So, after a General Election that took a lot of people by surprise, both for being called in the first place and for the outcome, I am back returned as Chester’s MP.
Let me start with the most important bit: thank you to the city for the honour of re-electing me.
And thank you too to the Chester & District Standard for giving me the space twice a month for the MP’s column. It’s a great way to stay in touch with our city.
One of the consequences of the hung parliament is that the government wants to avoid having votes, as things are much tighter for them. So we are having debates but fewer votes at the end, and so far only one piece of legislation: A largely uncontroversial law reforming air travel operators’ insurance.
All the committees have to be reformed, with the Chairs of select committees elected by the whole House, so the first two weeks back were full of campaigns by MPs seeking to get those important jobs. I nominated my friend Damian Collins, Tory MP for Folkestone, for the Chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, and he won, which was convenient because I was then re-elected back on to that select committee, as was another friend, our neighbour Ian Lucas, MP for Wrexham.
All-Party Parliamentary Groups have to be formally re-founded. I was re-elected Chairman of the Aerospace Group – an industry vital to Chester and the whole UK economy. But there are so many varied all-party groups, for every part of the economy and for every country on the planet. And they must all be formally re-established at the start of the new Parliament.
Back home the work continues as ever. It is a mixture of meeting the needs of individual constituents, and working on large projects to drive our city forward. No surprises then that at the first opportunity I mentioned the M56 and the need for investment to upgrade it and stop all the jams and delays.
And we’ve had a significant win: backbenchers from all parties have forced Theresa May to hold a public inquiry into the blood contamination scandal, which affects several people in Chester. They or members of their family were given blood products in the 1980s from the USA, contaminated with HIV and Hepatitis. Many victims have already died, but we have fought for justice for the victims to get to the truth. Achieving a win like that after along campaign demonstrates that politics really works.
Let’s keep going.