Maybe that County Times, Oswestry and Borders Chronicle and Cambrian News may want a column to mark the end of 2017 and arrival of 2018. If I write 400 words as a blog post, James in my office will be able to chop it to fit what’s wanted. May write another less political.
“2017 was politically turbulent at Westminster. The driver of this turbulence was the General Election in June which produced a ‘hung parliament’, something we have not seen in Britain for many decades. As with all such parliaments, this meant two or more parties seeking an agreement to form a Government. The Conservatives and the Democratic Unionist Party, after much debate, came to what amounts to a ‘Confidence and Supply Plus’ agreement, which has proved to be very stable. This sort of arrangement is common in the rest of Europe.”
“Personally, the General Election was very much a ‘mixed bag’. It was disappointing that the Conservative Party lost its overall majority, but in Montgomeryshire, it was a success beyond our wildest dreams. After more than a century of almost always coming second, Montgomeryshire is now the safest Conservative parliamentary seat in Wales, with a majority nearing ten thousand. No-one could have predicted that. It was my personal political highlight of the year”
“The Conservatives also enjoyed great success in the elections to Powys County Council in May. Not many years ago, there had not been any Conservative Councillors - ever. Since May, there have been 14, and the party has joined with an Independent Group to run Powys County Council. The Council Cabinet have an incredibly difficult job ahead of them, restricted by a dreadful financial settlement from the Welsh Government. I will do all I can to work constuctively with our Council.”
“2017 has been a very good year for our local economy. Unemployment has fallen to levels lower that I’ve ever known. The hugely important Newtown Bypass will probably be ready for traffic in 2018, opening up the towns of Machynlleth and Llanidloes to benefit from any Mid Wales Growth Deal. The next major transport developments must be a new Dyfi Bridge and a new A458 road from Welshpool to beyond Middletown.”
“Personally, I do need a few days break. The contentious Brexit debate, and my work in the Wales Office with the Secretary of State, Alun Cairns and Minister, Guto Bebb has been relentless. But I know it’s important for Montgomeryshire, which is why I’m so committed to doing my best. I’m also hugely supportive of the Prime Minister, who has ignored the appalling way she has been treated over recent months, but has won great respect for her sense of duty and dedication. And she has delivered, despite so many talking down our great nation and willing her to fail. 2018 will be another very challenging year, but I really do think we can be optimistic about the future for Montgomeryshire, Wales and the United Kingdom.”