Thank you for re-electing me as your Member of Parliament for the third time (in as many years).
It is such a privilege to represent our area and the responsibility is all the greater in this time of change for the country.
I hope I can repay the faith of those who voted for me in the years to come and earn the trust and respect of those who could not.
The national result was not as many expected, but the Conservatives won more votes and seats than any other party and were the only one in a position to form a government, which has now been established with the passage of the Queen’s Speech.
The Prime Minister chose to work with the Northern Irish DUP, which seemed sensible given the only alternative would have been another, immediate General Election.
I don’t share the DUP’s views on the rights of gay people or of a woman’s right to choose an abortion and don’t expect any change on those fronts whatsoever.
I do respect their passionate support for the Union. Indeed, one of the positives of the General Election appears to be re-affirming the importance of Northern Ireland within the Union and checking, firmly, the march of the Scottish Nationalists who want to tear our Union apart and infect our politics with division and false grievances.
We returned to Parliament in the sombre atmosphere that followed the terrorist attacks in Manchester and London and the heart-breaking fire at Grenfell Tower.
Courage, not rage, is required
Each of these tragedies demand answers — to be delivered by an independent, judicial enquiry in the case of Grenfell Tower — and actions, in tackling terrorism and extremism head on rather than merely with words of regret and sympathy, and by ensuring everyone’s home is safe and secure.
There have been ill-considered demands from some quarters for ‘Days of Rage’, the threat of violence and use of intimidating language, especially online.
In truth, it is courage, not rage, that is required.
We need the courage to face down nationalism, division and to bring communities together.
And we need the courage to seek the truth and act upon it, without fear or favour.
I will play my part in that.
Politics feels more polarised and angry than we have known in recent times.
With significant change, particularly as we leave the European Union, I will do my utmost to listen to all sides, not to be drawn to the extremes and protect our strong, tolerant and cohesive communities here in Nottinghamshire.
I look forward to working with everyone in our area, to continue to help unlock its potential and to realise its ambitions.