ICYMI: Sarah Green’s maiden speech

Here, in case you missed it, is our newest MP, Sarah Green’s maiden speech from Tuesday of this week.

A wonderful sight for those of us who helped get Sarah Green elected as MP for Chesham and Amersham. A short while ago, she made her maiden speech. It was warm, generous, gracious and funny. She paid a lovely tribute to her predecessor Dame Cheryl Gillan, talked about her beautiful constituency with huge affection and got in a criticism of HS2, a description of the roads as an assault course for drivers and a takedown of the Government for its absurd plans for voter ID.

And here it is in full, thanks to the magic of me asking her office for a copy:

It is a true privilege to stand here today, amongst these green benches, as the Member for Chesham & Amersham.

It should be said, however, that like so many constituencies, Chesham & Amersham is more than just two towns. We are a collection of proud and vibrant communities going from The Chalfonts in the South through to the Lees in the North, taking in the Missendens, the Kingshills and so many other villages along the way.

And soaring above it all are the magnificent red kites.

In representing the constituency of Chesham & Amersham, I follow the late Dame Cheryl Gillan. I know many Members and former Members alike mourn her loss. Please let me take this moment to give my condolences to the many colleagues, friends and family members who all sorely miss her.

I can only say that I intend to carry on her tradition of speaking truth to power and standing up for my constituents.

Dame Cheryl and I proudly share a Welsh heritage, and it so happens that Chesham and Amersham is something of a ‘destination’ for Welsh emigres. One of our most famous late residents was Roald Dahl.

If you look closely enough around Great Missenden, you will find, hidden in plain sight, little details and clues to locations from his stories, stories which, like many in this place, I grew up reading.

The inspiration for Matilda’s Library, is still used by local people today.

Danny’s dad’s petrol pump from Danny, the Champion of the World – you can find that too. Along with those Pheasants that Danny and his father so loved.

And Crown House, otherwise known as Sophie’s orphanage, from the BFG, still stands.

I am still on the hunt for a Giant Peach and that famous Chocolate Factory.

At the heart of the inspiration for many of these wonderful stories is the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and our woodlands in particular.

Therefore, there is a grim and unwelcome parallel between the story of Fantastic Mr Fox and the scene that greets you there today. The damage that Boggis and Bunce and Bean’s diggers wrought as they tore up the land hunting for that Fox echoes the current destruction now taking place thanks to the works around HS2.

It is bad enough to watch it from street level. But once you get up and above the works and see the full scale of it – it is devastating. What you see makes your heart sink where before the views could make your heart sing.

Something else that makes your heart sink are the roads around Buckinghamshire. I call them roads, but they’re more like an assault course for unsuspecting drivers. The shocking state of our roads is something my constituents are desperate to see fixed.

Sadly, this government is more interested in fixing a problem that doesn’t exist. There is no evidence of mass voter fraud in this country. And yet, with this Bill the government wants to introduce Voter ID at elections. Why? This Bill will result in countless voters being turned away at the polling booth for no good reason. We should be encouraging more people to participate in elections not introducing barriers to voting.

Far from strengthening our democracy, this Bill makes it harder for people to vote and undermines our independent elections watchdog.

Like all Members here, I did not enjoy the universal support of every voter. But everyone should be able to cast their vote unimpeded.

It goes without saying, however, no-matter how any one person voted, every constituent in Chesham & Amersham will be listened to, will be heard, and their interests represented in this place by me.

And I greatly look forward to working with colleagues across the House.

Thank you.

Maria Miller, who followed her, was exceptionally gracious to her – and that came across as sincere and kind.

A very promising first speech. I have to say I do cringe a bit at the use of the word “maiden” which sounds a bit medieval The Scottish Parliament started calling them debut speeches at one point. That would be a good thing for Westminster to adopt.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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