Rt Hon Sir Mike Penning MP – Update from Parliament November 2018

In October the House settles down to the routine of Parliamentary life after the conference season.

Much of my work on behalf of constituents is focused on their personal situations and problems they have in relation to the local councils or health services for example.

Quite often, though, their situation and the issues they raise leads on to a national campaign. This is how I first got involved in the campaign for medical cannabis to be legally separated from recreational use of cannabis. I am co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Prescribed Use of Medical Cannabis and was involved in the high-profile Alfie Dingley case and I took him and his family to meet the Prime Minister in Downing Street.

It is great news, therefore, that the Government has made a statement announcing the legalisation of cannabis-based products for medicinal use.

The new regulations came into force on 1 November.

I very much commend Home Secretary Sajid Javid for making this momentous and bold decision. It has reversed decades of backward thinking on this important issue by successive governments.

There is still much detailed work to be done. One of the problems is that even with the high-profile cases of the summer such as case of Alfie Dingley and his severe epilepsy, there has been a very disappointing reaction from a large number of consultants and health Trusts, with many refusing to even submit applications to the interim medical cannabis expert panel.

Constituents who have contacted me are desperate for access to these drugs and now there is no legal barrier preventing their consultants from prescribing them.

This announcement puts the ball firmly in the court of the health professionals and health authorities to approach this new and exciting field of UK medicine with an open mind.

I am also leading, or very involved with, several other campaigns that are “going national” as it were. A campaign to get the NHS fund Orkambi (a complex drug to help people with cystic fibrosis) and a campaign to help victims of the Primodos scandal, are prime examples.

I’ve also recently tabled two Early Day Motions; one to raise the profile of a campaign to raise awareness and recognition of the pathological demand avoidance profile of autism and another calling for the labelling of all meat that has been pre-stunned before slaughter so that consumers who do not need their meat prepared in accordance with a specific religious belief can be assured that their meat was slaughtered as humanely as possible. Both of these campaigns are direct results of constituents’ letters to me.

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