New Norwich South MP makes his maiden speech in the Commons

Matthew SparkesNew Norwich South MP Simon Wright used his maiden Commons speech to urge investment in faster train services to London, the A11 dualling and free university education.Matthew Sparkes

New Norwich South MP Simon Wright used his maiden Commons speech to urge investment in faster train services to London, the A11 dualling and free university education.

The Liberal Democrat, who beat Labour's Charles Clarke in May's general election, said it was an 'honour and a privilege' to represent Norwich South and it was a 'great city to live and work in'.

But he also warned that, like the rest of Britain, Norwich faces challenges.

One issue he raised was the need to improve the Norwich/London rail service which had been 'under-invested in over many decades'.


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'I also want to see the soonest possible completion of the dualling of the A11, a key road link connecting Norwich to London,' he added.

'It's been estimated that for every pound required to complete the dualling, the local economy would benefit by �5. It's a very strong and necessary investment which would give Norwich and Norfolk a much needed boost.'

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Mr Wright gave his enthusiastic backing to the city's bid for Capital of Culture in 2013, saying Norwich had a 'fantastic cultural heritage'.

He proposed an early day motion that ministers in the house also back the bid.

'It would mean so much to the city of Norwich and the wider region, not just in terms of cultural growth but also the economic and tourism boost that a successful bid would provide,' he said.

The former secondary school maths teacher also spoke on education and said he was 'committed to seeing that schools get the best deal possible'.

'I'm delighted that school funding will be protected and that a new pupil premium will provide greater support for children from disadvantaged backgrounds,' he said.

He went on to state the case for free higher education and said that, like many students, he was still paying off his student debt.

The UK was in no position to afford free university education at the moment, he admitted, but hoped it could at least do something about addressing student debt.

Mr Wright, who lives in Eaton, also paid tribute to Charles Clarke and said that he had 'brought immense intellectual rigour to debates of policy, both locally and nationally'.

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