A busy first month in Parliament

Since my last column, we have had the pomp and circumstance of the Queen opening Parliament and the Queen’s Speech, reading out her new Conservative Government’s programme for the coming year.

I had the opportunity to make my maiden speech during the debate on the Queen’s Speech. It was made a little more challenging by a decision by the Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons, who was in the chair, to limit speeches to four minutes rather than six.

The opportunity afforded to backbenchers to drive forward key policies which have a direct impact on our area is exciting and challenging in equal measure.

As soon as I started, I noticed that the Deputy Speaker had become the Speaker, so I had to remember to refer to him, and as the timer on the wall clocked down (yes, there really is a stopwatch system), I saw the hard stare of the Speaker to wind up, so my speech was shorter than the planned version, which you can find online at www.

I met with the new Minister responsible for rolling out the North Northumberland Enterprise Zone to discuss how we make this happen quickly; the Secretary of State for Communities to discuss my social housing bond proposal; and discussed with the Chancellor and his team how we expedite A1 dualling progress.

Having made my maiden speech, I am now allowed to ask questions of ministers, and my first opportunity arose to ask new minister Rory Stewart about support for our farmers if voters decide we should leave the European Union.

My second question was asking Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt to review ambulance protocols where breaks stop paramedics being called to life-threatening 999 calls.

Locally, the challenge of getting long-term stability into the residential care home sector is testing us all, with Seton Hall Care Home looking to leave the sector and changes in plans from Abbeyfield Care Homes in Alnwick.

I have joined the Conservatives for Britain group of MPs who support the Prime Minister’s efforts to get a good re-negotiation package for our nation with the EU, but if that cannot be achieved, we would campaign to leave the EU.

Having a majority Conservative Government means that we will be able, at last, to get the EU referendum onto the statute book.

The business of legislation has got going. Two important bills are under way, the Scotland and EU referendum bills.

For Scotland, extended devolution on tax issues is a step in the right direction, as long as the revised funding package reduces the Barnett formula’s substantial benefit to those across the border.

The EU referendum bill is fully supported by the Conservatives benches, and also now the Labour Party under the interim leadership of Harriet Harman. This is great news as it will ensure that the British people get the chance to cast their vote on whether to leave the EU or stay in.

I have been able to raise the urgent problem of rural ambulance provision with the Health Secretary; the issue of lack of support for military veterans suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder; and lobby the Energy Minister to stop subsidy for onshore wind and give communities real powers.

The opportunity afforded to backbenchers to drive forward key policies which have a direct impact on our area is exciting and challenging in equal measure. I am taking up the challenge.

Perhaps my favourite moment of the last few weeks was meeting guide dogs who came to visit the House of Commons (with their owners) to discuss the challenges which face blind people due to pavement clutter and poor parking practices.

We have also had excellent events with Carers UK and Citizens Advice, organisations that do so much at grass-roots level to support constituents in need of help or guidance.

If you have any issues you would like to raise, call me on 0207 219 4437 or email me at annemarie.trevelyan.mp@parliament.uk