“It’s called labour for a reason,” we were reminded by the midwife in the early hours of Sunday, December 22.
I have watched my wife, Jo, complete marathons but what women go through to give birth is in another league.
This was truly exhausting, an experience I’m unlikely to forget, even though my role was straightforward: timing contractions, and generally providing support and encouragement.
Our son, Andrew Lennox Marshall Hames, was born a healthy 7lb 10oz. I’m really proud of Jo and we’re both very grateful to the wonderful team of NHS midwives who helped deliver him. I’m pleased to say that mother and baby are doing well.
In order to make time for my new family, without letting my constituency work slip, I have stood down from my role as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Nick Clegg. When I told Nick, before Parliament stopped for Christmas, that I would be wanting more time to spend with our new baby, I knew he would understand. I shall miss sitting in on the discussions around the Cabinet table each week, and the chance to see the coalition at work up close – it has been a privilege and an education.
Instead, in 2014, the priority for my work as a local MP will be to build on the strong economic recovery of recent months and make sure people in our part of Wiltshire benefit from it.
Following the launch of our new TransWilts rail service last month, campaigning with Wiltshire College in support of its bid to rebuild Chippenham’s college campus is now top of my list.
The number of Jobseekers in the Chippenham constituency has fallen by almost a third since May 2010, but there is still much more to do. That’s why I’ll continue to work with local businesses to help them create more opportunities, especially apprenticeships, as part of the Liberal Democrats’ national campaign to help businesses create a million more jobs for a stronger economy.
I am taking paternity leave for part of January, so will not be conducting constituency surgeries. However, we will be holding weekly sessions in my office in Avonbridge House, Chippenham, for you to meet a caseworker, should you need my help.
These will be on January 9 (11am-12.30pm), January 14 (12.30-2pm) and January 20 (3-4.30pm).
I hope the storm and floods didn’t ruin your Christmas and wish you a peaceful and prosperous New Year.