I’ve been back at work locally and in Westminster following the General Election the other week – I’m honoured to have been re-elected as Member of Parliament for Crawley, and the issues which were raised with me on the doorstep were in my mind last Thursday when I took the oath of office.
There is far more to serving as an MP than the boisterous excerpts of Prime Minister’s Questions each week. While it’s important for our head of government to be held to account in this way, other parliamentary work takes place in a far quieter environment – not just in the House of Commons chamber, but in a plethora of committee rooms and offices throughout the parliamentary estate. Part of being an MP is working alongside those whose opinions we may not always agree with, but seeking common ground with respect. Last year I set up and was elected to chair the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Blood Cancer. It’s a role which includes working with blood cancer charities, and liaising with medical professionals, Government ministers, patients and their support groups. Membership of the group in the previous parliament included Conservative, Labour and Democratic Unionist Party MPs. I look forward to working alongside a range of parliamentary colleagues in the Commons and Lords, with the interests of blood cancer patients and their families – particularly those from Crawley – in mind. Another cause I’ll continue to pursue on an all-party basis is animal welfare, a subject close to my own heart and those of many across town. During my time as Crawley MP I secured and led a debate calling for the introduction of mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses to ensure humane treatment for live animals in such facilities. I was delighted that this commitment was in the 2017 Conservative manifesto.
Last Friday marked a year since the awful murder of Jo Cox, as she was on her way to provide assistance to her constituents in Batley & Spen. My thoughts and prayers are with Jo’s family as we all remember. Her cross-party work on loneliness lives on and is a shining example of collaboration.