Gazette & Herald Column: I'm taking the covers off the battle bus to fight again

I love my job as your Westminster representative but it is often unpredictable, and at times almost astonishingly so.  Votes run late into the night, parliamentary business gets changed at the last minute, necessitating a headlong dash back into London from wherever MPs happen to be, Parliament is recalled for major events and, as we have seen only too recently, our democratic processes are targeted by those who would wish to disrupt them.

And then, occasionally, we get a snap election that throws a huge spanner into all personal and professional plans.  This is my first experience of one, as my last two General Elections were well known in advance, whilst this one is both unexpected and, on first impressions, somewhat surprising.   So, I came to Westminster this week ready to hear and discuss the arguments for having the contest in the next few weeks, and the more I heard, the more I was convinced that this is absolutely in the best interests of our country.   According to colleagues already involved in discussions with Europe, there was growing unease about the confluence of the end of the Article 50 negotiations and the run up to the next Election in 2020, and a view that this could force us into hasty decisions or compress the time needed for a sensible Brexit implementation plan.   

With the new timetable – an election now and then a five-year Parliament to run until 2022, those hurdles are cleared away, while a new mandate for Prime Minister May can only help to deliver the strong and stable leadership the country needs to see us through Brexit and beyond.  As the PM said, Brexit means Brexit, and every vote for my party will count towards strengthening Britain’s hand in the upcoming negotiations.   Unlike Gordon “Bottler” Brown who famously ducked an election in 2007, we are not afraid to face the country and give people a choice at this momentous time, between strong and stable leadership in the national interest with Theresa May and the Conservatives, or weak and unstable coalition government led by Jeremy Corbyn – a prospect so unpalatable that even his own MPs don’t want him to be the Prime Minister.  So, the whistle is blown, the sun is shining, the covers are coming off Alice, my camper van battle bus, and I am greatly looking forward to heading off on the campaign trail for the third time.  Hopefully I won’t be a stranger to many people but I look forward to meeting up with as many constituents as possible over the next few weeks.