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Derbyshire distillery Feb 2019

Chesterfield is the place to be for gin enthusiasts

Chesterfield is proving the place to be for gin enthusiasts, as Derbyshire Distillery expand due to a high demand for their crafted spirits. Their success story was shared with local MP Toby Perkins, who was impressed to learn about their expansion plans.

Experienced brewer David Hemstock has joined the increasingly popular gin market by producing a range of premium quality products using both state of the art and traditional copper alembic stills. The distillery is the first commercial distillery in Chesterfield and was set up in 2018. The products use the best local and International ingredients and fresh, cool Derbyshire water.

Toby said “I am always pleased to learn about local business successes and Derbyshire Distillery have captured the demand for discerning gin drinkers with a master blend and a couple of well flavoured editions. I wish them every success for their expansion and I am delighted to see that Chesterfield is well and truly on the map as a source of top quality drink brands.”

 More information about Derbyshire Distillery can be found at



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Toby with team from Royal Primary Care

Toby Perkins in discussion with GPs from Royal Primary Care

Toby with team from Royal Primary Care

The GP shortage and continued issues accessing a GP appointment were amongst topics discussed at a recent update meeting Chesterfield MP held with bosses at Chesterfield practice Royal Primary Care.

Royal Primary Care is a part of Chesterfield Royal Hospital and they stepped in when crisis struck Holywell Medical Group handed back their GP contracts on four sites in 2015. The group now comprises of three sites in Chesterfield, which are located in Grangewood, Inkersall and Staveley, and two in Clay Cross.

The practice team gave a full appraisal of the current situation to Toby. The practice are affected by the national recruitment shortfall of GPs, particularly in deprived areas, where there is often the greatest need.

This shortfall of clinical or non-clinical staff is keenly felt by patients demanding a same-day service. However, the practice were keen to point out the improvements they have made and are continually working on, to improve primary medical care for patients.

Toby said “The Royal Primary Care are clearly working hard to determine where the greatest areas of need are and are actively recruiting to fill the gaps in their provision. Sadly, like many other areas of the country, there is a shortage of permanent GPs to fill the gaps to meet health demand. Government funding is not provided to the areas with the greatest need and this is an issue I will be taking up in parliament. Funding is determined by population but not by levels of deprivation or affluence despite the long established link between poverty and poor health.”

They also discussed the issue of providing state backed indemnity for GPs who commit themselves to permanent jobs in the NHS. Toby said: “We need more GPs to commit to permanent contracts. The Government is investigating providing state backed indemnity to GPs, this may be an opportunity to incentivise more GPs to join up with practices full time which is crucial for the stability and economy of the NHS.”

Recent statistics show that up to 90% of all calls to the practices are answered and up to 80% within 10 minutes. Toby said “Being able to get in touch with your GP practice to make an appointment or enquiry should be straightforward, especially when you are unwell, but patient demand is high at certain times and the practice still estimate that they have 51 fewer appointment slots than they need. I was reassured that the practice are aware of the issues and have plans in place to try and address the shortfall.”

The improvements were recognised by the most recent CQC inspection which had upgraded the previous ‘Inadequate’ grading to ‘Requires Improvement’, and as a result, took Royal Primary Care out of ‘special measures’. They were rated ‘good’ in the Safe and Effective domains. The previous CQC report stated that “The providers had significantly strengthened their leadership and management and had taken a proactive team approach to making and sustaining improvements in quality.”

The next inspection is expected to take place in 2019 and they are continuing to work towards being rated as ‘good’.

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PMQs Question 30th January


My son, is one of the thousands of people to have their life chances transformed by Chesterfield College.

‘The College’s funding, like FE colleges around the country, has dropped 30% in real terms since 2010.

Further Education funding is in crisis. Why is the education of young people who go to FE Colleges worth so little to this Government?

The funding crisis that is engulfing Further Education establishments and is impacting on staff and course availability at Chesterfield College was the subject of a question at the latest set of Prime Minister’s Questions, thanks to Chesterfield MP, Toby Perkins.

Toby asked Prime Minister Theresa May why the education of young people who go to FE Colleges was worth so little to the Government? In response the Prime Minister denied the charge though she was unable to provide alternative figures after Mr Perkins informed her that the College had seen a real terms cut in funding of 30% since the Conservative Government came to power in 2010.

The question opened Wednesday’s Prime Minister’s Questions, and it came just 2 weeks after a major Parliamentary debate on Further Education funding that saw MPs from all parties raise concerns about Further Education funding.

The debate was brought to parliament following a 70,000 strong petition bemoaning the scale of Further Education cuts.

