Happy New Year!

At the beginning of every year, most of us will vow to change our lives for what we perceive to be the better, as if, with the advent of January 1, our slate is wiped clean.

Usually, we will promise to lose weight, get fit, give up smoking, drinking or whatever other guilty pleasure in which we may indulge.

Because politics and my constituency of Mid-Derbyshire are my passions, my pledges surround my work as an MP and this wonderful part of the world.

Nationally, I will do everything in my power to make sure the Government’s deal on Brexit is the best possible and will press issues which have particular relevance to people in Derbyshire.

For example, just before Christmas, I demanded reassurances that the aviation industry would be seen as a priority in future negotiations. This question was asked because of its importance to Rolls-Royce and its supply chain which together employ tens of thousands of people.

I will stand up for the rights of children, not only in my constituency but across the world.

This is probably the subject which has lost me most sleep as a politician.

I could weep when I see the abuse of boys and girls, ranging from the rape and murder of Rohingya children in Myanmar to the horrors of domestic violence nearer to home.

Our children are our legacy - they are the future of the planet and we must nurture them, cherish them and make them safe to grow and flourish.

With that in mind, I also vow to stand against bullies - be they those who prey on our young or weak or those who think they can throw their weight around in the political arena.

An example has been my support of Jacci Woodcock who has worked so tirelessly on her Dying To Work campaign.

She has inspired me and is now inspiring thousands more after losing her job just because she is terminally ill.

Major companies and organisations have listened to her and changed policies as a result. Her work has demonstrated how individuals really can be a power for good. I am delighted to have helped her.

In 2018, I will continue to promote the wonderful Derbyshire countryside wherever I can and I will stretch every sinew to protect our heritage and green belt.

I am both mystified and devastated as to why planners seem to be willing to play fast and loose with our greatest assets.

It cannot be beyond the wit of man to consider developments with our history and the environment in mind but it is also in the interests of all parties to do so.

The country is pockmarked with brownfield sites and punctuated by derelict buildings, some which date back decades.

Surely, before there are any incursions into the green belt, we need to have a rigorous examination of these alternatives.

In 2018, I will continue to campaign on behalf of the great animals which are in danger of extinction.

I have spoken many times in the Commons on the subject of ivory bans but I do not confine myself to trying to save elephants. So many species are in peril that we must make certain that our generation’s legacy is not their demise.

Finally, I vow to continue to be seen in my community as much as possible and do my best for all of you whatever your politics.

That is not only my duty but it is my pleasure.

I wish you all a very Happy New Year.