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Lee Phillip Dr Phillip Lee replaced Andrew Mackay as MP for Bracknell at the general election and opted to use his maiden speech yesterday to discuss issues relating to the space industry:

“The space industry is a growing area. That is why it is vital for UK prosperity. There is a multitude of economic opportunities. The industry has grown four times the average since 2000. It adds £6.5 billion to the UK economy annually. My own company, Tektronix, in Bracknell makes sophisticated measurement gear for satellites. The key point is that the industry is growing. Why is it growing? It is because we are the best at it. We have to be the best in this global economy. We also need to anticipate the direction of technological demand in the world.

“It is not just about the economy. The industry also benefits education. It inspires innovation. It inspires generations of scientists and engineers. In one poll of engineers, almost 40% cited it as the reason that they went into their chosen career. It also helps us with the environment, an issue that I am very interested in. It allows us to assess man’s impact on the natural world. It also offers solutions, one example being the transfer of data into space, getting rid of terrestrial-based masts that are so energy dependent.

“The industry is also strategic. It underpins critical parts of infrastructure. It allows Government to have intelligent ways of formulating transportation plans. It is hugely important in defence, of course, and it aids our ability to wield soft power in the world.

“Space is indispensable; that is basically what I am saying. It is an open goal for us. We should be shooting at it repeatedly. The sky is not the limit when it comes to the space industry. It offers a new economy, a green economy that offers real returns, and a niche market that depends more on knowledge than on labour, which is relevant when competing with China, India and Brazil.”

He concluded his Commons debut by summarising his motivations for entering politics:

“People who come in here should want to make this country a better place. I want to put Britain first. I do not want to be part of a Government who manage decline. One way of doing that is by having a strong high-tech sector. Government’s role is to reduce tax and regulation and thereby stimulate an increase in scientific knowledge. I have no idea how long I have in this House. That is up to the people of Bracknell constituency to decide, but when I leave I hope that I will have contributed to putting the “Great” back into Great Britain.”

Jonathan Isaby

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