Speaking after his question to the PM, Toby Perkins said: “Further Education is crucial to Britain and the College is crucial to Chesterfield. FE Colleges offer an alternative University route to 6th Form which suit some young people’s learning style, it also offers a second chance to some who don’t thrive at school, and with Apprenticeships and adult education it can help people at all stages of life. The funding cuts are brutal and they are costing jobs and threatening courses, and it’s time that Government realised the role that FE plays and supported it properly.”

Following the question Toby was interviewed by ITV Calendar who are producing a piece centred on college funding at Chesterfield College which is expected to air on Wednesday night’s show.


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Holocaust Memorial Day Signed Message 1

Toby Perkins MP signs Holocaust Educational Trust Book of Commitment

Last week Toby signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment, in doing so pledging his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who were murdered during the Holocaust as well as paying tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people today.

Holocaust Memorial Day is marked annually on 27th January, the anniversary of the liberation of the former Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.

In the lead up to and on Holocaust Memorial Day, thousands of commemorative events will be arranged by schools, faith groups and community organisations across the country, remembering all the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. The theme for this year’s commemorations is ‘Torn from Home’.

After signing the Book of Commitment, Toby Perkins MP commented:

“Holocaust Memorial Day is an important opportunity for people from Chesterfield and across the country to reflect on the tragic events of the Holocaust. As the Holocaust moves from living history, to ‘just’ history, it becomes ever more important that we take the time to remember the victims and also pay tribute to the survivors. I would encourage my constituents to show their support for such an important day.”

Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said:

“The Holocaust did not start in the gas chambers but with hate filled words. Our mission is to educate young people from every background about the Holocaust and its contemporary relevance. We are very grateful to Toby for signing the Book of Commitment, signalling a continued commitment to remembering the victims of the Holocaust as well as challenging antisemitism, prejudice and bigotry in all its forms.”

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love our colleges photo 1

Celebrating Midlands Colleges at the Association of Colleges reception and #loveourcolleges debate

The importance of further education and its role in supporting the life chances of Chesterfield students was the theme of a speech in Parliament by Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins.

Toby was the Parliamentary speaker at a reception which focused on Celebrating Midlands Colleges and had approximately 200 attendees including students, governors and principals from more than 50 further education, sixth form and specialist colleges in the Midlands.

The event was organised in partnership with the Skills and Education Group, and hosted by the Baroness Garden, the reception was a unique opportunity for Midlands parliamentarians, business leaders and stakeholders to connect around the skills, productivity and growth agendas and mark the important work colleges do in supporting our local businesses to grow and communities to thrive.

The event highlighted that a new Youth Opportunity Index, published by the Learning and Work Institute, shows young people in the East Midlands have varying chances of success depending on where they live.

Young people living in the region’s cities have worse education and employment opportunities that those in the counties. Leicester, Nottingham and Derby are all in the bottom 20 of the 150 local education authorities included in the Index, while the counties perform much better.

Following this Toby attended the Westminster Hall debate on #loveourcolleges in response to a petition with over 70,000 signatures on college funding. Toby spoke about the great job that Chesterfield College do and the funding pressures that could lead to more redundancies and a narrower curriculum.

The speech can be found here:

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Photo Fibromyalgia

Toby Perkins named Fibromyalgia Champion

On the 15th of January Toby held a Westminster Hall debate on the recognition of Fibromyalgia as a disability.

The debate follows a petition set up by Chesterfield Constituent Adrienne Lakin who set up a petition on which has over 119,000 signatures, the petition can be found here:

In January last year Toby held a Parliamentary Reception on Fibromyalgia, the reception raised awareness of fibromyalgia with MP’s and the support that those with the condition need.

Following this Toby presented a petition to the house in April 2018, the Hansard for this petition can be found here:

This January’s Westminster Hall debate was extremely constructive. Numerous MPs came and subsequently raised their extreme concerns at both the lack of awareness of Fibromyalgia and the difficulties faced by those suffering from the condition.

The Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, acknowledged that there were many difficulties faced by those with the condition, which need to be addressed. She assured those present that actions would be taken to improve the quality of lives of sufferers – such as promoting greater awareness amongst doctors for diagnosis, and amongst employers.

After the debate Toby said “Instead of being a debate where we just identified problems – I think we also managed to identify many potential solutions”.

The debate has led to an invite to a roundtable and summit with the Minister for Disabled people, Health and Work, the Minister responsible for the main disability benefits and Ministers from the relevant departments.

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Toby Perkins MP

Chesterfield MP Joins Samaritans in Parliament to Support Brew Monday

An annual event held by Samaritans on 21st January to promote their “Brew Monday” initiative and encourage local people to reach out to anyone who might be lonely was attended by Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins.

