With the dust settling after the December election and the New Year recess now over, MPs have returned to the House of Commons.
There is a very different atmosphere from that of the past two years. Many new faces on the green benches are bringing extra energy, experience and enthusiasm. As well as moving beyond Brexit, I am looking forward to a plethora of maiden speeches.
I’ve learnt how easy it is to become distracted in Westminster. The in-box rapidly becomes stuffed full of invitations, meeting requests and inquiries, questions need to be tabled, and there are urgent debates one wants to attend. An MP’s diary quickly becomes very packed. It can be challenging to keep focus on the big picture.
In Chelmsford, I’ve spoken to First Bus about concerns over changes to timetables and delays. The Army and Navy Task Force will meet next week and I’m calling in Greater Anglia as the service is not good enough. I’ve also set up meetings to catch up with our local police leads, NHS bosses and the prison governor, as well as the bosses of Network Rail about plans for our second railway station. My fortnightly surgery sessions for constituents with individual queries have restarted.
Supporting schools, colleges and local businesses is important so I always try to meet any that have issues they want discuss. I am looking forward to hosting Chelmsford’s first Apprenticeship Fair next month. Please do get in touch if you want to know more.
In the election much mention was made of One Nation Conservatism. Last year a caucus of One Nation MPs worked together to agree a Declaration of Values that bid us together as a force of the centre right. It was an uplifting exercise.
One Nation Conservatism is about reaching out to all parts of our country and holding together our United Kingdom, this is vital. But it is also about a broader set of political priorities.
The One Nation Values include a commitment to public services, well-funded through a growing economy, to active global leadership through our aid, trade and security commitments, to social responsibility and to life chances - believing that everyone in our country has an equal right to a fair chance in life.
The ten values include a specific commitment on Environmental Stewardship. The UK is uniquely placed to lead action on this most urgent of issues as we work towards hosting the next Global Conference on Climate change in Glasgow this December.
The values also include commitments on upholding press freedoms, human rights, the rule of law and an independent judiciary.
So, at the beginning of this busy political year I have pinned a copy of the One Nation Declaration of Values by my desk. When multi-tasking through the emails and WhatsApp messages, I will lean on it to help keep the focus on the big picture too.
As ever, please do stay in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org.