Speaker’s Corner: Busy year in prospect for Queen and country

Speaker's Corner: Mike Penning
Speaker's Corner: Mike Penning

I hope you had an enjoyable Christmas and New Year. Angie and I did get a bit of a break, and we’re now ready to take on 2015!

New Year is an opportunity to take stock of where you are and what you want to achieve and many will use the time to make a New Year’s resolution.

Whether something small, like giving up chocolate, or a bigger dream, like saving up for a new house or a major trip, New Year can be a great motivator to achieve a new goal.

For me, 2015 promises to be a very busy year. I shall be standing again for the Hemel Hempstead Constituency at the General Election on May 7, which is not much over 100 days away now.

Please don’t forget that the system of voter registration has now changed. We’ve moved to individual voter registration.

This means that where, previously, one person could register all residents at one household to vote, individuals must now register themselves.

Many people will be automatically registered via their Department of Work and Pensions records.

If you are not sure whether you are registered, you can contact the Electoral Services office at Dacorum Borough Council on 01442 228000 or email elect-reg@dacorum.gov.uk.

You can also register to vote online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.

Democracy is a fundamental part of our society. It has been hard won and has cost many lives.

I hope local residents, whatever their political persuasion, will use their right to vote. It is a privilege we must never take for granted.

Aside from the General Election there are some significant events to look forward to in 2015.

We will be commemorating the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta.

Also, God willing, in September Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will have surpassed her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria as Britain’s longest reigning monarch.

This is an incredible milestone of continuous dutiful service to our country.

The tremendous success of her Diamond Jubilee three years ago showed the huge support the Queen has from the British public.

I’m sure local people will also wish the Duchess of Cambridge well as she prepares for the birth of a brother or sister for Prince George in April.

This year represents another chance for the UK to shine on the world’s sporting stage.

After the successes of the London 2012 Olympics and last year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, this year we welcome the best rugby players from around the world as we host the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The Home Nations all look promising at the moment, so there is no reason why each set of fans can’t quietly be hoping their team may become world champion!

Don’t forget, if you need help or assistance, please contact me or visit one of my advice surgeries, email me on mike@penning4hemel.com or call my office on 01442 251126 for details.

I wish Gazette readers all the best for 2015.