AS THIS is my first Letter from Westminster, I would firstly like to thank all the voters in Meon Valley and I look forward to representing everyone regardless of how they voted. I would also like to thank my fellow candidates; I know how hard they worked and I also know how tough it is to lose. I enjoyed meeting many people and tried to knock on doors in every village during the day. We found out early in the campaign that people were not keen to come to the door in the dark but we discovered pub meetings worked very well. To that end, I will continue to hold ‘Meet your MP’ events in pubs and will publicise them on my website. I also aim to update people by email so let me know if you would like to be on my mailing list. I personally answered just under 500 emails during the campaign but, because of GDPR, I will need your permission to send out my regular updates.

There were several issues that came up on the doorstep that I will be working on. Climate change was one of the biggest and I will be campaigning to ensure new Meon Valley housing developments are sustainable. We have several big housing projects and we need to make sure that communities receive good public services and communications. Which brings me on to another issue: broadband and mobile coverage. In some villages, it’s impossible to receive a mobile signal. In other areas, broadband is too slow and there are many businesses or people working from home, so this is going to be a priority. I will update on progress and work with local councillors and the government to make sure we can see some improvement.

At Westminster we hardly had time to draw breath after the election before we were back to business in Parliament on the following Monday - I would not have had it any other way! Although I have been an MP before, I was encouraged to attend the induction training and it was a good opportunity to meet some of the new 109 Conservative MPs, many of them from northern and Midland cities and areas which had never returned a Conservative before. As the PM said, people lent us their votes, we should never forget that they can change their mind at the next election if we don’t do a good job. After the first couple of days of signing on and organising my new team, it was straight into work and the Queen’s Speech. The most important priority was, of course, Brexit and we passed the second reading of the withdrawal bill through the House of Commons on December 19. It will now be going to the House of Lords and come back for any further changes. I was also very pleased to see our domestic agenda which sets out a variety of measures to support workers and families, enhancing workers’ rights and supporting flexible working – so crucial for anyone with caring responsibilities – plus the establishment of a new Office for Environmental Protection which will be welcomed by many residents in Meon Valley.

There is, then, a busy agenda for 2020. I hope that you will all have a successful 2020 and look forward to meeting many of you during the year.