Gazette & Herald Column: New ministerial role adds to record majority at polls

What an extraordinary few weeks we have had.   Candidates nationwide have been pounding the streets, driving the miles, listening to thousands of people, delivering tens of thousands of leaflets and debating at hustings, then it all comes down to a few breathless moments in the early hours of the morning when the piles of paper ballots give you tangible evidence that you are going to be hired or fired.  It was a strange campaign; one that gave both major parties some of their strongest results in decades but resulted in a hung parliament – hardly an ideal result with the start of the Brexit talks looming.  At this crucial time, it is only right, in my view, that we form a government in the national interest, and with the most seats and most votes, only the Conservative Party has the ability and legitimacy to do that.

The national picture may have been mixed but I was delighted to be returned as your MP for the Devizes Constituency with a record majority and increased share of the vote, and would like to say a huge “thank you” to those who put their trust in me with their vote and supported me throughout the campaign.  I enjoyed being able to meet so many of you as I toured the Constituency in Alice, my yellow VW camper van which you may have seen driving around this last month!  However, regardless of how you voted, my job is to serve the people of this wonderful Constituency that we call home, so please do let me know if you ever need my help.

My job is also to deliver results on my local campaigning priorities based on what matters to us most in the this area: better local health services and the new urgent care centre for Devizes, protected and improved train services, helping all our schools be Good or Outstanding by 2020, standing up for the Armed Forces, accelerating broadband rollout locally and working to generate more jobs and apprenticeships.  I will continue to focus my local efforts on these areas, but I am keen to also start work to see what more I can do to help deliver more appropriate and affordable housing for sale and rent – while we have seen a welcome acceleration in house building locally, it is clear to me that more needs to be done, both to deliver on the Neighbourhood plans, but also to work with towns and villages to see if there are new and creative ways to help local people get the homes they want.  Finally, to cap the excitement of a busy week, I was called to No. 10 late on Monday night to be offered a new Ministerial job by the PM as the Minister of State in the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Department.  I was delighted to accept.