This is my first column since my re-election as the MP for Skipton and Ripon and I want to thank you for your support and for choosing me to be your Member of Parliament.
It has been a huge honour and privilege to represent this wonderful constituency for the past seven years and, after a hard-fought general election, I am looking forward to doing so again.
I will be a strong voice for Skipton and Ripon during the Brexit negotiations and beyond, ensuring we get the best possible deal for the country and for our area.
I am also delighted to have been appointed by the Prime Minister as Government deputy chief whip.
We are approaching the summer holidays and this means that, aside from the continued frenetic pace of work in Parliament, I have had a number of requests from young people across the constituency to observe the workings of parliament and the office of their MP.
This year six young people from the constituency are spending a short time in my office and learning about how Parliament works from the inside.
I am incredibly impressed by the enthusiasm and calibre of these young people. This has led me to reflect more widely on the recent successes of young people in Skipton and Ripon and also on the wealth of academic and vocational options available to them.
Apprenticeships are central to the Government’s vision for improving the skills and opportunities that young people can access today.
I saw a fantastic example of this last week when I met with two constituents – Alex and Jacob – who have been selected to represent the UK at WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017, which is often referred to as ‘the Skills Olympics’, in the manufacturing team challenge.
Because of their hard work and the excellent support they have received they are now joining 32 other young people in representing the best of our country’s apprentices, and I wish them well.
In another example of our young constituents excelling in this area, Skipton Girls’ High School has been shortlisted for the prestigious ENTHUSE Award for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Secondary School of the Year.
Again, I wish them the best of luck as they attend the awards ceremony tonight.
Last week I met with a number of primary schools from the Ripon area to discuss their concerns and hear about the great work they are doing.
We are very fortunate in this area to have a diverse choice of excellent schools and I will continue to do everything I can to support them.
Before I draw my comments to a close, I want to mention Pateley Bridge and its entry into the Yorkshire in Bloom competition this year.
I know that the Nidderdale Chamber of Trade has been putting a huge amount of effort into matching the success they had in the Great British High Street Awards and I hear the judges’ visit last week went very well.
I would also encourage you to visit Pateley Bridge for its 1940s weekend on 29 and 30 July, which is certain to be a very enjoyable weekend.
I will be holding regular surgeries over the coming weeks.
For more details on these, please visit my website atwww.juliansmith.org.uk or contact my office on 01756 795898.