In four weeks’ time we shall have a new Prime Minister.
Back at the start of the contest my friend Kemi Badenoch MP, threw her hat into the ring and I joined her campaign team.
Kemi and I are quite close in our political outlook so joining her team was a natural fit. She may not have been a household name in the country but is highly regarded in Westminster and her campaign was well supported from the outset.
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Very quickly as the national debates began, Kemi’s vision and case for the country electrified a leadership campaign that was otherwise focusing mainly on tax cuts. She became the insurgency that the Conservative party needs to re-energise and get on top of the multiple challenges that the country faces.
She has been fearless in taking on the thought police who see racism and transphobia in everything we do and also the layers upon layers of blocking tactics from quangos and what has become known as ‘the blob’, plus a small minority of motivated civil servants, who frequently try to frustrate the primacy and will of government.
She came across strongly as refreshing, honest and authentic; someone who wants to give Britain back its purpose, ambition and standing by tackling the big challenges head on.
Kemi progressed as far as the last four before being knocked out. She was outgunned, but not outflanked. That said, her impact has been immense.
The remaining candidates are recognising some of Kemi’s policy ideas as a vital ingredient to the newly forming government in September and I suspect strongly that Kemi will play a major role in that government, whoever becomes the new Prime Minister.
Exciting as leadership contests are to discuss national policy priorities, it is, as ever, local issues that have taken up most of my time this summer.
My office has been inundated this year with emails and letters from constituents who have had difficulty accessing face-to-face appointments with GPs and suffering huge wait times in A&E. I have visited a number of GP surgeries and spoken to other professionals to hear first-hand the issues from the supply end.
It is clear that a mixture of the continuing ‘total triage’ method of assessing appointments brought in during the Covid crisis and a huge backlog of patients now coming forward to see the doctor after holding back during the pandemic, are major crisis contributors as well as a national shortage of GPs.
This in turn has driven desperate patients from primary care to A&E, which in turn is clogging their system in Northampton General Hospital leading to longer waiting times.
Hence at the penultimate Prime Minister’s Questions I raised the issue of funding a ‘walk-in’ urgent treatment centre in the grounds of the hospital as one measure that could alleviate A&E waiting times and take some of the pressure off GP surgeries in Northampton.
We have had a good recent track record in building a case, lobbying and securing funding for both a new Children’s A&E and the new adult A&E which is opening shortly.
The NGH management has already identified a site in the hospital grounds.
All it needs now is the funding and this is why, when Parliament returns next month I will be lobbying and campaigning for the funding needed.