Diary - meeting a charity for blind veterans

Another day of hustings for the PM's job and an interesting meeting with a charity called Blind Veterans UK. A run began the day and then into the Commons to meet a group of soldiers from Bovington in my constituency. When they did not appear, we made some check calls to find their bus had broken down and were not coming. Hopefully, they'll have more success next time. Later in the morning, I went to Jubilee Hall to meet the charity Blind Veterans UK. Being a former soldier, and having worked with a number of veterans in my constituency, I wanted to find out what this charity did. Well, I am very pleased I attended. I met and received a full briefing from Dr Renata Gomes, who is head of research and innovation. In short, the charity is there for all veterans, of whatever age, to help and treat anything to do with sight. Apparently, veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq have been affected by munitions, which are much more effective today but tend to potentially damage sight when they go off near a soldier's face. That's perhaps obvious, but the materials from exploding munitions are far more dangerous today. The charity also deals with macular degeneration and traumatic brain injury, which can affect sight. I met a former member of the REME, who had been shot in the face, and his tale really was humbling, his gratitude for the charity's support even more so. Then at 1330 I met Ian Strong, who runs Portland Engineering, and his business associate Robin Hall. They were promoting a new all-electrical drive system for small HGVs, like bin lorries. The electric axle drive system is pure battery-powered, making the vehicle much lighter as it doesn't have to cope with diesel too. I am more than happy to see what sort of funding is available to help my constituent in developing a prototype. All very innovative and interesting. At 1515 the hustings started again, this time under the auspices of the '22 Committee. Michael Gove was first up, following by Jeremy Hunt. I then had to attend a private meeting at 1630, which lasted an hour. There are more hustings tomorrow.