ANDREA JENKYNS MP COLUMN: 2017 is shaping up to be another exciting year

17 May 2015 .......    Andrea Jenkyns, new Tory MP who ousted Ed Balls from his seat in Morley. TJ100849h Picture Tony Johnson
17 May 2015 ....... Andrea Jenkyns, new Tory MP who ousted Ed Balls from his seat in Morley. TJ100849h Picture Tony Johnson

First of all, let me start by wishing you all a happy New Year.

I hope you all had a lovely, relaxing Christmas with family and friends and I hope 2017 brings you much happiness.

Christmas was a busy time for me as I moved house locally very near my constituency office and it was wonderful to be in my new home ready for Christmas.

Looking back, 2016 was an incredible year for politics, locally and nationally.

Locally, I have worked on 1,600 different cases over the past year, exploring varied issues surrounding my constituents.

As well as working on casework I have also visited 40 local businesses and held 60 surgeries to meet and keep in touch with the wonderful community of Morley and Outwood. Nationally, 2016 was the year of Brexit.

Undoubtedly, the year’s most significant development for British politics was the EU referendum.

On June 23, Britain voted to leave the institution, and set a new path of prosperity towards the future.

Before the referendum, I campaigned vigorously to leave, took part in TV debates and I was regional co-ordinator for ‘Vote Leave’ in Yorkshire.

Personally, I felt that EU bureaucracy had sapped our nation’s right to control its borders, laws, budgets and trade.

When, on June 24, the result became apparent that the majority of the Yorkshire and Humber region as well as the rest of the nation had voted to leave, I was incredibly proud and excited.

In Westminster, following the referendum, a Select Committee for exiting the EU was established. I knew this would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a part of our withdrawal process, so I campaigned to be a member.

I was elected and since then, I have been able to question witnesses such as John Longworth from Leave Means Leave and the Brexit Secretary David Davis.

Having visited 13 schools this past year and seeing the great work they do, I was delighted at being able to support them by asking the Schools Minister on curriculum and grading issues that head-teachers and school governors had raised with me personally.

Holding the Government to account on issues that affect my constituents is an essential responsibility, and it is a responsibility I take great pride in doing.

Looking forward, 2017 is already shaping up to be another exciting year for Britain. I look forward to seeing Article 50 invoked before the end of March.

And, as a member of the Brexit Select Committee, I promise to scrutinise this process closely to make sure the democratic referendum result is upheld.

For businesses, I am looking forward to seeing the benefits that lower business rates as announced in the Autumn Statement will bring.

I will also continue visiting local businesses as part of my ‘On the Shop Floor’ campaign, to make sure that they are being supported.

If you ever have an issue that you would like to raise with me, please do not hesitate to contact me at my website https://www.andreajenkyns.co.uk/contact-andrea.