Two Years of a Strong Local Voice

Andrew was elected as a Member of Parliament in June 2017, speaking at the two year anniversary mark earlier this week he described his work so far and thoughts on a 'Nation of Communities' 

"For the last two years it has been the privilege of my life to represent West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine.

When I was elected, I knew I had taken on a huge responsibility- to serve, to the best of my ability, this constituency, its people, businesses and community organisations- and to speak up for our region in Westminster. So, I got my office up and running straight away, and since June 2017 I’ve held a number of advice surgeries across the constituency.  

It’s been a huge pleasure and an honour to speak at local Rotary Clubs, schools and community events. I’ve visited employers across the region to meet and chat to the people who create the jobs that our communities rely on. I’ve met with charities and voluntary organisations, from Alford to Braemar- Inverbervie to Blackburn.

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Highland Games, galas, fairs and markets the length and breadth of the constituency, supporting the traditions and community spirit that make West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine such a great place to live.

At Westminster, I made 210 spoken contributions in the House of Commons between my election and January 2019 and voted in the House of Commons more times than any other Scottish MP in 2018. Just a few months after the General Election, I was elected onto the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee, which gave me the chance to help shape the policies which deliver for the most vulnerable people in our communities.

In 2018, I was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport- a role which gave me the opportunity to put local complaints about broadband infrastructure directly to the Secretary of State. I’ve held public Broadband forums across the constituency every summer since 2017 and fed the criticism and concerns of residents straight to the heart of Government.

In January of this year, my role changed immeasurably when I was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Prime Minister. It is, of course, a huge privilege to serve in such a position- especially with so many important decisions that will determine the future of our country being debated and decided.

But, behind the scenes, in meetings with ministers, at Cabinet and in my day to day work, I have never forgotten that the primary reason I was elected is to serve the people of West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine.

That’s why I’ve continued to write hundreds of letters to ministers in the UK and Scottish Governments, lobbying them on the issues that really matter to people in West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine. I’ve met Ministers regularly on behalf of constituents, using my position to fight for what matters to you.   

That’s why, despite everything and despite the unpredictable parliamentary calendar, I have continued to visit, speak and hold surgeries across the region. My team in Banchory has handled thousands of letters and emails- helping real people with real issues. I’ve used my influence to bring the Secretaries of State for Defence, Environment and Rural Affairs, and Health to visit the constituency and I guarantee, no constituency has been mentioned more in Number 10 Downing Street than West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine.

Of course, there have been disappointments. It is so frustrating to see decisions taken by organisations and bodies in Edinburgh, and at a council level, that MPs have no influence over have an adverse effect on the lives of constituents- from the ongoing crisis of Abbeyton Bridge, to the lack of trains stopping at our railway stations. Inappropriate development at Newtonhill being forced through by the Edinburgh government against local wishes, or rising business rates across the North East. These are serious issues and I won’t stop campaigning on them until we get the results our communities need.

Just over two years have passed since you first entrusted me to represent you at Westminster. I know these years have been difficult and unpredictable, but it remains a pleasure to serve you. And I will carry on doing so to the best of my ability, no matter what happens next."

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