MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

THE Christmas period is always my favourite time of year.

As well as an important religious occasion it’s a chance to see friends and family, have a break from the strains of work and to reflect on another year gone by.

So I thought this week, rather than going into too much detail about the last seven days, I would lay out my views on 2010.

The first five months of the year were essentially in campaign mode.

Fortunately with the help of the many volunteers who helped me along the way and, of course, the people of Fylde who voted, I was successful.

My thanks go out to everyone.

This, of course, meant I was actually an MP and had to get my head around what to do next.

Fortunately I received excellent support from the party along the way and managed to get a good team of staff together – two of them local – pretty quickly to help me to begin tackling constituent’s problems.

Since then it has been all go.

While the coalition took shape there were many doubts as to how the Government would function.

But in truth, despite the difficult decisions, that has been the least of our worries.

Much more troublesome has been the astronomical financial deficit we were left with by the previous Government and the tough decisions made have been hard for everyone.

Constituencies like Fylde have suffered setbacks as a result, not least the cancellation of the Nimrod and Harrier programmes which have affected BAE Systems, as well as other job cuts in the public sector.

To the people who may be under threat of losing their jobs I doubt I can spread any Christmas cheer.

I can only promise, however, that I will continue to fight the corner for Fylde in Westminster next year and push the Government to do everything they can to empower the private sector to create the jobs needed to fill the void.

For those of you who are interested in a bit of heavier stuff, there were actually some very significant political developments this week.

There were some very innovative policies launched with the Decentralisation and Localism Bill which give powers back to town halls and end a lot of Whitehall interference.

And there were, of course, cuts made to town hall budgets and incentives for local authorities who keep council tax low.

Fortunately for Fylde residents the oft-criticised local council have been exemplary in preparing and have long anticipated there grant may reduce.

This gives me great hope that front line services will continue to be looked after in the New Year.

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