2016 has certainly been an interesting year in politics and I am privileged to have had a ringside seat to many of the key events. At the end of the year we look back and reflect on a seismic year in politics and huge changes in our country.
The EU referendum in June brought about the biggest political change in a generation. Whilst I voted to Remain, I said after the result that I accept the outcome and the vote to Leave and that my energy and focus will be on securing the best deal for the United Kingdom and that has been my focus since then.
I was sad that David Cameron resigned following the result. I felt he had been a good Prime Minister and worked hard for our country but I respected him for his position and wish him well for the future. In the leadership election I supported Theresa May and am pleased with the job she is doing as the new Prime Minister.
The referendum itself was overshadowed by the murder of my friend, the Labour MP, Jo Cox. She was Deputy Chairman to me on the All Party Group for Ending Homelessness which we set up together in Parliament. Ending Homelessness has been a key issue for me in Parliament and I am pleased the Government pledged over £100 million of funding for homelessness in the Budget in March and I was proud to sponsor the Homelessness Reduction Bill which is progressing through Parliament at the moment. All of these will stand as a testament to Jo’s work.
Nationally we voted to renew Trident in July. We live in an increasingly dangerous world so we need a strong defence. It is vital for our national interest that we maintain our independent nuclear deterrent. I have also continued my work this year to support the Armed Forces and to thank our forces for the work they do to keep us safe.
Locally, the economy in Northampton continues to improve and we have high levels of employment and less people relying on benefits. I have continued to have full surgeries, I have helped thousands of constituents with issues or problems, and hundreds of people have visited Parliament for a tour. I was also very pleased to be named in June as the fifth best performing MP in the country for replying to constituents.
But 2017 will be a challenging year ahead with new world leaders, a firm but reactive economy and details of the Brexit negotiations to be taken forward but this is a challenge I look forward to being a part of.
I would like to wish you and your families a very happy Christmas and best wishes for the New Year in 2017.