Let me begin by sending my very best wishes to you all for a very Happy New Year.
As I send that greeting I am aware that New Year is often a time of mixed feelings as the optimism of new year so widely celebrated can leave some people in low spirits as they consider what they anticipate in the year for them. As a new year begins I try to look forward with optimism to some of the achievements I hope we will make. I hope that we will think of all those who volunteer across our society and provide valuable service to our communities. We take them for granted at great cost. In 2017 I was grateful for the opportunities set before me. For example the chance to thank and help a number of individuals including medical charities for a wide range of illnesses both physical and mental. I also gave my support to ending the threat of closure over Chiltern Edge School and to trying to secure more funding for our schools.
So when I look forward to 2018 I start with what I hope will be a happy time for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as they marry at Windsor. I also look forward to playing my part in the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in April. I look forward, too, to my trips to Nigeria as the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to the country and to Strasbourg as a Parliamentary representative on the Council of Europe to play my part in the successes they can bring for the country.
Nearer to home, I hope to see the continuation of important activities such as Neighbourhood Planning and to engaging with constituents at a number of different levels.
Most of all, though, I look forward to us all enjoying a peaceful and prosperous time. The Henley Constituency is a beautiful constituency with thriving communities and much goodwill. I hope we will all look at focussing on those things that can best improve life for those who live here and ensure that they can take advantage of the opportunities that life has to offer.
Some people say we live in ‘interesting times’. In truth all times are ‘interesting’ and I hope that together we will be able to have constructive discussions about how we can make the most of the opportunities they offer.
I look forward to hearing from constituents on issues that are dear to hearts. For my part, as well as personal communications, I share what I am doing and my thoughts in specific issues on my website www.johnhowellmp.com. I also produce a periodic electronic newsletter and briefings on specific issues as well as writing in these parish magazines. If you would like to subscribe to these please email me at email@example.com You can also follow me on Facebook www.facebook.com/JohnHowellOxfordshire or on twitter @JHowellUK
For those who are interested in the aspects of the detailed work of Parliament this can be followed on the Parliament website where there is a specific section dedicated to what is going on in the House. http://www.parliament.uk/business/