Local Elections

We should respect all people who are prepared to put themselves
forward for public service as an elected representative. In taking
that step candidates open themselves up for scrutiny, debate and
criticism, and of course the final public judgement of their actions
at the ballot box. This is not something that everyone would be
prepared to do, and whether or not we agree with all of a candidates
views, we should thank them for taking that step.

At the council elections last week, a number long standing councillors
were not re-elected. I would like to thank them all for their service
to our community. So much of their work, like attending council
meetings and scrutiny sessions, and working with other local agencies,
goes unheralded, but is so important to the effective functioning of
our democracy. At these elections, more than any other I can recall
since I was elected as your MP, national issues have dominated local
considerations. In this case, it was clear that the uncertainty about
Brexit had a big impact not just on how people voted, but whether or
not they voted at all. This is of course a massively important issue
for our whole country, but it is not one that local councillors have
the power to decide, and I was sorry to see some excellent servants of
our community lose their seats for reasons outside of their control.

The resolution of the Brexit talks and making a decision on the
withdrawal agreement is and must be top of the agenda for parliament.
We need to pass the agreement so that we can get on with Brexit, and
start the transition process out of the European Union. I would like
to see this settled before 22nd May, so that we can avoid the
pointless exercise of electing members of the European Parliament, who
might then have to resign their seats a few months later. To achieve
this, there will undoubtedly have to be some compromise on all sides
in order to get the deal through. However, once we have legally left
the EU we will have the power to start the discussions on our future
trading relationship with the rest of Europe, something that will be
so important for our success in the years ahead. I think most people
would agree that we need to move on from this, and that the current
gridlock in parliament is creating a great deal of frustration and
uncertainty that is in no-one’s best interests.

Last Friday I was delighted to be invited to the Folkestone School for
Girls to meet with their debate group and students who are studying
politics. We covered a wide range of topics from tackling climate
change, to votes for sixteen year olds, and of course Brexit. It was
great to see the keen interest they all take in a wide range of
topical issues. I wish them well with their ongoing studies and I hope
they will maintain their keen interest in politics and current

Copyright 2019 Damian Collins. All rights reserved

Promoted by Russell Tillson for and on behalf of Damian Collins, both of Folkestone & Hythe Conservative Association both at 4 West Cliff Gardens, Folkestone, Kent CT20 1SP


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