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The West Country at Westminster - December

Ian Axton sits down with Marcus Fysh, the Conservative MP for Yeovil, Baroness Jan Royall, a Labour peer, and Steve Crowther, UKIP party chairman, for this month's The West Country at Westminster.

On a week that has seen one man in court for threatening to bomb the home of a West Country MP, Ian discusses the ups and downs of social media with his guests.

Also, what next for UKIP after what can only be described as a disastrous by-election result.

And, can David Cameron really stop European migrants claiming benefits here in the UK?

MP responds to Trump's call for ban on Muslims

Donald Trump Credit: PA

A West Country MP has responded in her own way to calls by the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for a ban on Muslims entering the US, in the wake of the deadly California shootings.

Mr Trump said a shutdown should remain until the US authorities "can figure out" Muslim attitudes to the US. The White House quickly responded that the comments were against US values and national security interests.

And Sarah Wollaston, who represents Totnes, tweeted this response for the UK.


Junior doctor's strike: operations and appointments cancelled in Devon and Cornwall

Hundreds of appointments and operations have been cancelled despite the junior doctor's strike being called off. Credit: PA Images

Hundreds of patients in Devon and Cornwal have had operations and appointments cancelled despite a strike by junior doctors being called off at the last minute.

While a temporary agreement reached with the government means the planned three-day strike - which would have started at 8am today - has been called off, many procedures have been cancelled.

  • The Royal Cornwall NHS Trust said it had been necessary to postpone 80 outpatient appointments of the normal 2000 a day and 7 routine operations.
  • Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust said as part of the contingency plan for the industrial action 29 planned operations and 210 outpatient appointments were postponed.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told MPs on Monday that NHS England had estimated that up to 20,000 patients may have operations cancelled across all three days of planned action.

These included around 1,500 cataract operations, 900 skin lesion removals, 630 hip and knee operations, 400 spine operations, 250 gall bladder removals and nearly 300 tonsil and grommets operations.

Totnes MP Sarah Wollaston calls for labels on drinks to show how many teaspoons of sugar they contain

Credit: PA Images

Dr. Sarah Wollaston, the Conservative MP for Totnes who chairs the Health Select Committee in Parliament, has called on the Government to ensure labels on drinks state how many teaspoons of sugar they contain.

She was among several MPs calling for the Government to introduce a sugar tax on soft drinks as part of a package of measures to reduce sugar intake after a petition from celebrity chef Jamie Oliver came before Parliament.

Oliver's petition, which has received almost 152,000 signatures, notes £1 billion could be raised every year by charging an extra 7p in tax on a regular-sized can of soft drink which contains added sugar.

The petitioners argue this money should be protected and used to develop NHS and school strategies to deal with childhood obesity and diet-related diseases.

Jamie Oliver's petition on sugary drinks was discussed at the Health Select Committee. Credit: PA Images

Dr. Wollaston, who called for a package of measures to tackle the issues, said: "I think Jamie Oliver in his presentation to us made a very compelling case for let's just put the teaspoons on the drinks."

She added: "What you need to have is clear information which says does this contain 12, 13, six and... I think it helps industry if people can clearly see they've made an effort to make a lower sugar product but let's allow that within clear labelling."

Earlier Dr Wollaston also denied a sugar tax on soft drinks is "regressive and hits the poor", saying: "Look at who is already hit by this problem - the burden of childhood obesity falls on the poorest children in our community and what we know from experience in Mexico is that a 10% levy on sugary drinks has led to a 6% reduction in consumption, but perhaps more importantly it's led to a 9% reduction in consumption among the heaviest users and that's the point here."

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