I’ve heard from longstanding MPs that the first year in the job is a whirlwind. For those of us elected in December, it has felt more like being thrown into the deep end with no armbands!

The year started with the incredible elation of the election victory and of painting the red wall blue, voting to deliver Brexit just a few days into the job, helping secure the future of two Bishop Auckland Hospital wards.

But just as the ball had started rolling, in came COVID, and it felt like hitting a brick wall. For new MPs, we were just starting to find our feet, get our offices established, and form relationships with the key local stakeholders, then suddenly everything shifted onto COVID.

However, I wasn’t going to let a pandemic take away my drive to deliver for local residents. I set up the Coronavirus Angels, delivering food shops, medicines and other essential supplies to those self-isolating early into the pandemic, and helping to ensure no resident was left behind. I spent my summer recess speaking to local businesses and residents about how the pandemic has affected them, and have since fed back their thoughts to the Government. Since the second lockdown and introduction of tiers, I have been fighting even harder for our hard-hit hospitality industry.

But with the vaccine roll out, there is light at the end of the tunnel. My priorities from hereon out are supporting local people as we recover from COVID, and delivering on the local campaigns I was elected on.

It is an incredible privilege to do this job, but also a huge responsibility. I am passionate about delivering for my constituents and I will continue to work tirelessly to deliver for as long as they allow me to.