I hope readers had a pleasant Christmas and a Happy New Year. I am delighted to resume my regular Letter from Westminster, having been re-elected for the fifth time as your Member of Parliament for the Ludlow Constituency.
I would like to start by thanking each of the 32,185 people who voted for me last month, almost two thirds (64.1%) of all who voted in the Ludlow constituency. It was truly humbling to receive an historic majority, both in number (23,648) and in percentage vote share (47.1%). I shall work hard to repay the trust voters have placed in me.
This new year, and new government, also gives the chance to renew our politics and inject a fresh impetus into a House of Commons that for the past two-and-a-half years was paralysed through Parliamentary arithmetic. I saw some good colleagues from all parties lose their seats, which is the sad nature of politics on a human level. But I am pleased to welcome the new intake of MPs, and have already been helping those finding their way through the passages and procedures in the House of Commons.
I returned to Westminster before Christmas to find a very different Parliament than any I have attended before. A record 220 women were elected at this election, which represents 34% of all MPs – the highest ever percentage. There are 10% from ethnic backgrounds across Parliament and 24 openly LGBT Conservative MPs. All help to make Parliament more reflective of the country at large.
For those of us who take an interest in Defence issues, I am also pleased that veterans and reservists now make up 7% of the House of Commons – including the newly elected Stuart Anderson in nearby Wolverhampton South West (former Royal Green Jackets) whose campaign I supported. This wider intake of defence personnel will help shine a light on defence issues, and support the work of the new Office for Veterans Affairs.
For me, the work began straight away. While there are clear national priorities for the government – especially getting Brexit done as soon as possible - I intend to live up to the priorities I set out during the election. I shall be putting pressure on the government to deliver more GPs and nurses for our NHS, and will support putting record NHS funding into law. I also intend to continue my role championing services in rural areas.
Another top personal priority will be to continue scrutinising the government on its environmental performance and ambition, to ensure that we respond to the pressing climate emergency.
As I have done since first elected in 2005, I shall continue to hold regular advice surgeries in the towns around the Ludlow constituency, details of which can be found on my website www.philipdunne.com. You can also contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org should you wish to raise an issue or concern, or call my office on 01584 872187.
I am excited to be part of the new Conservative majority government and relish the chance to improve conditions for all across South Shropshire.