This will be
the last of the weekly articles I have written for this newspaper since
I became your Member of Parliament nearly 27 years ago.
It has been a long innings with many high points and a few lows. I have
been sustained throughout that period by the support of my family.
But the thing that Sandra and I have valued most is the warmth of the
friendship we have been lucky enough to enjoy from you, the people of
Folkestone and Hythe. That has never wavered and it has greatly enhanced
the privilege of serving you as your representative in the House of
I am often asked what I have enjoyed most in my parliamentary career.
The truth is that what has given me the greatest satisfaction has been
the help that I have been able to give those of you who have written to
me about your problems or brought them to me at the advice centres I
have faithfully held every fortnight.
Of course I have not been able to help everyone. As I have frequently
told those of you who came to my advice centres I have not been able to
wave a magic wand. There have been all too many problems I have been
unable to solve. But I have always tried my best and it is the times
when I have been able to get bureaucracy, both national and local, to
change its mind and to right some wrong that has given me the greatest
We are fortunate enough to live in one of the most beautiful parts of
our country. I used to describe it as one of England’s best kept
secrets. It is certainly a part of the country which has seen many
changes in the last 27 years. Hopefully it is now becoming much better
I certainly love it and Sandra and I hope to carry on living here.
And we will always be grateful for the welcome we received when we first
arrived all those years ago and the friendliness we have enjoyed since.
So thank you for all that. Thank you, too, for giving me the opportunity
to serve you.
I wish my successor the very best of fortune. There is no better
constituency to represent.