Chloe Smith: ‘I hope we can achieve something together so that Kerri did not die in vain’

Chloe Smith MP backing Kerri's Campaign.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Chloe Smith MP backing Kerri's Campaign.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

I'm pleased the Prime Minister got the deal in Brussels that safeguards the rights of Europeans living in Norwich, and Brits living in Europe, that settles our bills and that guarantees no hard border in Northern Ireland.

This deal means we can get on to trade talks, and that's extremely important to Norwich because it will bring more jobs.

In Parliament we have also been working hard to protect animals. We will be creating new law to ensure animal abusers are jailed for up to five years, and go beyond the provisions of EU law to make sure animal sentience is even better reflected in UK law.

We are banning microbeads and taking action on single-use plastics that harm our marine life – great news for our environment and a positive sign of Britain's global leadership. We are expanding the Blue Belt to protect our 150,000 rare seabirds. We are backing CCTV in slaughterhouses and taking action to ban ivory.

Meanwhile I met guide dogs who are campaigning with their trainers for better pavement awareness, something I know is important to constituents in Norwich.

I was also really proud of some school news this month from international sources. English pupils have soared up international league tables for reading ability. We are now among the top countries in the world.

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This is great because more children are gaining the skills they need to get on in later life. It has happened because of the changes the Conservatives have made to the way reading is taught in primary schools, and is also thanks to the hard work of teachers.

Overall, there are now 5,000 more pupils than in 2010 in Norwich North who are attending a good or outstanding school. It's doubly important because the evidence shows that while reading has improved for pupils from all backgrounds, the low-performing are gaining most rapidly. And the gap between disadvantaged pupils and their more affluent peers is reducing by age 11 and age 16. That really matters – and I will carry on working to support this as a local MP through the Opportunity Area project which I help to lead.

I went out and about on Small Business Saturday – 2nd December – to meet the hardworking people who run small firms around north Norwich. It's a good way to support the local economy. Thank you to every small business person who is working so hard this month – when we think of the way our economy is improving, it's your success and your apprentices and your contribution to our city that we talk about.

I want to pay special tribute to the Evening News' campaign for Kerri McAuley, to help local charity Leeway do even more against domestic abuse. Kerri was my constituent and was brutally murdered by her partner.

The abuser could have been stopped sooner and I am working in Parliament to help the government learn valuable lessons from her death as it drafts new legislation that will tackle domestic abuse.

I recently met the Home Office Minister for Domestic Abuse, in Westminster, and she has agreed to come to Norwich in January to meet the key people who have expertise in the fight against domestic abuse. It is a tribute to local campaigners including Kerri's family that she will come to hear from experience in Norwich.

I am grateful to Kerri's family for their courage in sharing her story, and I hope we can achieve something together so that Kerri did not die in vain. It is good that the government is taking action and I am looking forward to supporting the new Bill in Parliament.

If you are experiencing any form of abuse, speak out. You can contact Norfolk charity Leeway here: Their 24 hour helpline for free, confidential advice is 0300 561 0077. If you are in immediate danger call 999.

I wish all readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.