Setting out the path and priorities for our nation

Last week, Her Majesty The Queen addressed Parliament in order to set out the Government’s priorities and its proposed schedule for new laws. It is an important Parliamentary moment that provides an opportunity to reflect on what has been achieved and what is next to do. It also provides an opportunity to reflect on the Britain we want to build in the years to come. What our priorities are as a nation. Of the future of our community here in Dover and Deal. These are matters I spoke about in last week’s Queen’s Speech debate.

The pandemic has shown that we are at our finest when we come together in our communities. As we have again come together after the tragic murder of PCSO Julia James – to honour her memory, support her family, and help the police in their investigations. A key plank of the Government’s programme this year is a Victims Bill. For me, and many in our community, this should be known simply as ‘Julia’s Bill’ to recognise the support she gave so many when they were vulnerable and in need.

As we regain our independence, we must reaffirm our national values too. That includes strengthening and renewing our constitution as well as protecting freedom of speech. Recent examples have shown that freedom of speech is gravely threatened at this present time. It means restoring the balance between government, Parliament, and the courts. Above all, we must restore accountability to all our institutions.

This year we expect to see our economy bounce back. Alongside jobs and money, we must focus on making sure we have the housing and healthcare we need. Education and opportunities are critical. So the Government’s announcement of a Lifetime Skills Guarantee is particularly welcome as it will open access to education, skills, qualifications and opportunities at all stages of life.

Here in Dover and Deal we want to see more investment in broadband, water, sewage, roads and rail. To make the most of the opportunities that lie ahead. Border investment is also urgently required. Not just for more local jobs and money, but because we know disruption is never far away. There needs to be greater resilience – including dualling the A2 and delivering border control facilities.

Border investment is not just needed for trade. It is needed for security too. Small boat crossings must be brought to an end. I have been pressing for new laws to tackle illegal immigration and the criminal gangs behind it. These are now coming forward.

We are coming through an unprecedented time in our national life. Now we must set the course for our country in the years to come. A land that is independent, strong and reinvigorated. A nation with a renewed sense of determination, values and purpose, which will deliver for the people of Dover and Deal.

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