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 of 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 the 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 Dorset Arms Angling Club, and a Breast Cancer Now Ambassador. I am also a Trustee of The Seafarers’ Charity. I Chaired the Government’s Rural Affairs Group and work closely with farmers and the NFU. I am a supporter of the community shed program and championed the local amateur choirs throughout the pandemic.
I have run many successful campaigns in the constituency, managing to keep Fletching School and Ridgewood, Mayfield, Groombridge, and Hailsham post offices open. I also secured a vital £1.3 million for Beacon Academy’s new roof and a further £1.3 million to fix roads in East Sussex.
Previously in Westminster, I have held a wide range of roles as a whip. 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. I have also served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Home Office, Lord Commissioner at HM Treasury and Chair of the Prime Minister's Apprenticeship Diversity Network. Colleagues elected me to lead the Pickles Review of the Conservative Party's performance in the 2017 general election.
I was previously elected by colleagues to be a member of both the Home Affairs Select Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee. My work here covered issues such as security, policing, counterterrorism strategies and antisemitism. 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. Off the back of my work with the Home Affairs Committee looking at child sexual abuse, I led an independent inquiry into child abuse with the children’s charity Barnardo’s.
Presently in Westminster I sit on the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee, where I scrutinise the Government's response to Covid-19, UK supply chains, private sector competition, industrial strategy and COP26.
I led an inquiry on supply chain transparency which exposed slave labour in UK value chains and the data harvesting of British consumers. For this, I was sanctioned by the Chinese Communist Party in March 2021, the only woman in Parliament who was, in an unprecedented move by the CCP to intimidate British MPs. I led on the Genocide Amendment to the UK’s flagship Trade Bill, aiming to stop the British Government pursuing preferential trade agreements with countries committing real time genocide. For my work on Uyghur women in Xinjiang, I was nominated for the 2021 NATO PA Women for Peace and Security Award and came runner up to Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.
In addition to my work on the select committee, I have recently been appointed to the Panel of Chairs by the Speaker, overseeing Westminster Hall debates; as well as becoming a UK representative to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. I was also elected by backbench Conservative MPs to serve as Vice-Chair of the powerful backbench Conservative 1922 Committee.
In 2018, while responding to my first Transport Questions in the House of Commons, I became the first female Muslim to speak from the Dispatch Box. 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.