It was the privilege of my life to be elected as your Member of Parliament just over a year ago. From dealing with the pandemic, securing more money for pothole filling, and protecting the Surrey Hills, to assisting with local businesses and supporting the Chancellor with the Covid-19 economic response in my role as PPS to HM Treasury, last year was certainly a busy start. As a newbie MP, still learning the ropes, I wanted to make myself as accessible as possible last year. I hosted surgeries in the Westway Centre, worked with the Caterham Flood Action Group, and heard from our young people in local schools. I also carried out virtual constituency visits, held remote surgeries, and hosted Facebook Live Q&As. But this year I hope to meet many more of you in person.
Nine months on since the start of the pandemic, almost a million people up and down the country have received their Covid-19 vaccinations, including at East Surrey’s vaccination centre at the Westway. It is no exaggeration to say that Britain has led the charge on this front. The Government has secured access to over 350 million vaccine doses through agreements with seven separate developers. We were the first country in the world to have a clinically approved vaccine for supply.
Finally, 2020 was characterised by unprecedented challenges. I hope that 2021 will be characterised by an unprecedented recovery. After four and a half years of division, I am delighted that Britain has secured a free-trade agreement with the European Union – the first deal based on zero tariffs and zero quotas that the EU has ever agreed. From my perspective, I am very much looking forward to working hard on your behalf in 2021 and wish you all a happy and healthy new year.