IT has been an extraordinary year. I was elected to represent Warwick & Leamington in June and parachuted almost overnight into Parliament. It’s been a privilege to represent the people of Warwick & Leamington and raise the challenges facing Warwickshire at the highest level.
In his Maiden Speech in 2010, my predecessor stated that we had excellent frontline services. He was right – in 2010, we did. Seven years on, we do not. We have lost police in Warwick, and we have lost the police station. We have lost teachers, full-time firefighters, and health professionals from the NHS. Warwickshire County Council’s decision to close two-thirds of our children’s centres is a disgrace, with consequences which will be felt for decades.
On a more upbeat note, businesses in South Warwickshire, faced with a slowing economy, have bucked the trend somewhat. I recently spoke at a South Warwickshire in Parliament event, which brought together businesses, government, and civil society to celebrate their achievements. It was fantastic to speak to all those people who bring such vibrancy to our area.
It has also been an extraordinary year for politics nationally and internationally. Brexit has dominated national politics this year and will continue to do so next year. I was proud to recently vote for Amendment 7 to the EU Withdrawal Bill, which means that Parliament will get a vote on the Final Brexit Deal, which was a great victory for democracy. Parliament must always be sovereign and we deserve a vote on a deal which will shape the country for generations to come. It’s vital the Government gets a good deal from the EU, particularly on trade, to allow for businesses and people in Warwickshire to thrive.
The erratic nature of President Trump is of deep concern and will only intensify as the prospect of a Trump state visit to the UK looms. I’m quite clear that the President’s politics of hate shouldn’t be given the privilege of a state visit to this great country of tolerance and decency.
I’m sure 2018 will be just as exciting, interesting, and challenging for Warwickshire – I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year.