2016 will surely go down in history as a year packed with many unexpected and memorable events. The Brexit Referendum, Theresa May becoming Prime Minister, the election of Donald Trump as US President, the tragic murder of my MP colleague Jo Cox, and the sporting achievements of our Olympic athletes, as well as tennis superstar Andy Murray, will long be remembered.
This year has also witnessed a number of human tragedies, including the horrors in Syria and the refugee crisis, the migration of people across Europe, and the hunger and suffering across many nations because of famine and from other natural disasters.
Our country and the world are looking for leadership, understanding and commitment to take action to help the plight of those suffering, and deal with the many ongoing issues.
However, I am convinced that in our new PM, Theresa May, we have a leader who appreciates and understands the aspirations and concerns of our fellow citizens. She has prioritised the issues of Brexit, the economy, education, and those of our people who are only just about managing. She has already displayed considerable skill and talent as our PM, and will undoubtedly ensure that British interests are always paramount in her meetings and discussions with other world leaders.
We have achieved a lot over the past six years: the deficit is down, more people are in work than ever before, the lowest paid have been taken out of income tax, a new National Living Wage introduced, one and a half million more children in good or outstanding schools, and 3 million new apprenticeships. We should be proud of these achievements. However, there is still more to do and that’s why this Government’s driving mission is to build a country that works for everyone, not just the privileged few.
I am sure that 2017 will deliver various challenges but I also believe it will present many and varied opportunities for our nation and our people. I know we will rise to the occasion and I look forward to continuing to serve all the people of Bexleyheath and Crayford, as well continuing as a Minister in Theresa May’s Government.