Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely has vowed to ‘battle for the Island’ in education, social care, job opportunities, housing and investment during his maiden speech to Parliament.
Mr Seely told MPs that the place he loved was often overlooked by Whitehall and he would fight for more help across a range of issues.
In his speech he said:
“I believe that we need a better deal for our island, and it is not just a question of money – although every little helps – I will fight for extra spending on health and education.
“It is about islanders working with the Government to generate ideas for the public good, and about the Government working with us and being keen to listen. I know that there are good examples of that happening, and I wish to encourage more of it.”
Moves to bring high-technology investment and affordable housing were priorities, as were improving education, making the island Britain’s top cycling destination and ensuring the Island’s cultural events continued to flourish, he told Parliament.
“We need to embrace the knowledge economy, and higher education. I look forward to working with the DoE and universities to find opportunities for engagement. We need to continue to drive all education standards on the Island, and I will continue to fight for the future of Sandown Bay secondary school”.
Bob also vowed to look at the ferry operators, a main issue for Islanders in present times…
“We need to engage with the ferry firms to provide a better service. Let me be clear: privatisation did a great deal of good in the 80s and 90s nationally, but the privatisation of our ferries was not such a great success. I do not have all the answers, but I know that we should not have started from that point. I am uncomfortable with the levels of debt that Red Funnel and Wightlink have, because islanders—who are not the richest people in the country—have to help to subsidise it in order to cross the Solent.”
In addition, Bob also called for the Island, working with charities, the Earl Mountbatten Hospice and Government, to become a national leader in ensuring quality of life for those in later life, combining health and social care, voluntary and state support, to enrich life.
He paid tribute to his predecessor Andrew Turner who he said work tirelessly for the Island for 16 years. Bob also quoted literary figures who had used the Isle of Wight as an inspiration including Keats and Swinburne.
Finally, he told the House of Commons:
“My fellow islanders deserve nothing but the best, and I will do my best to give them the voice that they deserve….I will battle for my island. I cannot promise to win every battle, but I will fight every battle on their behalf.”
“Working with many others, our Chamber of Commerce, our Council, our excellent Tourism team, voluntary groups and individuals, we will present ideas for a brighter future for our Island”.
The speech can be watched in full at http://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/4e86252d-0f5a-4b0d-9287-5aff739f254d?in=20:35:30.