I was delighted to have been elected to be Wealden’s Member of Parliament in May 2015, and thankful to the people of Wealden for placing their faith in me. To receive the support of 32,508 of Wealden’s residents, with 57% of the vote, was truly humbling and only serves to underline the depth responsibility I have been given. I am especially proud to have been selected as the Conservative candidate in an open primary, and to have increased the party’s majority in the constituency to 22,967 at the general election.
Wealden, like all constituencies, only has one MP, and I am determined to be an effective constituency MP for everyone in all of our towns and villages. During my first year in Parliament, I have spent much time campaigning for improved train services, better broadband, more concerted support for our farmers and more respite from aircraft noise for local residents, among other things. I am always willing to assist with constituents' personal concerns where appropriate, and one of the most satisfying things of my job is to see the relief and happiness of constituents when my representations help make a difference. Please do contact me if you wish me to represent you on a particular issue.
But being an MP is one big bag of opportunities, a privilege I do not take lightly. Since being elected, I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to chair two All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPG), the APPGs for Ageing and Older People and for Eye Health and Visual Impairment. I am also the Parliamentary Representative for the Conservative Rural Affairs Group, which champions farmers in Parliament and beyond, and have been elected to sit on the powerful Home Affairs Select Committee, which holds inquiries into policing, crime, terrorism, child sexual abuse, migration, domestic security and radicalisation.
I am also Vice Chair of the APPGs on Thalidomide and on Women in Parliament and an Officer of the Domestic Violence and Counter-Extremism Groups, and am particularly proud of being selected to sit on the Armed Forces Bill Committee and to be a member of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme, in which I chose to represent the RAF. This requires 15 days training, as well as attending formal meetings and briefing to enable me to become a better advocate of the Armed Forces and their families in Parliament.
I have chaired an inquiry into harmful sexual behaviour among children for the children’s charity Barnardo’s, and am working with Sussex’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, on plans to protect the elderly from elder abuse, including scams and fraud.
Ever since growing up, I have been inspired by the messages of self-reliance and hard work that the Conservatives stood for. Which is why I put the importance of fostering aspiration as my top political priority, based on a clear understanding of what it takes to strive for opportunity, as many people in this country have to strive every single day.
Having worked on education and health campaigns before entering politics, I am determined to put my grass roots campaigning experience to use and to give back through public service. I am truly honoured to have been elected by the people of Wealden as their representative in Parliament, and am doing all I can to repay them for putting their trust in me.