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Welcome to my first newsletter of 2020. Thank you to everyone who helped re-elect me as Ashford’s MP in the General Election. It’s a great privilege to represent you in the House of Commons.

There is a completely different mood in Westminster now, as we have a Government with a large majority, and therefore able to move on with its programme. Now Brexit has happened there is a huge agenda on health, education, the environment and other important areas to pursue.

Ashford Jobs Fair 2020

I will be holding my annual Jobs Fair on Friday, 21st February 2020, from 10am - 1pm at Ashford College. The fair is open to all and is a free event. 

There will be a wide-range of opportunities on the day, such as full and part time jobs, apprenticeships and further education. So whether you want a change in your career or your first job please do come along. 

A huge thank you to HR GO for sponsoring this event. 

Sign up here or RSVP below -

Around Ashford

After much prodding from me and other Kent MPs, Highways England has finally removed the barriers on the M20 between Junctions 8 and 9, to the great relief of all of us who use the motorway regularly.

There is still a need for a suitable emergency lorry park away from the motorway, and this challenge is still to be faced.

High Speed One debate


On Tuesday 21st January 2020, I led a parliamentary debate on High Speed One (HS1) rolling stock to discuss the need for new rolling stock on the High Speed line.

Since HS1 started under Southeastern in 2009, it has carried more than 100 million passengers. The passenger satisfaction over that period has been higher than 90%. It has been calculated that it has delivered a £1 billion boost to the Kent tourism economy, and that it indirectly supports up to 72,000 jobs. Clearly, one of the main reasons for that is the speed of the service. The journey from Ashford to London is now 38 minutes. It used to be routinely 81 minutes, so that is a significant difference.

The problem now is the service has become too popular for its own good. Overcrowding is a serious and growing problem. The operator has tried to compensate by changing the number of carriages on the most popular peak-time services and improving the repairs and maintenance programme so that more of the rolling stock is available at any one time, but this is not enough.

Essentially we need more rolling stock on the line. Passenger numbers have grown by an average of 11.7% every year since 2010, and there is no evidence that this increase in demand is going to slow down in the near future. Indeed with major housing developments planned not only in Ashford but in other places along the line, we can expect the opposite.

The need for extra train services, and longer trains more often, is clear. On current projections 31 high speed services a day will be full to capacity by 2025, meaning that no passenger will be able to board even to stand all the way. Another 25 a day will have standing room only.  

I called this debate so Ministers first of all acknowledge that this problem is real, and then  commit to devising a solution which will allow passengers to continue to enjoy the benefits of high-speed rail.  We need decisions very soon.

Watch the debate

Litter Angels competition 2020

Thanks to Willesborough, Mersham, John Wesley and Beaver Green schools for taking part in the Litter Angels competition, to devise a poster which puts people off even thinking about dropping litter.

These are the prize-winners from Mersham Primary School.
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Copyright © 2020 Rt Hon Damian Green MP, All rights reserved.

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Rt Hon Damian Green MP
House of Commons
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Rt Hon Damian Green MP · House of Commons · London, SW1A 0AA · United Kingdom

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