On Tuesday last week I took the oath to Her Majesty The Queen to serve in my fourth parliament as your MP. It is an incredible honour to be able to do so, and I am grateful for all of the support I received during the general election. As the House of Commons gathered this week to re-elect The Speaker, and then to hear The Queen’s Speech setting out the Government’s programme for the year ahead, there was the clear sense that this was not just the start of a new Parliament but a new era. Not only does the Government have a clear eighty seat majority, but the House is full of many new faces; this also includes a record number of women MPs.
Throughout the election campaign, the Conservative Party promised that if we were elected with an overall majority we would deliver Brexit by the end of January. On Friday we took an important step forward to achieve this when the House of Commons voted to approve the introduction and second reading of the European Union Withdrawal Agreement Bill. The Bill will complete all of its stages through Parliament after Christmas, to ensure that it's set in law in time for us to leave the EU under the agreement negotiated by Boris Johnson with other the other European leaders.
The Queen’s Speech set out a wide range of commitments to deliver the new investment in public services that we promised during the election campaign. Following my work over the last three years as Chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, on the need for us to do more to protect people from harmful content on the internet, I was also pleased to see the Government restate its commitment to create a legally binding duty of care for social media companies, to act against the dissemination of such content on their platforms. The Queen’s Speech has also set out a range of measures to support the building of more affordable homes to rent and buy, and to provide further assistance for first time buyers to get on the housing ladder. I was pleased to see this week as well that David Monk, the Leader of Folkestone and Hythe District Council, has further extended the Council’s commitment to build and bring back into use more council housing. Their plans, including the development of the Otterpool Park green town, would allow them to build a further 1,200 council homes over the next ten years. Our area can become one of the leading districts in the country for the provision of new affordable homes for local people to rent and buy. This investment will also help create and sustain more local jobs.
Many residents will be pleased to see that the new junction 10A on the M20 is now fully operational. Although there has been disruption during its construction, this is an important piece of new infrastructure that will help us to better manage traffic flows in the future.
Finally, I would like to wish all readers a very Happy Christmas.