Two more of the Class of 2010 who stood twice in the same seat before successfully being elected made their maiden speeches on Monday.
“I came into politics as a Conservative party agent. For 10 years I was Angela Rumbold's agent, who I am very sad to say died on Saturday evening. I am very sorry about that, because she was an incredibly good friend and I am grateful for all the advice that she gave me – I am thinking about the speech that I am making now as well.”
He then went on to highlight the issue of combat stress:
“The big issue that I feel is going to be important in this debate on the strategic defence and security review is that of combat stress and the facilities that we need, including in Plymouth. I realise that a number of colleagues have spoken about this issue, but I very much hope that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State takes on board the ticking time bomb that is lurking in Plymouth as well. Coming from a service family whose father entered the Navy at the age of 14, I was brought up with an understanding of some of the mental health issues that went with his colleagues and friends. Recently, the Royal British Legion made it clear to me that it can take up to 14 and a half years for issues to do with combat stress to become apparent.
“Plymouth has a serious drug and alcohol problem. Unless we take action now, I am afraid that we will be putting greater pressure on our health service, police, prisons and housing, so I would say that this is a case of "Action stations now". If I do nothing else in my time in this House but raise the issue of mental health and combat stress, I feel that I will have made as significant a contribution as those other Members, including Dame Joan Vickers, who was a pre-eminent Member of Parliament.”
She told the Commons:
“Jacqui Smith and I have three things in common. We are both mothers with two children, we both have sisters called Sarah, and we both have husbands called Richard. But I think we will leave that one there.”
She went on to speak with pride about the constituency she has fought so long and hard to represent in Parliament:
“Redditch county is a mixture of rural and urban communities and in that there are many challenges to face. The town of Redditch has suffered the loss of many manufacturing jobs over the years, especially with the demise of the car industry. However, in their place, there are many small and medium-sized businesses that will be looking to us to try and build the economy and ensure direct investment into our country and into Redditch… I am so proud to be here, standing up for the people of Redditch county, and fighting on their behalf. It has taken me 10 years, but it has been worth it.”