NEWS has finally come through that the Boundary Commission has accepted the Labour Party’s proposal to split my North West Durham constituency up into four separate constituencies, abolish the seat and displace me as the local MP.

While I knew it was coming, it was still deeply disappointing.

Having made the towns and villages of North West Durham my home, this was devastating news. With the help of hardworking local Conservative councillors and neighbouring MPs, I have campaigned relentlessly and successfully delivered for the people I have had the honour to represent.

While it is an undeniably sad moment, it is a good opportunity to reflect on the achievements that have been made in our area since I have been elected.

We have secured a state-of-the-art community hospital to replace Shotley Bridge, with tens of millions set to pour into a cutting-edge facility.

Across the North East there has also been record investment in our local schools, and there are hundreds more police officers in Durham than there were in 2019. We have secured £163m for our region’s buses, the biggest settlement in the country, and got £360m to transform the Metro. And then there’s our record jobs growth, falls in unemployment and in the benefits claimant count.

The link between constituent and local MP is one to be cherished, and it is not something I have taken for granted.

While I have enjoyed leading changes to the law on landmark legislation, like banning virginity testing and getting the ball rolling on extending pensions auto-enrolment, what I have enjoyed most is being out and about in the North East.

Through numerous apprenticeships fairs in Consett and Crook, three public meetings where local bus operators have sought to improve routes, visiting over half the schools in the constituency, supporting local businesses, hosting three pensioners’ fairs, hundreds of constituent surgeries and loads more – I have been fortunate to see a unique cross-section of North West Durham.

Although it is sad news, it will not stop me working as hard as ever to deliver for my constituents. I have been elected to serve the people until the next General Election, and no sooner will I stop.

My popular summer surgery tour begins next week, in which I will be in every town and village in North West Durham.

It has been the privilege of my life to represent the country’s most beautiful constituency. The stunning landscape, picturesque towns and villages and friendly people I have been lucky enough to represent in Parliament has been a true honour.

I will miss it dearly.