IT has been a busy and unpredictable year – to put it lightly.
The year started like any other Parliamentary session. In fact it was probably more optimistic than many. In January we received notice that the Prime Minister would bring forward legislation which would allow the United Kingdom to invoke Article 50 – the legal process by which we will leave the EU. After a lengthy parliamentary struggle in which hundreds of amendments were put down on a two clause Bill (the first clause was its name!) the Government won the vote to implement the Referendum decision, and on 29th March the PM duly did so.
The Brexit talks continue and the mood within Westminster is that, despite the political jockeying, we will secure a good and fair deal for the United Kingdom. Concurrently, ministers and experts in the Department for International Trade are confident that we will have already won a number of sector deals with countries outside of the EU by the time we leave in 2019.
There was also the small matter of a General Election held on 8th June. I am immensely grateful for the people of Tamworth who re-elected me with a larger majority. Whether you voted for me or not, I give you my assurance that I will serve you as your elected Member of Parliament to the best of my ability.
However that’s enough about national politics which you can read about every day if the fancy takes you. I wanted to focus a bit more on a few of the things that I have been up to in the area throughout the year.
My main focus recently has been on mental health provision and the support available in our area. It is estimated that 1 in 6 adults experience a mental health illness each week and 1 in 3 GP appointments are now thought to be mental health related. It’s a sobering statistic. In the autumn I met mental health charity Mind to hear their thoughts of what can be done better in our area which already has a pretty good service record. I have also written to our local NHS trust, Staffordshire Police, local councils and charities to see what more can be done to improve the current system. Most recently I raised it in the House of Commons. If you have ideas or concerns about mental health provision, do let me know.
Earlier in the year I met the executives of the Sir Robert Peel Hospital after there were suggestions that the services offered there were to decrease. I’m very glad to say that due to the overwhelming interest by local people that not only will the services offered at the SRP remain, but they will actually be enhanced with the addition of an on-site GP surgery.
November is always a solemn time to remember those in our Armed Forces both past and present. As always I attended many services around Tamworth and it was moving to see so many people, year on year, turning out in support. Recently I have been investigating how we can develop a suitable memorial in Tamworth for those that have died on active service post-1945. If this is possible, and I believe it is, this will become a most fitting tribute to the brave men and women of our forces. I am talking to local services and veterans groups about it as well as the Ministry of Defence. If you have a view, or would like to help, please contact my office on 01827 312778 or email email@example.com.
It is difficult to include all that I have been up to over this year – I have also been working on better broadband provision (Tamworth is now pretty well covered), supporting Macmillan nurses and the Tamworth Wellbeing & Cancer Support centre, town centre redevelopment and, of course, the impact of HS2 on our area – so if you would like an update on a particular topic then please do get in touch with my office on 01827 312778 or firstname.lastname@example.org. All it remains for me to wish you good luck for a successful 2018.