I hope readers managed to have a pleasant break over Christmas and the New Year. Unsurprisingly perhaps given the events of the year just past, my New Year’s message is similar to that of last year, namely 2017 really was a momentous year in British politics. So for Members of Parliament, like anyone else, some time with family over Christmas provides a welcome respite before we re-enter the fray, re-energised and ready to address the challenges ahead.
Last May Shropshire Council elections saw little change, other than in Broseley. But the General Election in June saw a significant reversion to two party dominance of elections, as in the past. Both Conservatives and Labour increased their vote share from the 2015 election, with the other minor parties losing ground. Here in South Shropshire, I was delighted to be returned with an increased vote share and increased majority, but was surprised and disappointed the Conservatives lost an overall majority in the House of Commons.
Whatever we think of the result, it did confirm one thing – that Brexit must proceed. In June, over 80% of voters backed candidates who stood on manifestos which included respecting the decision of the British people in the referendum to leave the European Union.
So implementing Brexit will naturally take up the majority of Parliamentary time in 2018. The process by which we leave will define our country’s relationship with the European Union for years to come, so it is vital we do what we can to secure the best possible exit for Britain. But it is of course also essential to continue to address the issues facing the country today, and for me, this means ensuring families in South Shropshire benefit as we build a Britain fit for the future.
2017 will also be remembered for a series of tragic events, so I am also hopeful for a more peaceful year in 2018. The terrorist attacks the UK faced last year, including Manchester, Borough Market and Westminster Bridge, and the horror of Grenfell Tower were truly harrowing. In the face of these atrocities it was encouraging to see the way the country came together. I saw first-hand the response from our emergency services, which was exemplary, including the NHS, but I hope sincerely there will be no similar cause for them to repeat their actions again this year.
As always, I will continue to hold my regular surgeries in different towns across the Ludlow Constituency throughout 2018. If you would like to speak to me about an issue or concern, please see my website www.philipdunne.com for the dates and locations of upcoming surgeries. You can also raise a concern by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by writing to me at House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA.
If you would like to keep up to date with my work for the Ludlow Constituency, you can follow me on Twitter or Facebook by searching Dunne4Ludlow, or you can sign up for my monthly e-newsletter, either via my website above or by emailing me requesting to join my mailing list.
I wish readers all the best for 2018.
Philip Dunne MP