I was thrilled to welcome the Prime Minister and Home Secretary to Leigh-on-Sea to showcase our amazing city of Southend.
When I spoke during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday 10th January, I updated the House on the exciting discovery of ‘highly prized’ razor and manila clam beds in Southend’s waters. I invited Rishi Sunak to come and see them for himself and he accepted straight away.
The PM enjoyed a lively Q&A session with members of the public in The Hatch cafe in Old Leigh, discussing, among other topics, how to rejuvenate the British fishing industry.
Sir David Amess was very much in our thoughts as the PM paid a touching tribute to Sir David and his ongoing legacy.
I then walked the PM and Home Secretary to the boatyard with Paul Gilson, the fisherman who helped discover the existence of the shellfish bed in the estuary. Mr Gilson describes the bed of manila and razor clams which is said to measure four miles long and half-a-mile wide, as a ‘lifeline for Leigh’.
The PM and the Home Secretary got to try for themselves, some delicious, freshly caught seafood at Osborne’s family-run café on the seafront. The PM was very impressed not just by the seafood, but by the commercial opportunities for Leigh-on-Sea, West Mersey and Whitstable, of establishing a new clam fishery.
He has agreed to put me in direct contact with his fisheries policy expert in No.10 to ensure that we maximise this opportunity for British fishermen. Rishi Sunak is very keen to build on the opportunities that we have to construct our fishery from the bottom up, to make it sustainable and to make it work for our own local fishermen.
I then accompanied the Home Secretary on a visit to Southend Police Station where we joined a police patrol around the City and learned how they are successfully tackling crime and anti-social behaviour across Southend as a whole. Good news for us all.
Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex said: “It was great to welcome the Home Secretary to Southend to meet our local officers and see the excellent work they are doing to get crime down.”