It has been an honour to be the MP for Wycombe since 2010. My wife and I have found it a pleasure to live in Wycombe all these years. Whether it is running through our beautiful countryside, enjoying our diverse restaurants, or seeing a production at the Wycombe Swan, I have always enjoyed everything our community has to offer.

Given my large national profile over the past decade, my work with our fantastic local councillors, activists, and community leaders has often been lost in the noise. This is not to mention the thousands of people who have been helped by my office and I on too many different issues to count.

I am proud of much of what has been achieved since I was first elected. I thought I would take this opportunity to set out just a few of the many projects and campaigns that I have worked on and led for our local area as its MP.  

Secured an urgent treatment centre for Wycombe

It is a reasonable question to ask why there is not a full A&E service at Wycombe Hospital. Everyone would welcome a full A&E, no one more than me.  Since my election, I have investigated every possibility, but, unfortunately, modern medicine means a full A&E in Wycombe is just not possible. No amount of political will can trump the reality of improved modern medicine and it is misleading to suggest otherwise.

Old-style A&E departments gave peace of mind but were not able to provide the standard of care we demand today. While specialisation significantly drives up the quality of care, it means hospitals must serve larger populations and even entire counties. The practical reality is that we will not see Stoke Mandeville’s facilities relocated to Wycombe. Apart from any other factors, Stoke Mandeville is central to our county and there is not sufficient space in Wycombe.

Over the years, many people standing for election have promised people they will find a way to bring back A&E. Any such promise is either terribly ill-informed or deliberately misleading. At the last election, even the Labour candidate had to admit at the Bucks Free Press’ hustings that his campaign to return A&E had no basis in reality. I have always been honest about healthcare in our town, whatever the political risks. I think Wycombe people deserve that.

During the General Election campaigns of 2015 and 2017, I made clear that I would work as hard as I could to secure an NHS Urgent Treatment Centre at Wycombe Hospital, which is classed by the NHS as a Type 3 A&E. After years of campaigning, meetings and hard work, I am delighted that our campaign was a success and our Urgent Treatment Centre opened in December 2018. I know that having this kind of health centre close to the town centre is important to all of us.

Worked to drive up the quality of Bucks healthcare

Early in my time as the MP for Wycombe, I discovered the scale of the then failings at Bucks Healthcare, putting patient safety at risk. I found myself maintaining a dossier of healthcare failings. In order to force change at the Trust, I used parliamentary privilege to make the problems public. This pushed the NHS into including Bucks Healthcare in the Keogh Review, leading to a turnaround.

I am delighted that Bucks Healthcare now provides a vastly improved standard of care to all in Wycombe and beyond and in a number of areas is now a national leader in healthcare[1].

A testament to these improvements can be seen in the Wycombe Elective Surgical Centre being selected by the regional NHS team for the prestigious national surgical hub accreditation program earlier this year[2]. One of only 31 of these hubs in the country. The hub will serve as a major training centre, drawing surgeons and anaesthetists to our area and helping to improve standards and recruitment. This is a long way from the special measures Bucks Healthcare was put into in 2014.

Saved the Wycombe Driving Test Centre

A campaign that I have spent a lot of time working on over the past few years is saving and improving the Wycombe Driving Test Centre.

I am delighted that the High Wycombe Driving Test Centre has now reopened and commenced testing. When it was threatened with closure on separate two occasions, the team and I spent many hours speaking to people in the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, Ministers in the Department of Transport, and the Council. I secured and held a debate in Parliament[3] on the issue. It has been hard work but has been worth it. I was determined to see a test centre reopen in High Wycombe.

It was not right that learners would be forced to travel great distances to take their driving tests in often unfamiliar areas at a significant financial cost. I am pleased that it has now reopened; I know that there are still some issues with the availability of driving test slots. I continue to work closely with the test centre, instructors, and relevant stakeholders on improving the test centre.

Improvements to our Schools

We all know how important education is to ensure a bright future for our young people and our community. Whether it was speaking at local schools, hosting students in Parliament, or raising the concerns of headteachers with Government, I have always made supporting and improving the schools in our area a key part of my work.

Similarly, I have long highlighted the issue of school funding in Wycombe and that fairer funding is required for the schools in our area. On numerous issues such as this one, Wycombe is often lumped in with the whole area of Bucks despite its different communities and needs. I have regularly brought Ministers to see our schools in Wycombe such as the former Minister for School Standards Robin Walker. 

Happily, Wycombe will now receive record amounts of funding allocated to our schools with over £90,000,000 of funding being committed to our schools for next year, and seven schools in Wycombe receiving extra funding to upgrade their facilities.

This is building on an already strong education system, with new international rankings showing a considerable improvement in the level of reading, maths, and science in UK schools.

Some of my other campaigns and work for our area include:

  • Successfully campaigned for the criminalisation of trespassing in order to stop the Traveller encampments that had often caused serious issues for our area.
  • Worked with other Conservative MPs to ensure a smooth transition to Carousel operating our bus services and that there would be no disruption to our buses after Arriva announced that they would be closing their bus depot in Wycombe.
  • Actively campaigned against the ULEZ expansion given the increased costs it would cause for many in our area despite the lack of evidence surrounding its benefits.
  • Successfully campaigned for M40 noise barriers in Wycombe.
  • Helped secure nearly £12 million to rejuvenate Wycombe High Street.
  • Campaigned for constituents affected by IR35 alterations and the Loan Charge.
  • Working with local stakeholders such as Wycombe Homeless Connection, we successfully campaigned for alterations to the Local Housing Allowance to support those at risk of homelessness having brought the Minister to Wycombe to discuss the issue.
  • Supported the residents of Pine Trees and mediated solutions to many of the problems that existed on the estate.
  • Secured and led the first-ever full debate in Parliament on human rights in Kashmir following local concerns about the situation there.
  • Successfully campaigned to Government for fairer funding for the fire services in Buckinghamshire over several years.
  • Successfully campaigned for the axing of the “tampon tax” to support and make the situation fair for all women in Wycombe.
  • Consistently campaigned against HS2 including securing and leading the first Westminster Hall debate on HS2, joining the Transport Committee to secure an inquiry into HS2, and regularly raising constituent concerns about HS2 in Parliament and to Government.
  • Worked with local stakeholders and community leaders to secure the funding for traffic calming measures in Castlefield.
  • After hearing the concerns of some of my constituents about MND research not reaching its full potential, I spearheaded a national campaign and organised a debate in Parliament on the issue to increase the amount of funding available. This led to the Government pledging to fund the requested £50 million into further MND research

This is only a part of the work I have been proud to do for Wycombe since I was first elected as Wycombe’s MP in 2010. MPs rarely get the opportunity to speak about the positive work that they have done for their areas: local good news is alas rarely news at all.

There is always more to do. I have projects I want to get done for the people of Wycombe and I hope to have the opportunity to carry them forward.




Comments are closed.