Robert's Weekly Swindon Advertiser Article - 6th July 2016

Last Friday marked the 100th anniversary since the Battle of the Somme broke out during the First World War.

The battle saw nearly 60,000 British soldiers killed or injured on the first day alone and more than 420,000 British and Empire soldiers killed during the entire course of the battle.

As the nation fell silent to honour the moment when the battle began, I took part in a remembrance service at the Swindon Cenotaph. According to local historian, Mark Sutton about 2,000 people from in and around Swindon fought in the Battle of the Somme.

I have a keen interest in military history and have seen many of the Somme battlefields and cemeteries, including the magnificent Thiepval Memorial To The Missing, which I visited with two former Mayors of Swindon some years ago. More than 100 soldiers from Swindon are commemorated on the Commonwealth War Graves memorial at Thiepval, which sits over the Somme battlefield in Northern France.

I am pleased that our community has come together in reflection once again.

Here in Swindon, we have a great tradition of support for our Armed Forces. Serving members of our Armed Forces, plus a significant number of veterans, live locally and a few weeks ago I was delighted to open the festivities for Swindon’s Armed Forces Day, where I was glad to meet them and their families.

There are few that will not have had members who served in our armed forces.

In Westminster, my focus, along with my fellow Conservative MPs, has been on the Conservative Leadership contest.

I have voted for Theresa May. I have worked closely with her on the Investigatory Powers Bill in recent months and think that she has the qualities necessary in order to be our Prime Minister.

 She is tried, tested and more than capable to take the tough decisions that the job requires.

 In my role as Solicitor General, I was recently filmed for the BBC Series Claimed And Shamed, discussing the issue of contempt in court.

You may recall from my column a few weeks back that I have recently taken a case through the High Court, which saw two jurors being found guilty of contempt of court and handed suspended sentences. In one case, a criminal trial collapsed at a cost of £80,000.

Contempt of court involves serious wrongdoing. Any action which interferes with the administration of justice is a serious breach.

The Government will continue to work with the legal system to ensure that the right to a trial without prejudice remains protected.

The Fight Lyme Now campaign is a cause that I have supported for many years alongside my parliamentary colleagues Andrew Stephenson, Alex Chalk and Simon Hughes.

I was concerned to hear from campaigners that there is striking evidence to suggest a large and growing number of British Lyme disease sufferers are going undiagnosed and untreated, or misdiagnosed and inappropriately treated.

To find out as much information as possible, the Fight Lyme Now campaign has created an online survey which has so far been completed by more than 1,000 British Lyme Disease sufferers. If you, or someone you know, has Lyme Disease, please take the time to answer a few simple questions and help the Fight Lyme Now campaign bring about positive change for British Lyme disease sufferers. You can find the survey at

I am looking forward to watching Wales as they take on Portugal in the Semi Finals of the Euros. I will be backing them all the way!