I was incredibly lucky and so honoured to have been picked in a ballot of MPs to be able to stand on the pavement outside Parliament during the Coronation procession. What an experience and one I will never forget.
Inspired by the Coronation bunting that I have seen fluttering in the breeze all around Chelmsford, I dressed in full red, white and blue and headed off very early in the morning. Despite the drizzle the atmosphere was electric. A highlight was a wave from His Majesty the King as they passed by on their way towards the Abbey, and being nearly touching distance to the outstanding Mounted Band of the Household Cavalry. I can ride a horse and play the clarinet and it takes my breath away to see the band doing both these things at the same time!
Parliament Square was lined by standard bearers from the British Legion, two of whom were from Essex and one from the Chelmsford Branch. I would like to thank all the people of Chelmsford who took part in the service, the procession and the planning and especially the members of Essex Police who have been helping at Stansted Airport. They have been making sure that the leaders of other countries arrived and left safely.
The Bishop of Chelmsford played a key role in the service, carrying the chalice and presenting the communion wine to their majesties. I went to a special evensong in Chelmsford Cathedral on the eve of the coronation where the bishop told the congregation about the history of the chalice which dates back to the 1660s.
On Tuesday, I had the huge honour of meeting His Majesty when he came to Westminster for a reception with parliamentarians and staff. We spoke briefly about Sudan, as I chair the All Party Group on Sudan. It is a dire situation but members of the UK’s Sudanese community had greatly appreciated a visit from King Charles and Queen Camilla. We also discussed the role our Bishop was playing in the coronation. I know King Charles cares deeply about all communities and it was moving to see representatives of all faiths taking part in the Coronation.
I have spent a lot of time this week chatting with to people all across Chelmsford in advance of the local elections. Thank you to everyone who took time to talk. I was very proud that our candidates were so diverse, young and old, men and women, members of many different ethnic groups and different religions, LGBT candidates and neurodiversity. We had a very happy moment on election day when James Cleverly, and Essex MP and the Foreign Secretary came to help three young women candidates standing for election. Democracy is for everyone and it is important that women’s voices are hard.
I would obviously have liked more of the candidates to be successful but I would particularly like to congratulate Cllr Susan Sullivan and Cllr Vetri Pappa on their results and thank Rob Gisby for all the work he has done for the people of Moulsham Lodge over the past two years.
As Chelmsford’s MP, I will continue to work for all the people of Chelmsford, focusing on delivering on local issues as well as improving things nationally. It is important to tackle economic priority issues such as halving inflation, reducing debt and getting our local economy growing. It is also important to cut the NHS waiting lists, which are coming down across Chelmsford. A priority of the Prime Minister is also to stop the small boats, I know many people locally care about this issue too.
Infrastructure is important, during the week I was sent a picture taken from an aeroplane flying over the new train station at Beaulieu Park. It is very impressive to see the work that is underway both on the station and on connecting the bridge to the new relief road.