It is with a with a heavy heart and after much consideration, that I announce my decision not to stand again as your Member of Parliament at the next election. Serving as your representative has been an honour and a privilege, especially as it allowed me to serve the city in which I was born, raised, and brought up my own family.
My political journey began in 2000 when I was elected to represent the Harefield Ward, covering the council estate where I was born. After earning the trust and support of my constituents and colleagues I went on to be elected five times to the City Council, later assuming the leadership in 2010 after serving as the Deputy Leader.
In addition to my role on the Council, I served on the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority for sixteen years and as Chairman for six years.
My first attempt at election to parliament was in 2010 where I narrowly missed out by a mere 192 votes. At the next election in 2015, I was fortunate to receive the support of a greater number of people and emerged victorious, going on to win three general elections in total. My campaigns centred around my local credentials and the needs of our area. You are likely familiar, or perhaps bored, of my well-known ‘Made in Southampton’ logo, which has been prominently displayed on countless leaflets, letters, cards, and posters.
During my time in Parliament, I championed a multitude of causes. I supported initiatives promoting reading for children, led the charge in the campaign to stop leaseholders in flats from being burdened with the bill for fire safety defects, and I successfully secured £3m in funding from the Treasury towards a lasting legacy to the iconic Spitfire, also ‘Made in Southampton.’
Nothing stays the same for very long and I feel it is time to pass the baton to a new generation. It’s a really difficult decision but I have always felt you need to know when it’s the right time to step aside. After serving for ten years in the Royal Air Force and sixteen at British Airways, I have finally decided a life of travel and spending weeks away from home is taking its toll. It’s time to spend more time with my family and friends.
Until the next election, I will continue to represent you and your interests with unwavering dedication. Your concerns and needs will remain my priority during this transitional period. Additionally, I am wholeheartedly committed to supporting our Prime Minister, both in the lead-up to and beyond the forthcoming election. Rishi Sunak has shown remarkable policy judgment, commitment, and a dogged determination that will undoubtedly serve our country for years to come. I pledge to do everything within my power to support him, as well as my association and my successor, in the coming months and years.
Once again, I want to express my sincere gratitude for the trust you placed in me and the invaluable support you have provided throughout my tenure. It has been an extraordinary privilege to represent you and work towards the betterment of our city and country. Although my role as your Member of Parliament will soon come to an end, I am filled with optimism for the next chapter of my life and the opportunities that lie ahead.