In what’s now an annual fixture for the charity, Samaritans turned ‘Blue Monday’ – often described in the media as ‘the most difficult day of the year’ – on its head by renaming it ‘Brew Monday’ and celebrating that great tradition of getting together for a cup of tea.


Loneliness is a huge problem in the UK – nearly 1 in 5 people say they are always or often lonely. With over 100,000 people living in Chesterfield alone, many thousands of local Cestrefeldians will most likely be experiencing loneliness.

Toby said “Brew Monday is asking people to do something really simple and practical to help others: take time for a cuppa and a chat with anyone who may be going through a tough time.”


“I’m delighted to support Samaritans in this initiative. Let’s make 2019 the year when we all take just a little more time to think about how we can reach out to people who might be struggling in Chesterfield.


25 MPs, including Toby, joined Samaritans in the House of Commons to support the idea of connecting people and creating a domino effect to reduce loneliness, one of the main reasons people contact Samaritans.

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Chesterfield Arms Website Article Pic

Toby Perkins MP hosts the Parliamentary Pub of the Year Awards

 The inaugural Parliamentary Pub of the Year awards have seen a Cardiff pub, The Four Elms, nominated by Jo Stevens MP, beat off competition from 13 other entrants from across Britain to claim the title.

The awards were held on the 15th of January in the Terrace Marquee in the House of Commons and attended by dozens of MPs, pub industry leaders and supporters of the 14 entrants.

The event, which was the brainchild of the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Pubs, Toby Perkins, saw nominations from 85 MP’s from the North of Scotland down to Cornwall.

The entrants were whittled down to 14 National finalists as a result of video submissions from the entrants, the finalists videos can be found here:

At the event MPs and industry bosses were given a handheld device to vote for their choice to claim the prestigious title. With over 30% of the votes, the Four Elms, pipped runner up Kash 22 from Frodsham, Cheshire, nominated by Mike Amesbury MP and third placed The Crown, from Hastings, nominated by Amber Rudd MP.

Toby’s nomination the Chesterfield Arms in Chesterfield which was selected by the panel of judges as the East Midlands regional winner. Emma Clarke and Josh Clarke from the pub travelled down to London for the awards ceremony.

The Newbold Road hostelry was chosen by the judged for its strong commitment to charitable giving, importance to the community and its excellent range of real ales that has resulted in it winning the CAMRA Pub of the Season award.

Toby said: “The interest in the awards, the quality of video entries and the positive coverage of the great and diverse range of pubs in Britain has exceeded all our expectations. The event was a great success, and I’d like to thank Rebecca Pickering from my office, David Wilson of the British Beer & Pub Association and all the MPs and pubs who entered for making it such a success.

Already, people are thinking about how to go one stage further and improve their entries next year, and I hope the awards will go from strength to strength”

To learn more about the Parliamentary Pub of the Year awards click here:


The 14 nominated finalists were:

Winner: The Four Elms (Jo Stevens Cardiff Central) Wales

Runner Up: Kash 22 (Mike Amesbury, Weaver Vale) North West

Third: The Crown, (Amber Rudd, Hastings & Rye) South East

Yorkshire Winner: Grayston Unity (Holly Lynch MP, Halifax)

North East Winner: The Stapylton Arms (Grahame Morris MP, Easington)

West Midlands Winner: The Robin Hood (Eddie Hughes MP, Walsall North)

East Regional Winner: Kings Arms (Liz Truss MP, South West Norfolk)

East Midlands Winner: Chesterfield Arms (Toby Perkins MP, Chesterfield)

South West Winner: The Westbrook (Claire Perry MP, Devizes)

London Winner: The Alexandra (Stephen Hammond MP, Wimbledon)

Scotland Winner: Brass & Granite (Alan Brown MP, Kilmarnock and Loudoun)

Scotland Runner Up: The Criterion (Stephen Gethins MP, North East Fife)

Wales Runner Up: The Fat Boar Wrecsam (Ian Lucas MP, Wrexham)

North West Runner Up: The Victoria Walshaw (James Frith MP, Bury North)

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I am Toby Perkins, Labour's Member of Parliament for Chesterfield. If you would like to get in touch with me, my office is open and can be reached by phone on 01246 386 286. I also hold regular surgeries so that constituents can meet me and I can take up their concerns. If you would like to make an appointment then please do contact my office. Thank you for visiting.

Contact Toby

Tel: 01246 386286
Post: 113 Saltergate, Chesterfield, S40 1NF


I hold regular surgeries for my constituents.
Please call 01246 386286 or email to make a booking.

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