As I write this column, it is one year since I was elected your Member of Parliament, a role I feel incredibly privileged and proud to have been elected to do. One year in, I have a better understanding of the role of an MP, which ultimately is about service to my constituency, and making national decisions which affect our country and my constituency. I enjoy actively focusing on Hastings and Rye, representing you all in Parliament and making representations on your behalf - on your individual needs and collective interests, though I cannot deny it has been thorny at times.
I was elected on a pledge to deliver Brexit, turbo-charge our local economy, support the most vulnerable in our communities, and open-up opportunities for everyone in Hastings and Rye. For me it is very simple; for many years we have had a lot of warm words, but little action. My promise last December was to start delivering for everyone in Hastings and Rye. That is exactly what is happening; delivering Brexit, securing investment in our local health services, improving education standards, beginning the work of ending homelessness and rough sleeping, securing funding for transport improvements, championing our environment and endangered species - all while dealing with a health pandemic.
Constituency work has been full on this year, largely due to coronavirus and the resulting health and economic concerns of Hastings and Rye residents and businesses. I have a fantastic team and we have all worked incredibly hard - and tirelessly - on your behalf by responding to over 15,000 letters, emails and messages from constituents – and getting things done. I have also attended over 2,650 meetings including on housing, Covid-19 funding to councils, individuals and businesses, homelessness, the environment and climate change, families, child poverty, transport, illegal immigration, policing, anti-social riding, driving and behaviour, hospitals and health, education, tourism, fisheries, our future relationship with the EU, and local businesses and economic growth.
A year ago, in the midst of the election campaign, no one could have predicted the devastation and upheaval that was around the corner. The Covid-19 pandemic has been truly devastating to lives and livelihoods. But the glimmers of hope and inspiration throughout this year have been amazing, including from the way our local communities have pulled together in unity to protect our most vulnerable by shopping for them, collecting medicines; spending time with our families and realising how fundamental strong, nurturing families are to us, our children and their futures. We have been inspired by national figures from Sir Captain Tom Moore to the heroes of our own NHS and social care, teaching staff, and the ingenuity of our businesses to manufacture PPE and ventilators in record time. Now, the end is in sight; scientists have found vaccines that are safe and effective. They are being rolled out, starting with the most vulnerable.But we are not quite there yet; we must pull together again for these last few, treacherous months of winter to ensure that we all give everyone the chance to benefit from these vaccines, especially the elderly and vulnerable.
I want to thank you all once again for entrusting me with your vote. Whilst this has been a devastating year for most of us, we must look forward to 2021, where we will witness a ‘return to normal’ as the vaccines gets rolled out and a chance to review what that new normal is for each of us, whether we work from home more, making for a better work-home life balance, or continuing to volunteer on behalf of our local communities.
As your Conservative MP, I will be focusing not only on delivering for you in Beautiful Hastings and Rye, but also helping this Government mould and rebuild our beloved United Kingdom following our departure from the European Union, and that fills me with enormous hope for our future.