General Election 2017
I’ve just voted in the Commons to support the Prime Minster’s call for a General Election, which will be held in 50 days’ time, on Thursday 8 June.
I have asked the Arundel & South Downs Conservative Association to re-adopt me as Conservative parliamentary candidate. It is the greatest honour to have served as a Member of Parliament for twelve years, and I love representing this constituency.
I often say that Arundel & South Downs is the best constituency in England. Comprising some 250 square miles of beautiful countryside, half of it in the National Park, with many villages but no large towns, it is a very special part of the world.
There are many local issues which will continue to require strong representation: getting high speed broadband to every area; making sure that the much-needed Arundel bypass is delivered; keeping up the pressure for rail improvements after a dismal year; and pressing for fair funding for our schools.
Meeting the demand for more homes, while protecting the countryside and ensuring sufficient local infrastructure, will remain an enormous challenge.
I have been in the thick of these issues and have always sought to do my best for the local community. But of course local concerns are just one side of the MP’s role.
The election is being held at a vital time for our country. Following the referendum and Parliament’s vote to trigger Article 50 to leave the EU, we now have a difficult negotiation ahead.
The task is to achieve the optimal new arrangements for Britain, guided not by ideology but by what is in our national interest. It is important that the Prime Minister receives the strongest possible support for this.
As we embark on this new chapter in our history, Britain needs to be in the strongest position to compete globally. We need to continue to rebuild our economy to improve living standards and deliver the funding which our public services will require.
This constituency divided 50:50 in the referendum, but I believe nevertheless - as I think most people do locally - that the overall result must be respected, and that we must now move on, come together, and work for the best possible deal for Britain.
The country needs strong leadership, certainty and stability for the next five years. That is what I believe Theresa May can provide, and I hope that her government will be returned with a larger majority to give her the support and endorsement she needs.