I am delighted to serve as Wealden’s Member of Parliament, and I am thankful to the people of Wealden for placing their faith in me again in 2019. To receive the support of 37,043 of Wealden’s residents, with 60.8% of the vote, is truly humbling and only serves to underline the depth responsibility I have been given. I am especially proud to have been selected as the Conservative candidate in an open primary and to have increased the party’s majority in the constituency to 25,655 at the 2019 general election.
Within my constituency, I am proud to be the patron of the Hospice in the Weald, a patron of the Hailsham Cadets, President of Crowborough Cadets, Honorary Vice President of the Dorest Arms Angling Club, and a Breast Cancer Now Ambassador.
At Westminster, I am currently a member of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee, where I'm scrutinising the Government's response to Covid-19 and looking at how we can use these next few months to increase equality of opportunity and make the case for the market economy, free enterprise and free trade.
In addition to my work on the select committee, I have recently been appointed to the Panel of Chairs, overseeing Westminster Hall debates; as well as becoming a UK representative to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and sitting on its Science and Technology Committee.
As Transport Minister, I oversaw a large portfolio in the Department for Transport as Minister for Maritime and Minister for the Year of Engineering. It covered maritime, HS2, buses and taxis, as well as accessibility across all modes of transport.
My responsibilities included:
– Leading the introduction of the Maritime 2050 plan
– Setting key business, trade, finance, technological and environmental targets for Britain's shipping and ports industry
– Oversaw the Maritime and Coastguard Agencies, as well as UK Lighthouses
– Oversaw no-deal Brexit planning for the department, covering over 100 statutory instruments
– Leading the government's implementation of the HS2 high-speed rail network
– Oversaw the handing-out of a record £300 million of government funding to increase accessibility across the UK's rail network
In 2018, while responding to my first Transport Questions in the House of Commons, I became the first female Muslim to speak from the despatch. A century after women got the vote for the first time, I hope that today young people can see that regardless of their background, faith, race, gender or sexuality, there will be a warm welcome on the green benches, and no matter where you are from you can achieve your dreams and ambitions.
I have also served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Home Office, Lord Commissioner at HM Treasury, and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Transport. I was a member of both the Home Affairs Select Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee, examining some of the big security and international issues of our time, such as Daesh and the refugee crisis. I also sat on the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, sharing knowledge and experiences of Westminster to develop and promote open and transparent democracy, focusing particularly on women's issues. I also served as Chair of the Prime Minister's Apprenticeship Diversity Network, as well as serving as a member of the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission and the Pickles Review of the Conservative party's performance in the 2017 general election. I also led an independent inquiry into child abuse with the charity Barnardo’s.