THIS is my first column for several weeks due to the ‘purdah’ which newspapers quite rightly enforce in the run-up to elections.
Much of the past month has been taken up with doorstep activity, chatting to residents and dealing with the myriad local issues that are part of the life of an active MP.
There was also a great deal of campaigning for both the council and European votes which took place last Thursday.
Locally, I’m delighted that the Conservatives not only kept control of Swindon Borough Council, but indeed increased the majority.
The administration will continue to work hard for everyone in Swindon, and I look forward to working closely with them again.
In the European elections for our region, I am pleased that both Julie Girling and Ashley Fox were re-elected as MEPs, although it is disappointing that our Olympic hero James Cracknell did not make it over the line.
Much has been said elsewhere about these elections, and there will be plenty of time for party politics in the coming year, so for now we’ll move on.
On the social front, I have enjoyed a number of spring events in Swindon, such as the Open Sports and Fun Day at Hooper’s Field, Wanborough, where funds were being raised for Prospect Hospice by Wanborough’s tennis, bowls and football clubs.
The sun shone for a happy and successful day.
It was a privilege and pleasure to see the 50th Anniversary Concert of Swindon’s much loved Kentwood Choir at the Wyvern.
Sheila Harrod and her team have a wide repertoire and, backed by an excellent band, put on a show to remember.
We were all sad that one of the choir’s vice presidents, Dame Cleo Laine, was unable to attend due to illness, but spirits were definitely not dampened.
A couple of weeks ago, I accompanied Science Minister David Willetts to BD Swindon, which is a major life sciences plant based at Dorcan Industrial Estate.
It was my second visit to BD, which manufactures plastic syringe equipment and pioneers the use of 3D print technology as part of the process.
The firm has already expanded recently and is looking to grow further, meaning more high skilled jobs for Swindon.
Life Sciences is an important part of our local economy, with companies such as Catalent and Zimmer also thriving.
I have been working with Forward Swindon to encourage Patheon, which announced redundancies some 18 months ago, to retain its presence in Swindon, and some progress is being made on this front.
It’s a vital part of my job to encourage employers to invest and create jobs in Swindon, and it’s a role I take extremely seriously.