Times of Tonbridge Column - New Years Highlights - 2 January 2019
Choosing my highlights from the past year has been difficult. I've been lucky enough to work with so many incredible, hard-working, and dedicated people who have achieved so many things, it is hard to pick just one. Many of the battles have been mountainous up-hill climbs, challenges for individuals or groups across our community. Some of course have been easier. But whatever they were, we achieved them by working together.
Take the Leigh Flood Storage Area for example. We have secured funding which means hundreds of homes will now be protected from flooding caused by the River Medway. Or the opening of the cycle lane along the A21, allowing people to use a safer, environmentally friendly way of travelling. Not only that, but after receiving lots of complaints about the bus stop outside Café Nero in the High Street, I have spoken to Kent County Council who have agreed to make changes to this next year – a significant improvement which should help both the traffic and the High Street. After spending the year meeting with businesses in our town, I have been pressing the Chancellor to ask for a reduction in business rates, and was delighted that this finally happened in the Autumn Budget. These are all huge achievements and will help thousands of people who live in our community. But they wouldn’t have been possible without your support.
In Parliament, I’ve been lucky to spend a lot of time asking if our foreign policy is delivering for us, here in the UK. Are we getting what we need from our relationships around the world? Are we defending the values that make us safe not just at home but when we travel for work or holidays? There’s a lot to be done. But there are also fun parts to the job. I was honoured to have been asked to represent HM the Queen and lay a wreath in Delhi to those who fell fighting for freedom in the First and Second World Wars. The reverence with which our Indian friends care for the graves of our servicemen and women is a living reminder of the bonds between our people.
My favourite moments have been those when I’ve been working with those who build our community. That's why I wanted to serve our community as your MP. Reflecting on what we have achieved together is great but this is also time to start thinking about what there is still to do. I look forward to continuing to work hard for our whole community. If something matters to you, something that would make your community better and you think I may be able to help, please do let me know. Let's work together to make it happen.
I hope you’ve had a restful break and a wonderful New Year.