The Remembrance Service timing changed at East Preston so I laid wreaths later at Kingston Gorse and at East Preston. At Worthing three times I was with Veteran Mike, Michael Hawkes of Lancing in Tim Loughton’s constituency. I congratulate the Town Hall staff and the Veterans’ Associations for organising the moving ceremonies. The padre David Hill spoke movingly; the Salvation Army band led the music.
On Thursday as parliamentary warden, I met the Queen at St Margaret’s church, Westminster Abbey after she had opened the Field of Remembrance. In earlier years, we had welcomed Prince Philip and later Prince Henry, as Harry was known.
Amongst remembrances and reshuffles, we are moved and we grieve for horrific events in Israel, for the damage to lives in Gaza and for the continuing active fighting in Ukraine.
At home, the King’s Speech promised legislation on Leasehold Reform and protections for renters. I want to discuss fire safety with the minister. I hope to meet BBC apprentices In the Commons as part of their induction programme into current affairs and news reporting.
In the constituency, I will be meeting senior representatives and staff at the Royal Mail Sorting Office. Local residents are deeply concerned about the gaps in deliveries. There are pressures on the service, before the expected Christmas traffic increases.
My constituency visits included multiple places where there was unnecessary surface flooding, especially around East Preston. We need a high-level meeting of the Environment Agency, the County Council, Southern Water and the districts and boroughs.
It is one thing to look down from Bury Hill into the fields of water through the Arun Valley with the train snaking through on its raised track. It is different to see the lake at the junction of North Lane and Roundstone Drive. I admired the emergency teams who were out in unpleasant conditions to clear drains and outfalls.
On Monday I held Sir Bobby Charlton in mind. He was a gentleman, off and on the pitch. Believe it or not, we once played in the same team at Old Trafford. The Westminster Wobblers were against a team of north western broadcasters. I was one of three captains for the MPs and Peers. Labour and the Lib Dem conspired to place me as left wing when my natural place was right back.
Bobby was our guest centre half. He called to me before placing a pass for me to run on to and set off. He watched for a short time before asking me to return the pass; he rightly thought he could do better with the ball.
He ranks alongside other sports heroes, including the swimmers Sharron Davies and Duncan Goodhew. Each had been involved in voluntary and public service. I am honoured to have known them, to have seen them in action.
I will attend the Institute of Advanced Motorists ROADSMART awards. Reducing road deaths by two thirds was a worthwhile achievement. The same reduction again should be possible, without repressive legislation.
For business, I maintain support for Ethnic Minority Owners and I hope to be at a roundtable on the Government’s Ethnic Discussion Paper. At a schools meeting, I spoke of the ambition to build a country where skin colour matters no more than colour of eyes or hair. I called for us to build a nation when people of every faith or of none can live together with mutual support and security.
At a meeting of former government ministers, I heard of the poppy sellers at Victoria station as the peace marchers came through the station. Unlike reports at a few other places, there was no trouble. Poppies were exchanged for contributions to the Poppy Appeal.
Some want to create division; I seek unity. Some duck differences: I think it is possible and proper to discuss disagreement. At the meeting with school students, we explored different perspectives. Helping people to think is better than a battle of closed minds.