General Elections bring a slew of campaign literature that frequently confuses fiction as fact. Just recently, the Liberal Democrats decided to spend huge amounts of money claiming that I and other Conservative MPs had voted to weaken the rules governing water companies.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Over the last four years, we have voted to strengthen the laws controlling water companies to ensure that we now have the toughest system in the world. As a result of the legislation that I have campaigned for we have measures in place that will deliver real improvements to our local water network, clean up spills and hold executives responsible.

Through the Environment Act, we have passed new rules that restrict dividend payments and cancel bonuses if sewage spills continue. We have passed measures to increase the fines faced by water companies for pollution. And we have implemented a protocol that can revoke water company licenses and put executives in jail if they fail to deliver on their wastewater management plans - the most stringent rules and laws in the world.

The fact that it was a Conservative Government that mandated 100% monitoring of our waterways seems to have been lost on political opponents.

Water companies are by no means out of the woods. They have for many years failed to implement the necessary upgrades and investment into their water networks while also signing off developments that would overwhelm the existing capacity of their sewers and treatment plants. Coupled with the heavy rainfall that we have suffered over the last six months, the flaws in their system are all too apparent for us all to see.

Last year I took South West Water executives to towns across South Devon, asking them to explain themselves to residents and to provide insight into the problems as well as the necessary solutions. In doing so, South West Water highlighted that over £30m is being spent on South Devon’s local network. This is not future work, but work that is currently being undertaken to upgrade our system and reduce pollution and sewage spills. While the work may be rebuilding the network and expanding its capacity, it remains clear that the confidence of the public in water companies will take a great deal longer to rebuild.

It is my job to hold South West Water to account. This is why we meet regularly with the Environment Agency to ensure that South West Water is delivering on its wastewater management plan. It is also why I call out South West Water to any local problems and ask them to engage with residents and fix their network as quickly as possible. We can and must hold them to account, but we must also ensure they are working to fix our water system quickly and efficiently.

So, next time you do receive a piece of literature claiming this or that, remember that as a result of the Government’s work, we now have the toughest measures in the world holding our water companies to account.