Last Thursday, the British public made a choice about the future of our country’s relationship with the European Union. The turnout here in Swindon was an impressive 76%, and I am delighted that so many of my constituents have taken this opportunity to have their say in one of the most important decisions facing our country in a generation.
Whilst I was disappointed with the outcome, I supported the decision to hold the referendum in Parliament and I am pleased that our government has given each of us an equal share of the vote. Whatever our vote may have been, we all owe thanks to our Prime Minister for his commitment delivering this referendum as part of our government’s manifesto pledge, and for his tireless service to our country during his time in office.
For those of us who voted to remain in the EU, it is crucial that we respect the decision and turn our attention to the challenges that lie on the road ahead during these uncertain times. The One Nation policies of the Prime Minister must continue, and it is imperative that our new leader has the skills and strength required to bring us together and tackle those who seek to divide us.
I have no doubt that Britain can continue to thrive if we work together, and I will continue to work towards the betterment of our town and our country as I have done as your local MP for the last six years, alongside my colleague Justin Tomlinson. Our views on the EU may differ, but we are united in our determination to continue working hard for fellow local residents.
Locally, it has been both positive and reassuring that some of our town’s largest employers like Zurich, Nationwide and Honda have been so quick to reaffirm their commitment to Swindon’s industry following the referendum result.
On Saturday, I was delighted to open the festivities for Swindon’s Armed Forces Day, an important event in Swindon’s calendar. Our Armed Services are an ingrained part of Swindon’s history, and I am proud to represent a constituency that holds our military in the highest regard. Armed Forces Day is the perfect occasion to celebrate those connections, as well as remembering the debt of gratitude we owe to those proud men and woman in the Armed Forces community who help keep our country safe. Not only does this day commemorate troops who are currently serving in the military, but also service families, veterans, and cadets past and present.
The small committee of volunteers who organised this event worked tirelessly for almost a year to put on a show full of entertainment for everyone to enjoy. There were performances from the Great Western Youth Band, Britannia Majorettes and a parachute display team, as well as some good old fashioned family fun, including a pie eating completion and dog show. Military based charities were also on hand to offer support and advice.
On Sunday, I was thrilled to take part in a special Swindon 175 Civic Service of Thanksgiving at one of Swindon’s railway churches, St Augustine’s Church in Rodbourne. The service was a wonderful celebration of Swindon’s past, present and future and was broadcast live on Swindon 105.5 from the church. I especially enjoyed listening to Even Swindon Primary School children who shared their hopes and dreams for the future.
2016 is a very important celebration for our town as we mark the anniversary of the birth of Swindon New Town 175 years. A whole series of fantastic events have already taken place across the town and there are many more to look forward to including, Brunel the Opera, featuring over 100 singers and performers and a parade of classic and modern cars on the world famous and totally unique Magic Roundabout.
It is fantastic to see so many talented local people taking part in the events that have been organised, as well as seeing how Swindon’s 175th birthday celebration are bringing people in the town together.