Like most people with a heart, I weep for the direct and indirect victims of the deliberate attacks in Israel. On Monday as Father of the House of Commons, I thanked the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition for the lead they have given.
I added that it was not the time to point out the faults of Benjamin Netanyahu. It was right to say the inexcusable terror attack on Israelis was intended to bring awful harm to the Palestinians.
Instead of quoting international leaders, I used the words of a senior constituent: ‘This is a harrowing time for Jews all over the world. There are about 16 million of us worldwide. Why can’t they leave us alone?’
If we pray for the peace of Jerusalem, we want to try to bring security both to the people of Israel and to the Palestinians in Gaza and to Arabs in Israel and in Jerusalem.
I am grateful to local Islamic and Jewish leaders for their general and detailed advice. The wider community and the Sussex police have the opportunity and the responsibility to protect and to sustain everyone in our shared community.
Changing thoughts, on Wednesday I shall have offered my O negative blood during this Black History week. NHS Blood and Transplant ask me to highlight the need for more Blood and Organ donors of Black heritage to meet the needs of others.
Sickle cell disorder can be life threatening, causing extreme pain, stroke, organ failure and blindness. In some cases it is only treatable with blood transfusions. A patient may need 100 donors a year. Half those transfusions are currently not the best possible match. About half of those with Black heritage have the blood types needed to treat patients with sickle cell disorder.
Black heritage patients in need of a transplant wait longer than other patients for a suitable match, especially for a kidney when a match is needed for organ and blood. Celebrate and recognise the contributions made by people of Black heritage to saving and improving lives within the donation and transplant community. This applies to those of Asian Heritage too.
At the weekend, many with backgrounds in the Indian subcontinent came together for the prestigious Curry Life Awards. Virginia and I were kindly invited. I presented many of the awards with the assistance of Lord Bilimoria, founder of Cobra Beer.
The SHAAN Indian Cuisine restaurant in Tarring Road near West Worthing station won the Best Restaurant Award. Syed Shamin Ahmed came to join me on stage with his great wife Lima, together with loyal customers! Their kitchen team is led by Chef Ana Miah, Mohammed Akikul and Fasal Khan, with Minhad helping in the front of house.
Because I was speaking in the Chamber on Tuesday about protecting the Goring Gap, I could not add to my submissions to the Planning Inspector hearing objections to yet more developers trying to work the system to overcome real proper reasons for Arun District Council and Worthing Borough Council refusing building all over the fields, vineyard and nursery along the A259 west of Worthing.
On Monday I put this question to the Levelling Up Secretary: ‘My Friend may know that in Durrington in north-west Worthing, more than 1,000 new homes have been built. Will he ask his inspectors and the Leader of the Opposition to recognise that Chatsmore Farm and Lansdowne Nursery should not be built on? We must have some green fields between one habitation and another.’
He replied: ‘His beautiful constituency, situated between the sea and areas of outstanding natural beauty has already seen significant development and we do need to ensure that settlements have the green belt around them protected.’ Let us work together for safer and happier lives.