Diary

The forecast was sun all day, so I gambled and took the motorbike. My first appointment at Wyvern special school was cancelled. I am trying with the wonderful head Sux Hoxey and the governors to see if we can persuade the powers that be to pay for a nurse at the school. The special needs have become more challenging and Sue feels they need to support and reassurance of a nurse to deal with the more complex issues. So, after popping into the Association office to sign cards, I headed to Portland to visit the YOI. This time I managed to remember some ID, so was allowed in to see the top class governor Russ Trent. We were meeting a team from a company which makes wooden homes, which are classed as caravans. The company wants to employ prisoners at the YOI to build some of these homes, which are affordably and easy to erect. Russ is keen to rehabilitate his prisoners and fulfil the Government's proposals to make them work for their living. This is a good idea and one I shall pursue with the prisons' minister when I get back to the Commons. After our meeting, Russ and I caught up on various matters and I was encouraged to hear him say that he had a lot of time for Chris Grayling, the new secretary of state. The wind was howling over the island and motorbiking was interesting as gusts tore over Chesil beach. I headed back down the hill and over to Crossways for my next appointment. Here I was met by the dynamic businessman Jez Hermer. A former Royal Marine, and with experience in Afghanistan, he has started up a new business designing and producing specialist vehicles for the military, police and commercial use. His small company, which he runs with his brother, won the contract to provide the police in Northern Ireland with more than 60 armoured Landrovers. They never thought they'd win the contract but, after working right over Christmas two years ago, they were amazed when they did. They then had to raise the money and manufacture these vehicles in record time, which they did. And now the result of all this hard work can be seen on the streets of Northern Ireland right now. The vehicles are specialiast and designed to work in riots and take an awful lot of punishment. I was most impressed and shall be asking the defence minister to come and visit. Jez has a small team, one of whom was in the Royal Marines with him. They've also taken on a young apprentice, who's studying at Weymouth College. Having spent all day on my motorbike, I was frozen by the time I got home, but it had been a most interesting an educational day.