Today I attended the special Conservative Party meeting held at the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre in Westminster to hear the result of the leadership election. Boris Johnson’s very strong showing, with over 66% of the votes cast by members of the party, gives him a clear mandate to lead and tackle the challenges that will lie ahead. In his acceptance speech he reaffirmed his commitment to deliver Brexit by the end of October and to unite the country with a vision to invest in education, improve infrastructure and get the economy moving forward. His leadership has my full support and after a difficult year for the country we can now focus on the future, united behind a new Prime Minister.
Education has been a key feature of the leadership campaign, and as the school year comes to an end it’s been good to meet so many local students over the last week. Last Wednesday it was great to meet the year seven pupils from the Turner Free School in Folkestone during their visit to parliament. They had enjoyed a tour of the House of Lords and in the historic Westminster Hall I was able to speak to them and answer questions about my role as an MP. On Friday I visited the Marsh Academy in New Romney and again spoke with their year seven students in the school’s theatre. It was an excellent opportunity to answer their wide range of questions which covered issues like Brexit, the next leader of the Conservative Party, and what more we can do to tackle pollution and improve air quality. We also discussed their support for the ‘send my friend to school’ campaign. This is organised by Oxfam and champions the right of children all around the world to receive an education. I have also been sent some other beautifully illustrated messages supporting the same campaign from students at St Eanswythes, Christchurch and St Mary’s primary schools in Folkestone. This is a really important issue and I fully support the objectives of the campaign. It is great as well that it has also captured the imagination of our local students.
Last Friday I met with Susanna Howard the founder and artistic director of the Living Words charity, based at The Glassworks, the creative work space run by Creative Folkestone in Tontine Street. Living Words does great work helping people living with dementia and also people who have confronted mental health problems in the past. They have an innovative approach that has been particularly effective with people suffering from more serious stages of dementia and I wish them well for their future work. I also met with Jo Nolan the chief executive of Screen South to hear more about their recent projects, including establishing a digital work hub, also at The Glasshouse. This will be a great addition to the creative business infrastructure the town has to offer, and they are already working with a substantial local network of film makers and technicians.