Constituency matters… a weekly column by the Member of Parliament for Folkestone and Hythe, Damian Collins OBE published on 30 May 2024

*This is my last Westminster column before general election, written before parliament was dissolved.

The General Election

The General Election has now been called for the 4th July and this will be by final column as your Member of Parliament before polling day. I am as proud to serve as your MP now as I was when I was first elected in May 2010.

Looking back over 14-years

Over the past fourteen years it is amazing to look back on everything that we have achieved together. New sea defences along the Romney Marsh coast from the Dymchurch redoubt to Jurys Gap, new schools like The Marsh Academy in New Romney, and The Turner Free School in Folkestone. We’ve seen new businesses open and created the infrastructure to help more of them succeed. I will continue to be a resolute champion for the nuclear sector as a source of low carbon energy, and good quality employment. We must secure the next generation of nuclear power for Dungeness, and I believe that new technologies like small and advanced modular nuclear reactors give us the best chance yet to deliver this.

Stopping the boats

One of the most controversial issues we have addressed in parliament over the last year, has been the passing of the new legislation on illegal immigration, including creating the power to send asylum seekers who enter the country on small boats to Rwanda, where their cases will be processed. The first departures to Rwanda will take place in July, but only if the Conservative Party is re-elected to power. We know that the most effective way to stop the small boat crossings is to make it clear that people who arrive in Kent in that way will not be given the right to stay. The returns agreement now in place with Albania, a safe European country, means that there has been a 90% reduction in people from that country making illegal channel crossings to the UK. Stopping the boats is now just about protecting our borders but also saving lives. Otherwise more people are likely to die attempting to reach the UK in this way.


People work hard throughout their lives for a secure retirement, and we should do all we can to support them. In government we’ve protected the triple lock for the state pension, meaning that it will always increase in line with average prices, wages, or by 2.5%, whichever is the greater. In April 2024 the government increased the state pension by 8.5%, meaning that pensioners will receive up to £900 more a year. Since 2010 the basic state pension has increased by over £3,736. However, we are now planning to go even further with our pledge to introduce Triple Lock Plus after the general election. This is a guarantee that the basic state pension will always be below the threshold for paying income tax, which will deliver a further saving for pensioners in the next parliament.

I look forward to seeing as many readers as possible during the election campaign, and in case of any emergencies you may have, I and my team in my parliamentary office will still be available to help.

By Ed

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