In recent weeks, I have had the pleasure of attending a number of engagements throughout the constituency; just last week, I had the honour of visiting East Claydon School to open their new dining room, and to launch their fundraising campaign for the building of new classrooms. It was a delight to see the improvements to the school first-hand, and I greatly look forward to seeing the school’s further development over the coming months and years.
Furthermore, I was pleased to attend the graduation ceremony of the University of Buckingham’s 2016 Education, Sciences and Humanities Research Programme, during which the students were awarded their well-deserved degrees. Naturally, it brought back memories of my own graduation in 1985 from the University of Essex, and I would very much like to wish all of Buckingham’s 2016 graduates the very best of luck in all of their future endeavours.
Business in the House continues apace, not least thanks to the Chancellor’s most recent Budget which was presented to the House last Wednesday. A number of people have enquired as to why I was not in the Chair for the Budget debate. Although on occasion the Speaker has presided over this particular debate, tradition dictates that the principal Deputy Speaker, the Chairman of Ways and Means, presides. This tradition harks back to 1641 when proposals for raising taxation originated in the Committee of Ways and Means – a tradition which continued until the Committee was abolished in 1967.
With Easter just around the corner, Spring has well and truly sprung here in Westminster. In the north of the constituency, there have been a few issues of flooding in recent weeks – about which I have made direct representations to the Chief Executive of the Environment Agency – but as I write, the sun is streaming in through the window of my office. I shall be keeping my fingers tightly crossed in the hope that this milder weather continues over the Bank Holiday weekend, and wish all readers a very Happy Easter.
This article was first published in the Herald on 23rd March and the Advertiser on the 25th.
Geographically, Buckingham is a rather large constituency but in spite of its rurality, and the great distances which sometimes separate one settlement from its nearest neighbour, I am repeatedly struck by the strong sense of community I observe when I visit local towns and villages.