Sunny outlook for some right royal fun

THE WEATHER is feeling distinctly summery and the royal wedding is fast approaching – no wonder communities up and down the country are turning their attention to organising street parties.

In fact, some 4,000 parties – including one set to be held in Downing Street – have already been arranged and there’s still time to get cracking if it’s something you’d like to do.

David Cameron issued some cautionary words for local authorities who stifle people’s enthusiasm with demands for insurance, licences and the like. He told them not to interfere or get in the way – ‘let people get on and have fun’!

I’m looking forward to seeing photos of people’s celebrations in the County Times – let’s hope the weather is kind to us.

Tomorrow (Friday) is shaping up to be a hectic day of local appointments for me. I’m starting nice and early with a budget debrief breakfast over in Crawley. By now everyone’s had time to digest George Osborne’s announcements so it should generate an interesting debate.

After several meetings with local people keen to pass on their views or ask for advice, I’m having a quick lunch with the editor of this paper. It’s something we do every so often. Obviously we discuss local issues but I’m also very keen to chat with someone who, as editor-in-chief of several papers, is a significant local employer and truly immersed in the local business scene.

Next stop is Horsham’s Salvation Army. I was delighted to be asked to address their Friendship Group on the role of an MP and my take on local issues. Again, I’m looking forward to an interesting discussion.

After several more meetings with local groups, I’ll wrap up the day with an advice surgery at my Horsham office.

My last surgery was in Crawley Down and so this session will be slightly busier than normal – lots of Horsham people grabbing the opportunity of making a local appointment.

Talking of surgeries, over the years many people have come to see me to discuss the difficulties they’ve faced with the adoption process in this country. Just recently we announced important reforms, aimed at securing more children loving homes.

To skim briefly over what’s a complex issue, our new guidance says local authorities shouldn’t prevent children from joining families of a different cultural or ethnic background; older children and those with disabilities should not be overlooked; prospective parents shouldn’t be turned away on the basis of race, age or social background and local authorities should make more use of voluntary adoption agencies – they’re often the real experts.

As always, I’d be interested in hearing readers’ views on this, or indeed, any other issue.

FRANCIS MAUDE

MP for Horsham