Banbury candidate interviews: Victoria Prentis – Conservative


Victoria wants people to think about Rishi Sunak’s sensible, practical and honest government

Victoria Prentis has been Banbury’s MP since 2015, under the old constituency boundaries.   She lives near Deddington and became a lawyer 30 years ago.   Most recently she has served in Rishi Sunak’s government as the Attorney General.

Mrs Prentis says that the Horton General Hospital was, in many ways, why she got into politics, with her first public speech to save the then under threat Maternity service at the age of seven.

Over the years the future of a number of services at Banbury’s hospital has been in question and maternity was downgraded to a midwifery led service, but Mrs Prentis says there is good news.

“Every time I go there it feels like I am opening a new piece of equipment.   There’s much more scanning going on; a lot of chemotherapy; a fantastic new endoscopy unit.   You would be amazed how much investment has gone into the Horton in the last few years.

“The problem for me is maternity.   It’s something I care personally about very deeply.   We very sadly had a child that died soon after he was born 24 years ago.   I was very ill having him and since that moment I have felt really strongly about both maternal and baby safety – and also just kindness.   When you have a baby you do not want to be in the middle of labour schlepping all the way to Oxford.   It’s something I have campaigned on and I will continue to campaign on.”

Mrs Prentis feels that our area has taken a lot of new development in recent years and now is the time think about a different approach.

“Now is the time not to build in enormous quantities locally, but to consolidate what we’ve got.

“I do think … there is a great deal of scope for building up and a great deal of scope for renovating what is in Banbury town centre.   The way we use town centres has changed over the years.  I spend a lot of my shopping time on my own at home with a computer or a phone.   We have to accept that, and to a certain extent embrace that, and use our town centres for recreation, eating, going to the fabulous new cinema, going along the canal side and for small independent shops.”

Support for small businesses is something Mrs Prentis feels the government has provided well in recent years.   She said: “The government has done a great deal to try and help small businesses with business rates – very much so during the pandemic – and also since then when we understand that business costs have gone up enormously.

“It is important that we can help businesses to stay in the town centre – particularly smaller independent shops – but we do have to start from a place that we cannot assume that the world is as it was 50 years ago and that people will shop for bread, milk and meat every day.”

In her role as Attorney General Mrs Prentis has worked on the government’s Rwanda policy – one of the Conservative steps to reduce immigration numbers.   She suspects it is already acting as a deterrent to reduce illegal migration, although the timing of the General Election means no hard evidence is available.

Mrs Prentis said: “The professional lawyer in me is dying to fight this through the courts to know that it’s lawful and to see what happens.”  

She concluded hoping people would think carefully about what’s happened in the last year and a half.

“I am very proud to be a member of Rishi Sunak’s government.   The last 20 months of that government have been sensible and practical and honest and I’m very proud to stand on that record.

“I hope he will be given a chance to serve again because he’s made some good calls which have left our economy in a much better place.  I think the next few years for our country are going to be great.”

You can listen to the full interview here:

Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

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