As many readers will have seen, last month I left my position as Minister of State for Health, as part of the Prime Minister’s reshuffle.
It was a tremendous honour to serve in Government since 2010 – first as a Government Whip until 2012, followed by Minister for Defence Procurement until 2016, and then as Minister of State for Health for the past 18 months.
I have been heartened to receive so many kind words from constituents about my time in office. Serving as a Minister is a remarkable experience for any MP. It provides an opportunity to effect real change on a national scale, while sharing responsibility for the government’s work and helping deliver reform to improve people’s lives. It requires commitment and energy, and at times can be frustrating when the system proves slow to turn – but when you succeed in making changes you know it can make a real difference.
For me, personal highlights include being able to undertake work to enable the launch of our new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth - whose commissioning ceremony I attended just before Christmas – and putting in place more routes into nursing, so more people can achieve their dream of becoming an NHS nurse.
I am proud of the role I was able to play in working for both David Cameron and Theresa May as Prime Ministers, and their Secretaries of State, in seeking to make Britain a fairer country with opportunity for all. I had the good fortune to work with some talented Ministers, outstanding civil servants and dedicated NHS staff and Armed Forces personnel, whom I would like to thank for their stalwart support in both the Department of Health and Ministry of Defence.
I have now returned to the backbenches, somewhat surprised by the sense of liberation I feel personally, but also with optimism for the future. My main purpose since first elected in 2005 has been to serve the people of South Shropshire, and my determination to do so is unchanged.
I now have greater control of my own diary, and therefore more time, as well as the ability to speak on any topic on the floor of the House of Commons - which Government Whips cannot do at all, and Ministers only on their area of responsibility. This should allow me to be more visible in fighting our corner more directly. Indeed, at my first opportunity from the backbenches on the day after I left the Government, I was able to use my new found freedom in the House to raise the importance of our community hospitals in South Shropshire.
I shall continue to support the Government’s work to deliver Brexit alongside sound economic policies and important reforms that benefit us here in South Shropshire. The wider reshuffle has injected fresh talent into the Government and Conservative Party. I look forward to seeing how they continue the vital work of improving the quality of life for all of us.
As ever, I am always be happy to take up cases on behalf of constituents. So please do feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to raise any issues or concerns.