These are challenging days for our Country.
It is the first time in the job that I have genuinely found it tough to maintain that relentless positivity that I promised in the General Election just over a year ago.
I was extremely disappointed the Prime Minister chose to resign following the EU referendum, especially only 48hrs after maintaining he was ‘no quitter’. I came into Politics under David Cameron; he has dragged the Conservative Party kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. I could not have conceived of joining the Party before his premiership. His policies around social justice, life chances and opportunity for everyone regardless of the circumstances of your birth, drive my daily work in Plymouth. I would have liked to see him tough out this period; alas it was not to be.
We will now have a new Prime Minister in September. I initially backed Stephen Crabb as the candidate most likely to implement what I envisage as the future for the modern, compassionate Conservative Party, carrying on these vital themes from David Cameron’s tenure. He also quit in his quest to be the next Prime Minister, and I have been forced to look elsewhere.
I spoke to each of the candidates. I was particularly impressed with Theresa May’s calmness, confidence and commitment to social justice. She has done fantastic work in her current position as Home Secretary. Right here in Plymouth, no adolescent with a Mental Health problem will be taken to a Police Cell, ending that travesty that had existed for too long. Similarly, she has worked hard to shut down the legal high shops in Plymouth that cause such misery for some of our most vulnerable communities accross the City. She listens; she cares; and she is hugley respected across our Security services. I believe she will be a great Prime Minister and I will be supporting her.
In these times I am focussing hard on Plymouth. I am committed to delivering on what I was elected to do: make Plymouth a centre of excellence for Veterans care; reform public health; improve the economy and sort out our transport links – always focussing on our most vulnerable in our communities who find life a daily struggle through no fault of their own.
Finally a word on the post-referendum atmosphere in Plymouth. I turned from a boy to a man in this City when I arrived aged 19 at the Royal Citadel to 29 Commando, spent my formative years here and never left. I know and feel the fabric of the City. Last year I knocked on over 27,000 of your front doors in an effort to really get in the detail of the character and nature of our great City. Racism; hate crime; intolerance; intimidation; discrimination has no place whatsoever in our City, and it never has. Those perpetrating these acts are not Plymothians in the truest sense of the word. Their actions and words are simply an outpouring of their moronic nature; they are criminals and represent no-one. Every City has them; these are ours.
Please reassure all those in our communities who feel at risk at this time. The tide will turn; in a City like Plymouth, we will always have a bright future. I’m deeply committed to delivering that future that was promised when Britain leaves the EU and working out Plymouth’s place in it, to the benefit of all of our communties right across the City.