Karl McCartney: The unseen difference an MP can make for Lincoln

This story is over

November has been one of those months where as a Member of Parliament you feel you are really making a difference, locally and across the country.

Last week, the Ministry of Justice announced they were consulting on a new crackdown on false whiplash claims which I have been leading the campaign on in Parliament ever since I was elected and held a parliamentary debate on in 2015.

It cannot be right that the number of road accidents in the UK has been falling and cars are becoming far safer, yet the number of whiplash claims has been increasing. How can that be without some of crooked collusion?

So it is about time that those who falsely claim to be victims of whiplash injuries (often by faking and deliberately creating accidents) who are then in cahoots with personal injury lawyers are brought to heel.

They have essentially been extorting money from insurance companies and thereby pushing up premiums for law abiding drivers – a situation that has gone on for far too long.

It of course can also affect the individual insurance premiums of those who are falsely accused.

We will also no longer have those law firms putting pressure on legitimate victims to exaggerate their claims and we may even end the endless telephone calls stating that you have been a car accident when you haven’t!

I would want to go a few steps further in two ways.

Firstly, those making false insurance vehicle claims that reach the courts must be prosecuted and actively pursued by the relevant police force. They are thumbing their nose at all of us who live within the law and should be prosecuted for it.

Secondly, we need to increase the fines for those driving while uninsured and if they are involved in an accident, their punishment must be far more severe than it is now.

As this is a consultation and changes will be required, it will still be a while until concrete action takes effect, but we are moving in the right direction at last.

Last week was also the first meeting of what is known as the Brexit Select Committee which is a committee of backbenchers who are scrutinising the government’s progress on leaving the European Union.

This was a matter I covered last month and I am proud to be a member of this committee. I will be keeping readers up to date with progress as the months go by, but please be assured I will be not only ensuring the government delivers Brexit but also make sure the committee is not used as a means of delaying or stopping the process.

This includes making sure the committee is not used as a vehicle to drive anti-Brexit headlines in The Guardian or the BBC.

At a local level, there has been more good news for Lincoln recently. Unemployment continues to fall (45% since 2010) and we have secured more direct services to Lincoln for the Christmas Market.

Also on Friday, the official opening of the Lincoln East-West Link Road took place. This type of infrastructure project is so vital in unclogging the roads of the city centre especially for those moving around the city but do not want to go directly into the centre.

It is also the type of project where a Member of Parliament can make a real difference.

For some unknown reason, the previous Labour Member of Parliament for Lincoln, despite being a Transport Minister herself, was unable to obtain the funding – even though there are clear environmental and economic benefits especially for a growing thriving city like Lincoln.

By constantly knocking on the right doors in Whitehall and raising my voice in Westminster, I was able to help the county council obtain the funding they needed to make it happen.

That is an important and often unseen role that a Member of Parliament can make – and one I will never cease in undertaking.