PM agrees to meet region's MPs over new industry strategy
- Credit: PA
The prime minister has agreed to meet East Anglian MPs to help turn the region into a leader for new industries.
At Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday, Waveney MP Peter Aldous said East Anglia was a mix of opportunity and deprivation, and that a new strategy was needed to realise its possibilities.
Mr Aldous said: “In East Anglia, there are on the one hand tremendous opportunities in such sectors as low carbon energy and sustainable fishing.
“And yet, on the other hand, [there are] significant challenges with deep pockets of deprivation - particularly in coastal communities.
“I acknowledge investment has been made but there is a concern locally that the government has yet to comprehend the scale of the opportunity that our region has to be a global exemplar in new and revitalised industries and in doing so bring transformative and long-term benefits to local people.”
Mr Aldous asked prime minister Boris Johnson to meet him and other East Anglian MPs to put in place a strategy.
Mr Johnson agreed and said: “I also want to say I understand the massive opportunity that exists and the potential that exists in those coastal communities and that is why we have invested £120m in five new town deals, including for Lowestoft.”
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Mr Johnson added that the secretary of state for levelling up would take Mr Aldous’ point on board as the government brings forward levelling up plans next year.
Mr Aldous was the only Norfolk and Waveney MP to ask a question on Wednesday.
Keir Starmer, Labour party leader, suggested Mr Johnson uses the Christmas break to consider his position, branding him “the worst possible prime minister at the worst possible time".
Mr Johnson has had a turbulent few weeks, with accusations of parties in Downing Street while Covid restrictions were in place last year. He suffered a significant rebellion of his own MPs on Tuesday night, with 99 voting against Covid protection measures.
The only Norfolk MP to vote against the measures, which included vaccine passports for venues in England and mandatory vaccination for NHS staff, was Norwich South Labour MP, Clive Lewis.