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Leigh On Sea News: Westminster Report - BY Southend West MP Anna Firth - Conservative MP of the Year.

Leigh On Sea News: Westminster Report – BY Southend West MP Anna Firth – Conservative MP of the Year.

Westminster Report - BY Southend West MP Anna Firth - Conservative MP of the Year.

BY Southend West MP Anna Firth – Conservative MP of the Year.

THE House is yet to sit for 2024, and after a wonderful Christmas break, which saw Scape Interiors at 79 Broadway crowned Best Dressed Shop of the Year, over 100 entries to my Christmas Card competition and incredible events throughout Leigh and Southend throughout the festive period, I am really looking forward to this new session of Parliament, which begins on Monday January 8.

I was delighted that Iain Dale, on his podcast hosted with Jacqui Smith, For The Many, named me Conservative MP of the Year in their For The Many Awards 2023.

Iain is one of the most respected and experienced political commentators of our day, having been in the industry for 25 years, and it was a true honour to be praised as a ‘great campaigner’ and for the way I have ‘taken up the mantle’ following the tragic death of Sir David.

Campainging for Leigh and Southend is truly the privilege of my life, and it was wonderful to have these efforts noticed by such an outstanding national commentator who has done such excellent work in the political space.

This nomination offered an excellent opportunity for reflection on the work we have achieved so far, and to focus my energies on the year ahead.

It has been a busy year rife with successfully won campaigns. I am delighted that the beautiful statue of Sir David, created by Andrew Lilley, has been funded by the generous donation of £48,000 by Dr Vijay Patel, and that Lady Julia has chosen such a lovely place for it to be erected.

The statue will stand close to the Chalkwell Lifeguards station, looking out towards the pier and over the ocean, which were two of Sir David’s favourite parts of Southend. It will be a welcome addition to our already gorgeous coastline.

I am also delighted that the ‘Missing Millions’ have finally been delivered to Southend Hospital. I have fought tooth and nail for this funding, which was promised prior to my election, and truly welcome the intended £110 million boost, which will increase the number of beds, upgrade emergency departments and improve cancer and planned care.

The long-awaited funding from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) will support Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, and its hospitals in Southend, Basildon and Broomfield, to help make the hospitals fit for the future.

The Trust will get an initial £40 million between now and March 2025, helping it to carry out critical preparation works and complete some elements of the building works, with the rest of the money set to be delivered in 2025.

It has also been an excellent year for delivering on two of my key campaigns to make Southend safer – we have seen the closure of the critical loophole in the sale and purchase of zombie knives, and nitrous oxide has been added to the Class C drug list, making it a criminal offence to use and provide the drug. My new position as PPS to the Home Secretary will allow me to continue to deliver on this thread of my campaign, with renewed opportunities to work closely with the relevant ministers and department to ensure necessary change.

Looking to 2024, I am hugely pleased to have already begun work on my new Private Members’ Bill, The Pet Abduction Bill, which will see new changes to the law reflecting the highly significant emotional impact that pet theft has on owners.

Currently the law treats the theft of a much-loved pet in the same way as a theft of an inanimate object, which is an inaccurate reflection of the consequences of pet abduction. I am looking forward to working closely with a variety of organisations and MPs, hopefully from all parties, to secure this much-needed change.

I also look forward to delivering the fourth of my groundbreaking water summits, where I bring together the key stakeholders, including Surfers Against Sewage and Bluetits Chill Swimmers, alongside Anglian Water to deliver on our shared vision for Southend as an international exemplar for water surface management. I am delighted that each meeting has been more successful than the last, with Anglian Water promising to deliver targets five years ahead of the national average. I am determined to continue to hold them to account so that our waters can be kept clean and beautiful for everyone to enjoy.

I am very much looking forward to the next twelve months, and would like to wish all members of the local community a happy, healthy and successful 20254.



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