It has been an eventful few months in the constituency and in Westminster since the general election in June.

Food standards matter to all of us – and especially to those whose livelihoods rely on growing and producing food for our country.

With the Brexit negotiations taking centre stage and the UK looking at other trade opportunities across the world, I have been speaking up on behalf of farmers and consumers in the House of Commons.

The constituency of Louth and Horncastle is very rural and agriculture has always been a vital part of our local economy.

I have sought assurances from the prime minister that as the government prepares to strike new international trade deals, the high standards we expect of our food producers and farmers will be met and maintained.

The prime minister said that food and animal welfare standards would be upheld and that the government will continue to back British farmers.

In addition, we have announced that CCTV will be introduced into slaughterhouses to ensure the highest standards of animal welfare are met, and have increased the maximum sentences available for people who abuse animals.

This is all part of a determination to leave the environment in a better state for future generations.

I was pleased that East Lindsey District Council voted to retain Louth Livestock Market on its existing site.

I recently visited the livestock market to talk to the farmers who use it. It is clear from the people I met and the response to the public consultation that there is a great deal of enthusiasm about the future of the site.

I believe passionately in helping local people find employment within my constituency, which is why I recently held my second annual jobs and apprenticeships fair in Louth.

I was delighted to see such a broad range of attendees from those looking for a new career to students exploring their options with the apprenticeships on offer.

I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Lincolnshire Police who recently secured convictions for eight members of the same family who had enslaved vulnerable people and treated them in a violent manner.

The police and our other emergency services show great courage on a daily basis, which is why I was pleased to support the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill as it was debated in the House of Commons. Those who put themselves in harm’s way to protect us, should be fully supported by the law.

Finally, as we approach the month of remembrance, we had a very moving debate in the House of Commons.

David Morris MP described how he found a memorial plaque for a young soldier in the First World War at a car boot sale. He researched the name on the plaque – also known as a Dead Man’s Penny – and discovered that the soldier had been born in Spilsby but had died in the War at the age of 20.

More than a million of these plaques were struck to commemorate the lives of those killed in the First World War.

They were often the only memento that families had of their loved ones.

The plaque will be displayed temporarily at the World War One exhibition at Alford Manor House before being returned to its rightful place in Spilsby.

Victoria Atkins is the Conservative MP for the Louth and Horncastle constituency.

What a year! The EU referendum, a new Prime Minister and a surprise win for President-elect Trump means that 2016 is a year that will be studied by historians in years to come.

The EU referendum was a promise made and a promise kept by the Conservative Party.

The Prime Minister, Theresa May, has been very clear that the result of the referendum will be acted upon by the government and a new relationship forged with the world.

This month, I voted to trigger Article 50 by the end of March 2017. The Prime Minister will then commence negotiations to secure the best terms for our exit from the European Union.

Meanwhile, day-to-day life – and politics – carries on.

Local broadband continues to be the focus of my attention because it is so important in modern-day life.

Rural areas need broadband just as much as urban areas and the residents of Maltby le Marsh, Kirkby on Bain and other villages deserve better.

I am Vice-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on this topic and we have been lobbying hard for improvements.

The government has listened to our representations and introduced the Universal Service Obligation to help the hardest-to-reach areas. The USO gives people a legal right to an affordable, fast broadband connection on demand from a designated Universal Service Provider, at a minimum speed of 10 mbps, no matter where they live or work, up to a reasonable cost threshold

In addition, I am bringing the experts to Louth & Horncastle to hear directly from constituents. I am holding a Broadband Summit on the January 20, 2017. This will be your chance to raise your concerns directly with broadband providers.

If you wish to attend the summit please email me on [email protected]

We all want a thriving local economy. In September, I held the first of my Jobs & Apprenticeships Fairs to help increase employment locally, support successful businesses and develop skills in training and apprenticeships.

Many prominent local and national companies, including Luxus, Polypipe, BAE and National Grid, educational establishments and other organisations were present to offer advice, encouragement and, hopefully, jobs and apprenticeships to local residents.

Education is key to ensuring successful futures for our children. I have visited many schools all over the constituency this year, and have enjoyed every visit. I also invited the Secretary of State for Education to the constituency to see the success of local schools and to listen to students and teachers.

Hosting schools in Westminster is a highlight of my week. I have invited all secondary schools in the constituency to come to Westminster for a tour of Parliament and the chance to see real debates happening in the Chamber.

Primary schools are most welcome, too; I am looking forward to welcoming Coningsby St Michael’s Church of England Primary School for the next of these visits.

I hope that the visits bring politics to life for our young people.

Most people in the world don’t live in a democracy: when the wider world looks so unsettled, we must teach our children that we cannot take democracy for granted.

I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and New Year.

New Year’s resolutions

Personal

I look forward to welcoming more schools and constituents to Parliament to see the historic ‘Mother of all Parliaments’. In rare moments of rest, I intend make the most of the beautiful walks available through our Lincolnshire countryside with my family.

Professional

My professional resolutions for 2017 include helping the government to deliver Brexit, working hard in my role as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Home Office and continuing to campaign for better broadband.

Victoria Atkins is the Conservative MP for the Louth and Horncastle constituency.

November is the month of remembrance, when we commemorate those who have fought for our freedom and thank those who are currently serving in the armed forces.

This year I attended the service at Coningsby and was pleased to see so many people paying their respects, including lots of children. It is important we pass on this great tradition to the next generation.

I would like to thank everyone who laid wreathes on my behalf at the services in Louth, Horncastle, Alford, Mablethorpe and Woodhall Spa. I intend to visit the different services of remembrance across the constituency over the coming years.

In Westminster, I led a delegation to meet the the Minister for Transport to discuss the traffic jams caused by the Bull Ring Bottleneck in Horncastle.

This was a first step in finding a solution to the awful traffic congestion that blights constituents’ lives in the summer. The minister listened carefully and I am confident that he will give this issue his attention.

The digital world is an integral part of our lives nowadays – and for criminals, too. The Investigatory Powers Bill on which I have worked for the last year passed into law last week.

This gives the security services and law enforcement agencies the modern powers they need to keep us safe. I also worked with colleagues to insert an amendment into the Digital Economy Bill to protect children from online pornography.

On the subject of children’s online safety, Google brought their “Internet Legends” show to Holy Trinity CE Primary School in Tattershall to teach the children how to be safe online.

I was impressed to see how well the children understood the advice and that they will be teaching their parents how to be safe online, too! I have asked Google to visit other schools in the constituency to spread this positive message.

The broadband campaign continues. I am hosting a Broadband Summit in January, similar to my Flood Forums, providing residents with the chance to question industry experts and find solutions.

Please email me at [email protected] if you would like to attend.

I hold meetings regularly with the NFU and was pleased to visit a local farm this month, before an interesting discussion on current agricultural issues.

A similar meeting in the summer led me to ask a question in the House of Commons about the problems constituents have had with the Rural Payments Agency.

The Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, George Eustice MP, agreed to look into these cases and I hope that these issues can be resolved soon.

I have also welcomed a number of constituents to the House of Commons for tours and to watch Prime Minister’s Questions.

It’s always a pleasure to meet constituents when they make the journey to Westminster.

If you are interested in visiting Parliament do please get in touch with my office at [email protected]

Victoria Atkins is the Conservative MP for the Louth and Horncastle constituency.

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