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David Johnston MP - Newsletter, September 2020

on Thu, 10/09/2020 - 8:00pm

I hope you, your friends and your family continue to be safe and well.  

As parliament doesn’t sit during August, this newsletter is largely about some of the visits I made across the constituency last month.  

My week off in the Lake District at the end of August didn’t go as well as planned – I crocked my knee on the first day and am now on crutches! I at least got to do more reading than when parliament is sitting – more on that below. 

As ever, I can be contacted via [email protected] 

Best wishes, 


In the constituency

I was pleased to visit a number of innovative local businesses such as Rosemor and Aquobex, whose automatic escalator cleaning machine and flooding solution products respectively attract custom from around the world. Other businesses I visited ranged from Bob’s Butchers to the Oxford Yurt (an impressive glamping business) and Didcot Glass & Glazing. Several of our 85 pubs were on my itineraries, including the Hart of Harwell.  

I was pleased to make my first visit to Westmill Wind and Solar Farm and even more so to hear the following week that they received a Government grant of £55,000 through the Getting Britain Building Fund for a new visitor’s centre that will enable 6 times the number of visitors they currently receive.

I attended a poignant service to mark VJ Day at the Church of St Peter and St Paul – well done to everyone involved in putting it together. Three days earlier I attended a Wantage Wednesday, although my visit wasn’t that well-timed – it was the night of a storm that caused a temporary power-cut! 

Three Questions

On my Facebook page I have started doing ‘three questions with…’ (click) to help promote local organisations. Here you can see three questions with Farmer Gow’s, Fitness Space, Children Heard and Seen and Emma’s Vintage Style.

My reading list!

You may have seen that MPs are often asked by journalists what books they’ll be reading over the summer. I think it is supposed to provide a deep insight into the psyches of our politicians; I’m not sure if it really does that, but I was certainly pleased to get back to reading, which seemed to disappear (along with exercise) as soon as I entered politics!

First up was Anarchy, a book by William Dalrymple about how the East India Company took control of India in the 18th Century, a very enjoyable book. Next was Hidden Hand, on how the Chinese Communist Party attempts to influence the actions of countries around the world, followed by The Gatekeeper, by Kate Fall, about her time as David Cameron’s Deputy Chief of Staff.

From there I went to John Humphrys’ book, A Day Like Today, about his career as a journalist and time on the Today Programme – very well-written if with slightly less gossip than you might hope for! – and then The Nickel Boys, the only novel this summer, based on a scandal at a reform school in Florida that emerged recently. Finally, there was Dictatorland by Paul Kenyon, which details the leadership of dictators in various African countries from Zimbabwe to Eritrea. For what it’s worth, Dictatorland and Anarchy were my two favourites. 

In the media

I took part in various interviews with Talk Radio and LBC News about the Government’s plans for schools to return and am pleased that the return seems to have been largely successful so far.  

My fortnightly columns for the Herald can also be read <here>.