VOTERS go to the polls today to elect Councillors across the UK, including here in the Dudley borough. It is certain to be a closely fought race as it was two years ago, during which some Councillors won their seats with single-figure majorities.

Last week, there were reports that the UK had decided to allow Huawei to develop “non-core” parts of our 5G Network. As Digital Minister, I have been working with other Government Departments on this important issue for some time. Security considerations are vital but final decisions about the telecoms supply chain have yet to be made.

5G is a major technological leap forward and, when operational, it will revolutionise the way our country works. The new, more stable mobile network will be 10-20 times faster than 4G, and will enable the development of what has been called the ‘internet of things’, including autonomous vehicles. It will certainly increase our reliance on machines and artificial intelligence. That is why it is vital that it is secure and protected from cyber attacks and malicious activity. In 2017, hackers from North Korea instigated an attack which affected computers in 150 countries, including the NHS in the UK. Operations were cancelled, and ambulances rerouted. Cyber-security is a priority within the digital responsibilities I have in Government and I can assure people that decisions on how we develop our technology infrastructure will be guided by the advice we receive from the intelligence and security services.

Some really good news for Cradley’s regeneration this month. Contracts have now been exchanged between developers and Dudley Council, which means that work and planning on the transformation of Colley Gate can properly begin. The derelict houses and shops have been an eyesore for so long and I know that campaigners have been working to achieve progress for a very long time indeed. Planning matters are complicated and often take years and years or work and pressure. This new milestone means that the appointed developers can now proceed to draw up a detailed plan to transform the area. I am especially pleased about the progress as I have been working on the campaign for some nine years. However, this is as nothing when compared to the residents of Cradley, who have endured the situation for a lot longer than that. Thank you to the Cradley Action Group for their action and persistence – a fine example of a successful, resident-led campaigning group for the area.

As ever, should you wish to get in touch with me, you can call my office on 01384 370574, or email me at Please also sign up to my regular newsletter at for more about what I am doing to represent you here and in Westminster.