Tomorrow (December 12th) will mark one year since the 2019 general election. It continues to be the honour of my life to serve as Redditch’s Member of Parliament. I remain grateful and humbled that I was re-elected with more than 60% of the vote. I have and never will take any of my constituents’ votes for granted.

However, as we entered 2020, I don’t think any of us could have imagined how this year would pan out. But despite the extraordinary challenges we faced this year, the Government and I have not wavered from delivering on our election promises.

As we know, the election was about getting Brexit done. I delivered on my first election promise back in January when I voted for the Withdrawal Agreement. Thanks to the Government securing a majority, we were finally able to leave the EU after years of parliamentary deadlock. Redditch voted to leave the EU and I and this Government delivered on the referendum result.

Aside from Brexit, my top priority has always been the Alexandra Hospital as this is also the top priority of my constituents. We all want services to be returned to our town’s hospital, and despite the pandemic, I’m continuing to make progress in our collective fight to return a maternity and a children’s service to the Alex.

This year I launched the Alexandra Hospital Working Group. Following discussions with Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, I set-up this new working group with the Chief Executive, Matthew Hopkins, and Chairman, David Nicholson. The mission statement of this group is what is the art of the possible. This group will be used as a forum to discuss all matters relating to the Alex, and to intensify discussions over our campaign to return services to Redditch’s hospital.

Following the launch of this group, I really do believe we have made a big step forward in fighting for what’s best for the Alex. If we’re to return services to the Alex, then I must engage with health bosses in a positive and constructive way – and this working group is a clear sign of this new approach, but this doesn’t mean I won’t continue to hold the Trust to account. 

I’ve always said the Alex has a bright future ahead of it, and this new working group reaffirms the commitment I made to you that the Alex has been and always will be my top priority. I believe our campaign to return services is in a better place today than it was this time last year.