Julia Dockerill MP column: Parliamentary work begun in earnest
PUBLISHED: 12:00 24 June 2017
Sitting down to write my first column for the Recorder as Hornchurch & Upminster’s new MP, I realise this is one of the first opportunities I have had properly to reflect on the whirlwind of the past seven weeks.
Memories and moments jostle in my mind as I sort through the highlights of the campaign trail, recall my jampacked first week in the House of Commons and look ahead to the political challenges set to define this Parliament.
Undoubtedly one of the best parts of the campaign was the series of Saturday street stalls we held across the constituency at which I spoke to and debated with residents from Upminster to Harold Hill.
I met lifelong residents who can recall when Wingletye Lane was surrounded by open countryside, as well as those who can trace roots to the island of Grenada or the Isle of Dogs. What united nearly all of those I spoke to was a fair-minded decency, an approach to life that places hard work at its centre, and straightforward, honest aspirations for home, family and country.
I take those conversations with me as I enter Parliament, always remembering my role in giving voice to those views in Westminster and the privilege bestowed on me on June 8. The work has already begun in earnest.
I have taken up casework on schools, healthcare and community safety, and arranged constituency meetings with local leaders.
By the time this column is published, the Queen will have rolled into Parliament amid ceremonial fanfare to open the new session and I shall likely be preparing my Maiden Speech.
It is tradition to pay tribute to both predecessor and constituency in your speaking debut, and thankfully the dedicated service given by former MP Dame Angela Watkinson and the conversations and meetings I have had with residents make this an easy task.