It is an enormous privilege to have been re-elected by my constituents in Northumberland as one of the four MPs to represent you once again as a Member of Parliament.
I said I would never take anything for granted and we have got out there, knocked on doors, talked to local people, and worked hard on the issues that matter to local residents – from Stannington to Slaley.
For the last four General Elections, the Conservatives have won the Hexham seat with an average of 42.2 per cent of the vote. However, this time, we increased the Conservative vote from 43.2 per cent in 2010 to 52.7 per cent. This was the highest share of the vote since 1959.
The 9.5 per cent rise for the party from the 2010 result to May’s vote was the second highest increase in the entire country for the 2015 General Election.
I was also extremely pleased to see the fantastic Anne-Marie Trevelyan win in the north of the county. She was a passionate advocate for north Northumberland as a candidate and she will make an excellent MP for the Berwick-upon-Tweed constituency.
The Conservatives didn’t just win in north and west Northumberland, we received the most votes across the county. The Conservative tally was 56,166, trailed by Labour in second place on 53,925.
Labour’s failure to win was caused by much deeper problems than Ed Miliband. Labour ran a campaign against a Conservative Party that simply no longer exists.
It told voters that the Conservatives didn’t care about opportunities for young people – despite the fact that in the North East there were around 36,000 new apprenticeship contracts last year compared to just 19,000 in 2009/10.
In my constituency alone, 670 local young people started an apprenticeship, up by more than 200 since Labour was in power.
Nationally, Labour once again told voters there was just 24 hours to save the NHS from the Tories. It seems lost on them, if not on the country, that there have been eight Conservative Prime Ministers since the NHS was founded in 1948 and it remains rated as one of the best healthcare services in the world.
I am truly humbled by the trust and support invested in me by local residents. I will continue to do my utmost to be a hard-working and effective local MP, as part of a strong Conservative team here in Northumberland.
It is with this in mind that I was pleased to be back in the House of Commons last week, which set out a packed schedule of bills in Her Majesty’s 62nd Queen’s Speech, the first Conservative Queen’s Speech in almost 20 years.
The Queen’s Speech set out plans for more free childcare, a freeze in income tax and VAT, as well as introducing the right-to-buy for housing association tenants.
The proposed legislation, as promised in our manifesto, also included more devolution for the North East and a system of ‘English votes for English laws’ at Westminster, cutting the total amount one household can claim in benefits from £26,000 to £23,000 and a well-funded and truly seven-day NHS by 2020.
This was a Queen’s Speech with a One Nation approach, helping working people in our area get on, giving new opportunities to the most disadvantaged, supporting aspiration and bringing our country together.
It clearly set out the Conservatives’ vision for Britain – where you can get a decent job, have a good education, buy a home of your own and have dignity when you retire.
This Queen’s Speech will also really help the North East in a number of ways, for example our commitment to full employment, including two million more jobs and three million extra apprenticeships.
With the election over, the hard work of delivering for Northumberland really begins.