MATT Vickers, the newly-elected Stockton South MP, has spoken of his pride and honour in representing his town in Parliament.
Mr Vickers, after twice being delayed, made his maiden speech in Parliament, soon after Richmond MP Rushi Sunak delivered his budget.
And the home-grown MP, a councillor in Hartburn within his constituency, called on the spirit of Harold Macmillan as an inspiration.
He said: “Perhaps the most notable parliamentarian to represent Stockton was Harold Macmillan - serving as Foreign Secretary, Chancellor and Prime Minister - the unflappable supermac, a true one nation conservative. I hope that by the end of this term we’ll ensure that my constituents have never had it so good.’’
Mr Vickers replaced Paul Williams in last December’s election and saluted his predecessors.
He said: “I would like to pay tribute to my immediate predecessor, Paul Williams. It’s no secret that he and I had and have a difference in opinion on quite a number of issues - but he worked very hard to do what he thought was right by my constituents.
“Before that my constituency was represented by James Wharton, who, as Northern Powerhouse Minister left his mark both here and in my region. His private members bill pushed forward the referendum which led us to shake off the shackles of EU control.’’
The 36-year-old admitted: “It is the biggest honour and privilege of my life to be here as the MP for Stockton South
“Not only is it the greatest constituency on earth, but a place I am extremely proud to call home.
“Born and bred in this amazing part of the world, when I stand here I have the pleasure and responsibility of speaking for the people I went to school with, my neighbours, family, friends and the people I’ve worked alongside pulling pints, laying bricks and stacking shelves.
“From the Royal Charter town and former RAF base of Thornaby, the beautiful market town of Yarm, with its award winning high street to Europe’s Largest private housing estate, Ingleby Barwick surround Stockton itself my constituency has a rich culture and history - We’re the birthplace of passenger railway, the home of the friction match, and importantly the calorific regional delicacy that is the Parmo!
“For those yet to try this wholesome dish, I hope to see it in the parliamentary canteen very soon!
“My constituency is a place of makers, doers and grafters. People who work hard and do the right thing and this government is on their side. As the Northern Powerhouse begins to motor, it is the Industry leaders and global exporters of Stockton that will help to drive it forward.’’
He added: “As any fellow Teessider will know, manufacturing is in our blood. Our creations are in the farthest reaches of the earth, and I am proud to represent so many respected and leading manufacturers.
“Stockton has a knack of producing the finest inventions, and some of the finest minds. Brass Crosby, the stoical politician and former Lord Mayor of London, stood passionately for what he believed in, and was committed to the tower of London for trying to install transparency in this place. This fellow Stocktonian was a titan of his time, and while I don’t plan on spending a night in the tower I’ll be as ‘bold as brass’ in standing up for Stockton.
“They say that if you give a man fish, he’ll feed himself for a day, give him the means to fish and he’ll feed himself for a lifetime. Well in Teesside we don’t want know fish - we want improved infrastructure and investment in education, and with it - we’ll whip up a life-long feast of economic growth, business start-ups and great jobs with side helping of social mobility.’’
Mr Vickers was one of a number of North-East Conservative MPs to be elected as they ousted their Labour rivals.
And he concluded: “Madam Deputy Speaker, we are witnessing the beginning of a golden era of opportunity for our nation. We have a government that is committed to allowing our nation to achieve its full potential. A country where it’s not about where you’re going and if you work hard and do the right thing - we’re on your side.
“I am honoured to play my part in delivering for my country, my home and most importantly my constituents. I am proud of Stockton’s past, and ambitious for our future!’’
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