Making sure constituents’ voices are heard

Mo Farrah after missing out on a gold medal
				 Picture: Adam Davy

VERITY LUSH: Leave me to browse the make-up counter in peace

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It’s been a pretty hectic, humbling but very exciting time since I was elected to become Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South.

Despite the challenges of a new workplace and some arcane rules, I’ve pretty much got to grips with Westminster and I’m now making sure constituents’ voices are heard in the corridors of power.

I am adamant that the defence of our country should not be compromised and the Royal Navy should not see its budget unduly cut

It’s quite a privilege to be joining committees and groups and having access to the highest levels of government, while trying to make a difference for Portsmouth.

I now sit on the Education and Adoption Bill Committee, which is looking at the planned legislation before it goes to the House of Commons.

This role gives me Schools Minister Nick Gibb’s ear and I have wasted no time in praising educational success in Portsmouth, as well as mentioning schools which need more attention and nurture.

There are, of course, downsides to my new life and travelling between Portsmouth and Westminster on a weekly basis is one of them.

The current journey times mean that it’s difficult for people to commute, or to spend a decent day out in either city.

It is for this reason that I have begun the fight for a well-equipped fast-train service between London and Portsmouth.

I have had meetings with some stakeholders and aim to work with the Department for Transport to get the best deal for Portsmouth.

It’s about time that people recognised the Southern powerhouse too.

Defence is at the very heart of Portsmouth, so the forthcoming Strategic Defence and Strategy Review is something I will looking at very closely.

I am adamant that the defence of our country should not be compromised and the Royal Navy should not see its budget unduly cut.

The assurance from the defence secretary that the new aircraft carriers will have their maintenance in the dockyard is positive news.

I hope that there will be further defence provisions to guarantee employment and expertise in the city.

Finally, I’m delighted that Ben Ainslie Racing has a fantastic new facility on the waterfront in time for the arrival of the America’s Cup.

This world-class competition is going to be a big boost to the local economy and to the prestige of Portsmouth and I’m very excited about it.

But it’s also a learning curve for the council to get traffic flow and parking right for the influx of visitors, while not inconveniencing the local residents.

To do my bit, I will be cycling everywhere, as usual.