FOLLOWING his recent election win, Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi outlines his plans – both nationally and locally – for the coming five years to readers of The Observer:
“On May 7 you, the people of Stratford-on-Avon, returned me as your Member of Parliament. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You’ve put your trust in me for a second time and I’m determined to repay that trust in full, with five more years of hard work on your behalf.
The final result, which saw my majority doubled and the Conservative share of the vote increased to 57 percent, is a real tribute to the strength of our message. People could see that the tough decisions we’d made were turning our economy around but they were deeply worried about the threat posed to the recovery by a weak Labour government, propped up the SNP. This last point came up time and again on the doorstep, unprompted by me.
We now have five years of majority Conservative Government and I’m determined to make them count.
My top priorities for Stratford are delivering on my three key campaign pledges: securing the growth we need to pay for the best possible healthcare, fair funding for local schools, and making Stratford an even better place to live and work. To deliver on that third goal I’m committed to working with all parties to sort out the traffic problems in Stratford, including improvements to the Birmingham Road and a second river crossing, and also to getting our Core Strategy in place so new homes go where local people want them.
On the national side my focus will be on driving forward our economic recovery and ensuring it reaches all parts of the UK. Over the last five years British businesses have created 1000 jobs a day: four out of five full-time, three out of five outside London and the South East and four out of five in skilled positions. We need to keep up that good work. I’m also fully behind the Government’s plans to deliver 3 million more apprenticeships, so young people have the skills they need to secure not just a job but a career. I’ll be working closely with schools, colleges and local employers over the next five years to ensure we create those opportunities here in Stratford-on-Avon.
Alongside the economy, the coming Parliament will be dominated by two huge constitutional questions: Britain’s place in Europe and the future of our Union.
We will shortly be legislating to give the British people a say on Europe, for the first time in a generation. Our strategy is clear. We will go to Brussels to negotiate a better deal for Britain and we will put the result to you the electorate, so that you can decide on our country’s future. We want Europe to become more entrepreneurial and competitive, and we want to restore fairness to the free movement of peoples, so people come here for work not benefits. These are reasonable demands with strong support from like-minded European countries like Germany and the Netherlands. I’ll be watching negotiations very carefully and keeping you up to date on progress.
The second big constitutional issue concerns the future of the UK itself. The people of Scotland have spoken and we now need to deliver on the promises we made to devolve more powers and more responsibility to the Scottish Parliament. But it’s now time we listened to the people of England too. We need English votes for English laws to look very closely at proposals for more powers for the regions. I’ll also be picking up my campaign from the last Parliament to make April 23, St George’s Day and Shakespeare’s birthday, a national holiday for England.
In the words of the great Bard himself, what I want to do for Britain with my next five years in this job is help ‘Enrich the time to come…with smiling plenty and fair prosperous days.’ When I return to Westminster to back the Queen’s Speech which will bring those days closer, I will never forget the people who put me there and the job I’ve been sent there to do: to represent you, to stand up for Stratford-on-Avon.”