MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

Regular followers of this column will be disappointed to read that this will be my last contribution for some time, as Parliament is dissolved on Monday and I revert to being the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Fylde.

As I prepare for the campaign leading up to the General Election on May 7, it has left me in a reflective mood as to what I have achieved since being chosen to represent Fylde in 2010.

One of my proudest days was when I secured £2m Government funding for a new Lytham St Annes M55 Link Road to replace the existing decaying moss road. All parties are currently working towards an agreement which will hopefully see building work begin as soon as possible.

Other highways investment has seen £50m Government funding committed for a new A585 bypass, to help traffic flow on the busy arterial route. I will continue to campaign for an extension which would see the bypass extended to the M55 via the ‘blue route’, to improve traffic conditions across a large area of rural Fylde.

Sticking on transport issues, I helped secure a reinstatement of the Blackpool North to London rail link and have campaigned for improvements to the South Fylde line. I also twice convinced County Hall to rethink plans to reduce bus services to some of Fylde’s most isolated rural areas.

I made sure a working airfield remains at Blackpool Airport following its recent closure and will continue pushing hard for commercial aviation to return.

I successfully campaigned for Enterprise Zone sites at Blackpool Airport and in Warton, which will secure employment in those areas, and supported BAE Systems in winning contracts which have protected hundreds of jobs locally.

I have fought for ironclad regulation around shale gas exploration. I recently voted in favour of a moratorium to halt the industry until questions surrounding regulation have been answered and have asked the Environment Select Committee to investigate its impact on rural communities.

But I have not just focussed on the big issues. Over the past five years I have helped thousands of individual constituents with a range of problems, which it has always been my pleasure to do.

It has been the proudest achievement of my lifetime to represent Fylde in Parliament and I would like to thank everyone who has supported me.

I hope to return to my column-writing duties in May as your MP following a successful General Election.

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