On 12 December, you will get the chance to vote in this crucial General Election.
This is one of the fiercest battles of ideas for a generation. The choice that you will have to make is not only about who will form the next Government, but who you want to represent you locally.
I was first elected as your MP following the by-election in 2016, and re-elected in the General Election a year later. These three years have been a whirlwind in Westminster but I have worked hard to establish myself as a strong voice in Parliament and a reliable local MP able to get things done for our area.
I live in Bladon with my young family and I am passionate about ensuring that West Oxfordshire is the best place in which to live and raise a family. Campaigning on key local issues is therefore very important to me, and I am proud of the key relationships I have built with local community leaders. These relationships enable me to understand the issues affecting our area in detail and to take effective action to address them.
For example, at the 2017 General Election, I promised to deliver on the A40. Now, just two years later, I have done so, with £102m extra being pledged recently after a sustained campaign involving a petition, debates, questions to ministers, and constant, determined pressure.
I know that the NHS is a top priority locally and I will always campaign for safe and sustainable local services; in the acute setting as well as across primary care, social care and community services. I therefore welcome the record funding boost we are putting into the NHS, that will see it receive a record funding boost of £33.9 billion in real terms – combined with a Long-Term Plan that puts a welcome focus on improving rural health services and community care.
Equally on schools, and with two small children of my own, I am passionate about ensuring every child receives an excellent education. I have worked closely alongside local headteachers to campaign for increased funding and these calls have been rewarded, with an additional £14 billion being invested in the schools system over the next three years. This will ensure that we can build on the progress we have made to improve standards locally – with 95% of West Oxfordshire’s schools already rated Good or Outstanding.
One of my top priorities since entering Parliament was to address the historic imbalance in police funding which often sees rural areas like West Oxfordshire receive an unfair allocation when compared with the nation’s urban towns and cities. I have worked closely with local police chiefs and farming groups to address the changing nature of rural crime and, as a strong supporter of the police, want to ensure they receive the resources they need. I therefore welcome the recent launch of Thames Valley Police’s recruitment drive for 600 new local police officers which, backed by Government funding, will ensure our streets and communities are kept safe.
Our local railways have improved significantly over recent years, with upgrades to parking and platform extensions – and this summer I opened the new station building at Hanborough which makes it a staffed station for the first time in over 50 years. I will continue to campaign for – and deliver – better local facilities and services for passengers.
One of the main reasons I got into politics was to get a better deal for our Armed Forces both during and after service. The responsibility of representing RAF Brize Norton, home to approximately a quarter of the entire RAF, matters profoundly to me and I work tirelessly on behalf of our brave service personnel. I have already established myself as the leading parliamentary voice for the RAF, as well as a key part of the campaign to protect our veterans from vexatious historic investigations – helping to deliver the first stage of a legal protection for veterans.
Of course, Brexit is a major issue in this campaign, as it has been for the last three years. As I have knocked on doors around West Oxfordshire, or met people out and about in their communities, it seems to me that the overwhelming feeling is that people want an end to the division, an end to the seemingly endless rancour that has disfigured our country over the last few years. I hear them saying that they want an end to the constant infighting over Europe, to put this chapter behind us and start talking about the things that matter to them - and to me, as someone who lives here - our local schools, our health services, housing that is affordable and compliments our rural areas, how to create a better world for our children.
And that is what I propose: a focus on unity over division, of moving forward together with a compromise deal that enables the referendum result to be respected whilst recognising the feelings of those who voted to remain, to recognise that both sides are really not as far apart as they often seem to think. We all want an open, outward-looking, free-trading country - and that is what I propose to deliver, whilst the other candidates only promise, in their different ways, more division, more discord, more uncertainty.
Since I was elected, I have visited hundreds of local businesses, charities, schools and community groups, as well as holding hundreds of advice surgeries and ‘Meet Your MP’ events with local residents. I go out knocking on doors across West Oxfordshire every weekend, come rain or shine - ensuring that as your MP I am accessible to everyone I represent and can take action on the local and national issues which matter most to you. Through my casework, I have helped thousands of local residents. It is the part of the job you will never read about in the newspapers but I get results when people need my help.
This election is, of course, about the kind of MP you want locally, but it is also about the Prime Minister and Cabinet team you trust to run the country. Either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn will be in 10 Downing Street so your vote really matters.
If you want a strong local voice representing you in Parliament, and a Conservative Government safeguarding the national interest and taking our country forward, then I ask you to support me on 12 December.
PS - If you would like to join my positive local campaign, then do get in touch at email@example.com