Well I didn’t see that coming. But I applaud the Prime Minister for calling an election. I understand her desire to have her own mandate for the coming years. In addition, there is a convention in Parliament that prevents the unelected House of Lords from voting down legislation if it is in a Party’s manifesto. This will be crucial for the Prime Minister with all the measures she will be wanting to take through Parliament in the coming years.

Brexit will be a major part of the election. A Conservative Government will take forward the wishes of the majority in last year’s referendum. As someone who voted remain and has always advocated a close relationship between the UK and EU, I accept the result of the Referendum. I therefore strongly support the Prime Minister’s determination to secure a negotiated agreement for the UK in terms of our leaving the EU and for forging a new trading arrangement for the future providing certainty for business, migration rights and movement issues. I believe the people of West Berkshire will also benefit from a close continuing security, intelligence and defence relationship with a strong and prosperous EU. I will work to encourage the building of new links between us and our closest neighbours. In the coming months and years I hope to be in Parliament pushing for a Brexit that works for businesses and those who work for them.

In this election I also look forward to talking about my past record and my priorities for the future. I have been part of plans that could see rough sleeping almost eradicated in West Berkshire. This is a goal we should all sign up to. I have also committed myself to making sure that the 2017 Year of Mental Health is successful in bringing real change to how we care for and treat those who suffer from mental illness.

Some people have flattered me by asking if I was “in on” the decision to call an election. The answer is an emphatic no. Along with most people it came as a complete surprise. As it was announced I was negotiating huge crowds with my children at Legoland. Try having a conversation with your campaign manager whilst sitting in a pirate ship with screaming children around you. Whatever the election throws at me it will be easier than that.