WHEN the children were young we went on family holidays to Cornwall but teenagers have different priorities so there was no enjoying the scenery from a static A30 this year.

Instead, I accepted the invitation of the Catholic Fund for Overseas Development (CAFOD) to join with another Westminster MP and one from Canada to visit Honduras in support of the local groups campaigning for a reform of the mining law that is desperately needed.

Huge multi-nationals have immense power in a desperately poor country like Honduras and the local people who see their water supplies drying up and a range of diseases afflicting them and their neighbours feel that they have no voice to oppose the mining companies.

Gold is the mineral they seek and the preferred extraction method involves open cast mining and sodium cyanide heap leaching technology.

We visited a vast eight hectare mine and saw the massive scale of the extraction of gold-bearing earth which is then mounded and sprayed with sodium cyanide to leach out the gold. I couldn't help but wonder what the response of the Greenford Area Committee would be to a proposal that the whole of Horsenden Hill be dug up and soaked through with cyanide.

A series of meetings with Honduran politicians, civil servants and the office of Cardinal Rodriguez, head of the Roman Catholic Church, gave us real hope for a reformed mining law and we received on the record assurances that time for the bill would be found in Congress. Maybe we will have done some good - maybe not - but we have raised the issue up the political agenda and given real encouragement and support to people who felt that they were Davids to the mining Goliaths.

If you'd like a copy of my report then contact me at stevepoundmp@parliament.uk and I'll be happy to send you one.