where I met the dedicated staff and engaging with sixth form students on all things political was great fun, I love a challenge!.

We have an upcoming surgery in Teignmouth on the 16th of February, this will be by appointment only. If you would like to book a surgery appointment or raise a specific issue, please call my office on 01626 368277 or email [email protected] to arrange an appointment