Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Newspaper column 27 December 2017 - Looking back at a busy year

I hope you all had a relaxing and happy Christmas. Where has 2017 gone? Certainly for me the past year has flown by and it is time once again to provide an end of year update on some of the work I have been doing for you in Mid-Cornwall.

Clearly the biggest news of the year from the snap General Election in June. I was honoured to be re-elected as your MP after only 2 years with both an increased share of the vote and bigger majority. Thank you once again to everyone who voted for me and to those who helped in my campaign.

Brexit still dominates the scene nationally. The Prime Minister has now achieved an agreement with the EU to move negotiations on to the second phase. This is significant progress and means we can now move on to negotiations over our future trading relationship with the EU. Despite those who are seeking to disrupt and dilute the process I am pleased that the PM remains totally committed to the UK leaving the EU and regaining control over our laws, borders and money.  

Locally, a real highlight of the year has been the recent approval by the Chancellor for £79m to fund a dedicated A30 link road to St Austell. This is a crucial piece of infrastructure and the largest single piece of transport infrastructure investment in this area. It was one of my priorities since running for election in 2015 and something people have talked about for years. I am pleased that in just over two years as your MP and under a Conservative Government, we have delivered on this. I will now be working with all involved to ensure this road is built as soon as possible.

I am pleased to have worked with Cornwall Airport Newquay, Cornwall Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership to drive forward and champion the bid for our airport to become Britain’s first commercial spaceport. Many thought this was a pipe dream when I was first elected, but we have now have a serious bid submitted and are seen by many to be a frontrunner. I am hopeful for a positive announcement in the spring of next year and if so, this will bring levels of investment and skilled jobs into Mid-Cornwall that have been previously unheard of.

In Parliament I now sit on the Transport Select Committee and am a strong voice for investment in transport infrastructure in Cornwall. I still sit on the European Scrutiny Committee, to allow me to continue to look at European legislation and how it affects us. I am also now the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Visitor Economy group to help champion the tourism and hospitality industries that are such a major part of our economy.

I am still Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Protect Our Waves group which works with the Cornish based charity Surfers Against Sewage and am delighted at the progress the Government has made in working towards combatting the marine pollution threats posed by the increasing amount of plastic that ends up on our beaches and in our seas. I have been able to champion the cause in Parliament for a deposit scheme for single use plastic bottles, and am pleased to have been recognised by the Secretary of State for the Environment for this, with the Government now moving forward on a formal industry consultation.

Along with my team I am pleased to have assisted nearly 4,000 individual constituents with their concerns since I was elected and I have written to over 10,000 people who have contacted me about policy matters. In Parliament in the last year I have spoken in the main Chamber 58 times and voted in 92% of all votes, both above average for MPs. Here in Mid-Cornwall I have attended over 450 local events, been on more than 30 school visits and welcomed many Government Ministers, including the Prime Minister and several members of her Cabinet, to the area so they can see first-hand the issues we face. I would like to thank my excellent staff for all the hard work they put in on what has been an incredibly busy year!

May I also take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support of our growing constituency association over what has been an eventful year.

I wish you a healthy and happy 2018.