Now a month since the election, it is a privilege and an honour to have been returned as the Member of Parliament for Bury St Edmunds and to now be resuming my column here in the Bury Free Press!
So much has happened since the election was called and the results announced, and the message of the election was that the Government must be prepared to adapt to changing circumstances, and to changing public opinion.
I intend to focus on the key challenges ahead; ensuring a sensible and considered Brexit, delivering a fair economy which works for both businesses and individuals, and supporting all our vital public services.
Yet, my priority will always be to my constituency and to those pledges I was elected upon; improving local infrastructure; supporting our excellent NHS services; delivering universal broadband; backing local businesses and guaranteeing a good school education for every child.
I especially want to make the case for improving rural services across the board; ensuring ours and other rural communities are not disadvantaged by rural sparsity.
However, above all else I want to ensure that residents are listened to and that there views are taken into full consideration; receiving the care and attention they deserve. In just two years,
I have assisted with over 2,000 constituent inquiries, met with thousands of residents, replied to around 19,000 emails and held dozens of local surgeries.
We have achieved some great things since 2015, including guaranteeing £1.4 billion of Eastern rail investment delivers improvements for rail passengers, including greater frequency, capacity and Wi-Fi.
Working with local councillors, we have led public meetings to resolve a reduction in vital local bus services which serve our remotest areas, as well as raising and addressing residents’ concerns about local mobile masts in Stowmarket.
This aside, there is always more work to do, and I appreciate that I may not always be able to reach everyone nor deliver on everyone’s aims.
In just 24 months and with a constituency of around 85,000 residents, I have but only scratched the surface in my work as your Member of Parliament.
Whilst my time spent in Westminster consumes much of my week, it is the work I do there on behalf of this constituency as well as the time I spend here on my return, which counts.
Whether applying pressure to ensure fairer funding for Suffolk schools or bringing constituents to meet with government department’s to explain, in person, the difficulties they face; to work on your behalf may be a challenge, but it will always a privilege.
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-- Jo Churchill is MP for Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket