MPs Watch: Spring Budget, Kex Gill and Rwanda Bill updates
Last updated Mar 28, 2024

Every month the Stray Ferret tries to find out what our local MPs have been up to in their constituencies and in the House of Commons.

In March, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced the Spring Budget, which included plans to cut national insurance contributions by a further 2p, and North Yorkshire Council reported a rise in local hate crimes following the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Here’s what we know about analysing their online presence.

Andrew Jones, Harrogate and Knaresborough MP.

In Harrogate and Knaresborough, here is what found on Conservative Andrew Jones:

  • On March 11, Mr Jones attended Parliament’s Commonwealth 70th Anniversary Ceremony.
  • He also spoke in the House of Commons about the Spring Budget, which he said he “supported”, on March 12.
  • The Harrogate and Knaresborough Conservative Association received a £3,000 to donation from an individual on March 13.
  • On March 18, Mr Jones voted in favour of all ten amendments to the Safety of Rwanda Bill.
  • He also met members of the Community Security Trust, Antisemitism Policy Trust and Jewish Leadership Council to discuss the antisemitic incidents report.
  • On March 21, Mr Jones asked the Leader of the House for a debate to discuss the Prime Minister’s announcement about apprenticeships.

When we contacted Mr Jones for comment, his office sent details of March engagements.

These included meeting with business leaders in Harrogate town centre, as well as asking the Health Ministers about boosting dental capacity and the role of dental centres of excellence.

Mr Jones also held an AGM for the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Transport.

In addition, he asked transport ministers about ensuring train driver vacancies are filled and “appropriate training prioritised”.

Julian Smith, MP for Ripon and Skipton.

Julian Smith, MP for Ripon and Skipton.

In Ripon, here is what we found on Conservative Julian Smith:

  • Mr Smith made no spoken contributions in the Houses of Parliament in March.
  • He voted in favour of amendments one to eight of the Safety of Rwanda Bill.
  • On March 14, Mr Smith met with the chief executive of North Yorkshire Council about the latest closure of the A59 at Kex Gill.
  • He welcomed news of government funding into grassroots sports in Skipton and Ripon reaching nearly £300,000.

We contacted Julian Smith for comment, but his office directed us towards the press releases on his website.

They included visiting Ripon’s Prison and Police Museum to mark English Tourism Week.

Mr Smith welcomed a £60 million government package to help businesses create more apprenticeships, which would be delivered across his constituency.

He also supported news of more than £530,000 of funding to the Humber and North Yorkshire Integrated Care Service, which will go towards adult social care.

Mr Smith also visited Whittaker’s Gin, in Dacre, and signed a whisky cask.

Keir Mather, Selby and Ainsty MP.

Keir Mather, Selby and Ainsty MP.

In Selby and Ainsty, which includes parts of south Harrogate, here is what we found on Labour MP Keir Mather:

  • Mr Mather updated his Facebook page nearly 30 times this month. None of the updates related to areas of his constituency which fall in Harrogate.
  • On March 12, he spoke at his first Budget Resolutions debate in the House of Commons. He felt the Budget failed to grasp the “economic opportunities of our time”.
  • Mr Mather voted against all ten amendments to the Safety of Rwanda Bill.
  • On March 4, he also made a spoken contribution to a debate on farming.

When we contacted Mr Mather for comment, his office sent a list of some of his March highlights.

These included visiting Kirk Hammerton Primary School to speak to students about Parliament.

He also welcomed the Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper MP, to speak to constituents about rural crime.

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