CAROLINE ANSELL: Donald debate Trumped in my view by trains chaos

Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell outside Houses of Parliament SUS-150722-141636001
Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell outside Houses of Parliament SUS-150722-141636001

There was a lot of talk earlier in the week about the US presidential hopeful Donald Trump, and whether we should we ban him from the UK.

It is of course nonsense to consider banning him.

He may be a divisive character, with controversial views, but this is the UK; we can handle the likes of him!

Remember Nick Griffin of the BNP?

I remember the controversy when he appeared on Question Time.

Many said he shouldn’t be afforded the publicity. But the facts were that he had been elected as an MEP, and to deny his voice would be against everything we stand for in this country.

Free speech is vital in an open, free and mature democracy.

In the event his performance was woeful, and he was effectively defeated by debate and argument - and importantly not by censorship.

Mr Trump is not in the same bracket at Nick Griffin, but the principle applies - let him come I say.

But to have Parliamentary time devoted to debating whether or not he should be allowed to is ridiculous.

On the trains;

My biggest mailbag in the last couple of weeks has been the train service to and from Eastbourne, and particularly to the capital.

Like many others, trains I have used have been delayed this week, diverted and there have been fewer carriages than normal.

It’s a nightmare for local people who rely on the service.

Earlier in the week I and other MPs from East Sussex had a meeting with the rail minister Claire Perry, and it’s clear there are no quick fixes - MPs from all over East Sussex, and for many years have been calling for improvements.

We had a constructive meeting, but one where it was clear there was a level of anger from my colleagues about how bad services are.

We were told by the minister that there would be a demonstrative improvement in services to London Bridge and Victoria following the improvements over Christmas, but we all made it clear that only extra rolling stock, more engines and better signalling across the board would improve performance and punctuality on the lines.

I will be meeting with the minister again in the coming weeks to talk exclusively about the services out of Eastbourne and what can be done to improve reliability, punctuality, overcrowding and the woefully long journey times into London.

I understand that these are long term infrastructure goals and there can be no quick fix, but it’s my job as this town’s MP to apply pressure where it is needed to get things done and I will continue to do so because, as I have said before, the rail service from our town is, at times, appalling.

I am as always interested in your thoughts, and you can contact me at office@caroline