18th December 2019
First, my thanks to those many thousands of people in North Thanet who went out last Thursday and put a cross beside my name in the General Election. I have never, ever, taken the support that I receive for granted and I do not do so now. To receive such trust is quite simply humbling and places a huge responsibility upon me – and all other who have been elected from whatever political party – to deliver on the undertakings that we have given.
And we now have no excuses not to deliver. The past few years have been difficult politically. Coalition and minority Government is never easy but now, with what the Prime Minister has described as “a stonking majority” we can and must ensure not only that Brexit is delivered in short order and on the best terms achievable by the end of January and then by the end of next year, but we now also have the luxury of the opportunity, after January 31st, to turn our attention to the future of the health service, of housing, of education and social care and all of the other issues that have been parked in a lay-by while parliament has been gridlocked. A large majority brings freedom to manoeuvre but also carries it`s own potential dangers. Those of us who regard ourselves as genuinely One Nation Conservatives and the thin ranks of moderate MPs remaining on the Labour benches need to make sure that the extreme tails of the political spectrum are not permitted to wag the dog.
Locally, the Inspector`s proposed modifications to the Thanet local plan, which slipped out almost unnoticed during election week, require urgent attention and we also have to return to focus attention on the infrastructure required to support the proposed Strode Farm and Hillborough developments in Herne Bay. While these are predominantly Local Government responsibilities I expect to play my part in supporting elected colleagues locally and to make representations to newly-appointed Ministers, where necessary, to seek to mitigate the effects of development upon our existing local villages and communities.
At the time of writing it looks as though we shall, in the House, be sitting late to get the Withdrawal Bill through its Second Reading if not its Report Stages and Third Reading stages in the Commons, before Christmas. That means, sadly, that Suzy and I may have to curtail some of the visits that traditionally always made in the run-up to Christmas but we will do our best to make up for that early in the New Year. In the meantime may I take this opportunity, on behalf of Suzy and myself , our wonderful office team and our family to wish you all a healthy and peaceful Christmas and a New Year brimming full of optimism and real progress as a once-again united Nation.