THROUGHOUT my time as an MP I have always prided myself on being as accessible as possible, holding regular surgeries and meeting as many businesses and people as possible.

It can often seem that MPs become part of the ‘Westminster bubble’, listening to opinions and issues which can be so remote from England's market towns and rural villages and I will not allow myself to become one of those MPs. To ensure everyone has the opportunity to speak to me I will be starting the New Year by committing to the following:

1. Holding a fully open drop-in-style surgery in each of the four market towns regularly.

2. Continuing to hold weekly appointment basis surgeries across the constituency.

3. Holding monthly Mature Matters forums focussing on the needs of the older members of the community and meeting those who are not connected digitally or on social media.

4. Continuing my fortnightly door knocking programme, talking to people direct on the doorstep and listening to their issues.

5. Continuing to visit and support voluntary organisations and local schools.

6. Visit at least two local businesses per week to understand their challenges and support them to continue to grow and hire.

In 2017 I had the pleasure of replying to more than 5000 emails and letters sent by constituents and received more than 1,000 messages on social media. If you are not able to come to one of the surgeries or would prefer to write then please do get in touch by writing direct to my office address or to

This week we returned to Parliament and continued where business left off with debates on the future of UK customs provision once we exit the European Union.

Whilst negotiations are ongoing and it is impossible to know the type of deal which will be agreed, we need to prepare for every eventuality and I am glad that we start the year planning for our future outside the EU.

Businesses I have spoken to across the constituency continue to invest and grow but need assurances that plans are in place to ensure there is no shock, whatever the outcome. I will continue to speak to businesses to understand their concerns and ensure these are reflected in the ongoing debates and future planning.

This week I had the pleasure of organising visits to Parliament for three individual groups and two school groups. It is fantastic to be able to share with everyone the rich history of our democratic institutions and I hope to welcome many more in 2018. This is another fantastic way of bringing constituents and Parliament closer together and is always a pleasure to arrange. I hope everyone enjoyed their visit.