Building a High-Skilled Economy: 17th June 2010

Anna Soubry (Broxtowe) (Con)
It is kind of you, Madam Deputy Speaker, and generous of my hon. Friend the Member for Stockton South (James Wharton), to allow me to speak. I know that the clock is against me, but I am no stranger to that. For many year, I worked in television so I am used to the ticking arm and the fierce direction of a floor manager and director who told me, in no uncertain terms, to shut up. I also worked as a criminal barrister for 16 years, so I am also used to someone firm in the chair telling me in even firmer terms to shut up, and on those occasions I never argued.

This is a great opportunity to pay tribute to my predecessors and to give a short explanation of the constituency that I have the honour and privilege to represent. I know that my hon. Friend the Minister knows the answer to the question that many ask about the exact location of Broxtowe. It does not exist on any map, but I urge all hon. Members to look at Nottingham on the internet. If they zoom in to the western side, they will see a stretch of land between the city and the border with Derbyshire. I urge those who travel up the M1 to come off at junction 25 or 26 and experience Broxtowe. It is a fine place, as my hon. Friend knows because his mother is one of my constituents. She lives in the village of Bramcote.

Many people would say, on visiting Broxtowe, that it is part of the urban sprawl, but last bank holiday I spent two days walking—I had sore feet afterwards—across the constituency to enjoy the green belt. In that time, I saw all the places that I am so very proud to represent, including Beeston in the south and more green areas around Greasley, Giltbrook and Kimberley in the north.

I wish to pay tribute to another place in my constituency and thereby pay tribute to my predecessors. It is a hamlet called Cossall, which lies in beautiful rolling pastures. It has a fine tradition of mining, and D. H. Lawrence’s fiancée had the joy of living there, but an unfortunate legacy from the mining industry is the threat of open-cast mining. The first Member of Parliament to represent Broxtowe—it was created in 1983—was Sir Jim Lester, who was well known and much loved in this House. He was followed by my immediate predecessor, Nick Palmer. Both men have many attributes in common, and I hope to share those in the years to come. They were moderate and reasonable in their politics, they worked hard for the people they represented, and both ​joined in opposing any plans for open-cast mining in that beautiful green land. I seek to emulate both in my time in this House.

During my time here, it will be an honour and privilege to represent the people of Broxtowe, as others have said about their constituencies. There are many new Members and we bring diverse experiences to the House, but we all hope to play a real part here. We will challenge and hold the Government to account, and we will ask questions whenever we can, but most of all we will represent our constituents. Many of us were selected many years ago and getting here has been a long journey, so we are well aware of the responsibilities that we all bear. We will take great joy and pleasure in representing our constituents and do our very best for them by bringing forward the causes that they all hold dear.