Tom Hunt on taking on his new life as MP for Ipswich
PUBLISHED: 16:27 19 December 2019
In the first of his regular columns as Member for Ipswich, new Conservative MP Tom Hunt outlines what his priorities will be as the town's representative in Westminster.
It was a tremendous honour to have been elected as the Member of Parliament for Ipswich last week and to be writing my first column as the Town's MP. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Sandy Martin for the service he has provided the Town as the previous MP.
My key focus over this coming Parliament will be to deliver upon the promises I made during the election campaign and to repay the trust that has been invested in me.
I would like to thank the 24,952 people who voted for me, I was truly humbled to receive over 50% of the votes cast. However I would also like to make clear that my job is to represent every single person in Ipswich equally, whether they voted for me or not, or whether they didn't for me at all.
I will be your champion and will fight your corner whenever I can, whether that is through individual casework or local campaigns.
I will be ambitious for our Town and will always put Ipswich residents first, whatever the issue. My view is that I'm the servant of the people of Ipswich and that the 75,000 of my constituents are my bosses who I will have to report to at the next election.
Over the course of the General Election campaign our teams were able to speak to over 12,000 people across Town. A huge number of issues were raised directly with me but the top issue that kept on coming up time and time again were concerns over crime and anti-social behaviour.
This is a source of great concern for me. My view is that everyone deserves to feel safe and secure within the communities in which they live. We should all feel safe to go into the Town centre whenever we want to.
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The sad thing at the moment is that too many people across Town don't. Working to address these concerns will be my number one priority as MP over the coming months and I will work with whoever I have to try and progress.
A key focus for me and something I plan to raise in my maiden speech is the need for the police funding formula for Suffolk to be changed. We are one of the worst funded police authorities in the country and this is an unacceptable state of affairs.
I will be a watchdog in Parliament to ensure that our hospital gets the investment it needs and that we get the increased GPs and nurses necessary to decrease the massive pressure under existing medical professionals.
I will monitor closely the merger of Ipswich and Colchester Hospitals and if I believe its not working for our Town, I will not shy away from saying so.
An immediate priority for me will also be getting answers out of Highways England about the report they commissioned into the Orwell Bridge. It's time the report was published and that there are solutions to prevent the closure of the bridge during times of high winds.
I started carrying out my duties as MP this Monday. It's been a manic few days and there is a huge amount to learn but I am keen to start delivering for my constituents as soon as possible.
Already I have worked with the other Suffolk MPs in drafting a letter calling for improvements to the A14 and have spoken to senior representatives from Network Rail regarding the significant disruption that has been caused for commuters on our rail lines over the past few weeks.
This has been unacceptable and I have significant sympathy for all those who have been impacted.
This Friday I will be voting to Get Brexit Done and pass the Prime Minister's Withdrawal Agreement. It does feel quite unusual for my first vote to be on an issue of such monumental importance.
However, I very much look forward to voting with the Government on this vital issue. The clear expression at the General Election was that the majority of the country think the referendum result should be respected and Brexit delivered. I was elected on that platform and I have no intention of letting anyone down.