I am so delighted to have been elected as the Member of Parliament for the Devizes Constituency. On Election Day I completed my marathon tour of all 54 polling stations across the Devizes Constituency. It was a great way to spend election day and I was massively impressed with the professionalism and good humour of the council staff and local assistants everywhere.
The Devizes Constituency Count took place at Salisbury Leisure Centre where the declaration came at 5am. I had won with a majority of over 23,000 - I was naturally enormously relieved and pleased – thank you to everyone who voted for me. In my speech I said the national result reflected the decision of the country to reject division, come together and move forward as one country.
Monday saw over 100 new MPs arrive at Parliament where we were issued with passes, laptops, and a lot of information - but no offices, which will be allocated in the New Year. I am lucky to have inherited a great staff team from Claire Perry O'Neill so I am better supported than most new MPs.
On Tuesday Parliament met to elect its Speaker - Lindsay Hoyle was returned unopposed, with much joking and ceremony. It was my first time in the Chamber as an MP and I was, as you can imagine, somewhat awed by the occasion and by the responsibility it represents for me as an individual and as your representative. But everyone has been incredibly welcoming, and the combination of tradition and informality is surprisingly enjoyable.
I was sworn in on Wednesday, in a 30 second ceremony by the despatch box. Again, the solemn words made me feel my responsibility and the obligation I have to serve our nation as best I can. Afterwards I filed past the Speaker for a little chat - he said, ‘Devizes! The town with the brewery! So, I said we’d arrange that in 2020.
Then, on Thursday, came the big occasion of the State Opening and the Queen’s Speech. I am enormously proud of the measures announced, to transform our society and improve Britain’s standing in the world. The legislation will give me many chances to fight for Wiltshire schools, for health services and policing, for young people, for the environment and the rural economy, and the military.
And then today (Friday 20th) the moment came which, more than any other, my Conservative colleagues and I were sent to Parliament to take part in: the vote for the EU Withdrawal Bill, and the timetable motion which will ensure it passes in time for Brexit on 31 January. This was my first ever vote and it might turn out to be the most important one I will ever cast. I am enormously proud to have contributed to this crucial democratic event.
I am also acutely aware of the numbers of people - including a significant number of my own Constituents - who still think Brexit is a bad idea. I passionately hope that getting this Bill through, and the new trade deal we will negotiate with the EU next year, will mean we can put the Brexit argument behind us, and move forward together.
So: a historic week for our country and a memorable one for me. I’m spending time in the Constituency with my family and hope to bump into some of you over the Christmas holidays. Please do get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org if there is anything you’d like me to help with. Meanwhile, a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year to you all.