I'D like to update readers of the Journal about a number of issues, both local and national.

It is a truism that all politics is local, which is not necessarily true, but it is true to say people tend to care more about local issues, or national issues that have a specific impact on local communities.

I recently gave a speech to Leigh Rotary about local issues. Among items raised by those in attendance after my speech was concern regarding Wigan Council proposing a massive increase in car parking charges in the town centre.

Local market traders, retailers, businesses and the Spinning Gate Shopping Centre have all raised concerns.

How are the businesses in the town centre meant to compete with places like Tesco on the other side of the Spinning Jenny Way, where no such massive increase in costs will apply to their customers?

I would suggest Wigan Council might do better to engage with local businesses, market traders and the Spinning Gate Shopping Centre to come up with a better scheme which commands the support of local retailers and their customers.

Traders in the town centre have long wanted a short period of free parking for town centre shoppers, similar to other schemes already in place in other towns, but so far this has fallen on deaf ears at Wigan Council.

The danger is that Wigan Council drive further businesses out of the town centre with these increased costs, working against the tens of millions of regeneration funding I have helped to secure from the Government, in an entirely counterproductive manner.

Last week we also saw the Rwanda Bill come back to the Commons, twice in one week, as Labour peers in the House of Lords continue to obstruct the democratic process.

This means Labour have now voted against measures to stop small boats crossing the channel more than 100 times.

Hopefully by the time you read this article the Rwanda Bill will have been passed, but at the time of writing it is expected Labour peers in the Lords will attempt to reject it at least twice more.

It is extremely frustrating to see this Labour obstructionism continue. The public wishes to see the issue of illegal immigration dealt with.

Finally, I spoke last week in the Commons on the need to bring tobacco and vapes under a licensing scheme similar to that already used for alcohol, in order to drive out those trading in fake and smuggled tobacco and vape products, which is often a way of people smugglers and drug gangs laundering their ill-gotten gains.

I am hopeful the government will bolster the anti-smoking legislation currently going through Parliament to that end, and I will update constituents in due course as to the outcome.