It’s a great privilege to have been elected as the Member of Parliament for Dover & Deal last December. Over the last few days I was reflecting on what an extraordinary six months or so it has been.
Six months ago, I shared that sense of excitement about the new Government. What an opportunity to push forward with Brexit and the many other reforms that our country needs. But almost no sooner had the Bill to get Brexit done passed than events were overtaken by the deadly pandemic.
This has been a most worrying time for all of us. Loved ones have died. Businesses that have taken decades to build up have been destroyed overnight. Children’s schooling has been put back, along with opportunities for many young people. The damage continues apace – here locally P&O is moving forward with mass redundancies. Prime Minister Boris Johnson himself very nearly lost his life to the virus.
And as a Member of Parliament, I don’t think there can be a time in recent history where the role of the MP has been so close to the people represented. As the world as we knew it imploded, the inbox overran – with fear, uncertainty, worry and dismay behind the very many requests for help and assistance. Over the last few weeks me and my team have tried our best to help thousands and thousands of constituents, and I would like to thank my team for their hard work and dedication.
I know over that time we have stopped evictions, got people cancer treatment, intervened to get PPE and tests to our local hospitals and care homes, secured grants and loans for local businesses, and got local people home when they were stranded abroad, whether it was in Peru or Australia or even Covid-infected cruise ships, stuck in the sea having been rejected by one port after another.
Now as we move forward, the landscape changes once again. Yes we need to complete the journey to beating the virus. But we also need to plan and deliver our recovery – locally and nationally. So we are working on local recovery for jobs and prosperity. We are taking forward the investment in roads and rail that are needed to sustain our community over the longer term.
But in the next few months we have another mountain to climb – the impact of leaving the European Union finally at the end of the transition period at the end of the year. Brexit offers great potential for our community and our country. Potential that I want to see turn into solid gains. But while the next part of the journey may be a little bumpy, I know that we will emerge from these strange and difficult times stronger, more prosperous and more united than ever.
This is a time of change, and therefore of opportunity to be seized. Seize it I know we will.
Ours is a great community, and I couldn’t be prouder to be your Member of Parliament.