Rachel Maclean, newly-elected MP for Redditch County, spelled out her determination to help her constituents and the Alexandra Hospital during her maiden speech in Parliament yesterday (Monday, 3 July 2017).
She was introduced during a debate on air travel, and during her 11-minute speech to the House of Commons took the opportunity to press home her passion on the subject of the Alexandra Hospital.
She said: “I want to reassure my constituents that the Alex and its service to patients and their families is my number one priority as their Member of Parliament. I raised that and the issue of the Worcestershire Acute Trust that runs the hospital on my very first day in the Chamber, and I will continue, again and again and again, to fight to protect and strengthen local health services.”
However she was also quick to pay tribute to her predecessor, Karen Lumley, stating that Redditch had a proud tradition of welcoming women MPs.
“Redditch has been fortunate to have had a number of formidable MPs among its previous champions,” she said: “I pay tribute to Karen Lumley, who sadly retired due to ill health after seven years of dedicated service. She was an MP who fought on behalf of her constituents for the Alexandra Hospital, for apprenticeships, for mental health, and for fairer funding in schools.”
She added that people would remember her with great affection for her ability to bring colour to the House, with her varied and unique choices of hair colour!
Rachel was also honest about her background, stating that she knew the challenges – and rewards – that faced small business owners.
“Redditch is a great centre for enterprise and business, with a wealth of manufacturing companies,” she said, but added she knew the sacrifices sometimes borne by business owners.
“I have been through the devastating failures that many entrepreneurs face, losing my home and livelihood before picking myself up and starting again. Anyone who builds a business will recognise that journey,” added Rachel.
She also recognised that there were those in society who needed additional help.
“There are people who feel overlooked and left behind where deprivation and poverty exist and where communities struggle with issues of physical and mental health. I therefore welcome the commitment in the Gracious [Queen’s] Speech to mental health, to investment in our national health service and to affordable housing. I look forward to working across the local community in Redditch to tackle mental health issues proactively and make sure that there is help on the ground where it is needed.”
Rachel also paid tribute to the New Town planners who created Redditch as a green and pleasant place to live and work, also recognising that the rural economy and farming is important to the outlying villages around Feckenham, Hanbury, Inkberrow and the Lenches.