NEWBURY MP Richard Benyon says he was privileged to have been given the honour of ‘moving the Loyal Address’ – introducing the Queen’s Speech - at the House of Commons yesterday.
Mr Benyon spoke at length about Newbury and West Berkshire and condemned the recent terror attacks in Manchester and London during his speech.
He said: "The area I now represent is by all measures a prosperous area—someone once said to me that deprivation in West Berkshire is when Waitrose runs out of balsamic vinegar; they were totally wrong—but we all know, in all our constituencies, areas of need, although not on the scale of deprivation and poverty that I witnessed in my years as a soldier in Belfast in my early 20s.
"The part of England that I represent combines so much of what makes me positive about Britain’s future.
"Sitting alongside some of the most breathtaking countryside exists an economy of extraordinary excitement and dynamism.
"In 1985, a small group of people started with working on mobile telecommunications in a one-room office above a curry restaurant in Newbury.
"That company, Vodafone—still based in Newbury—employs 108,000 people worldwide and is worth £59 billion.
"West Berkshire remains one of the most exciting places to start or grow a business. It attracts companies and investment from around the world, and it is a model for the kind of outward-looking, engaged, modern society that works for Britain today.
Businesses are not just entities or institutions separate from real lives; they are first and foremost about the people who work in them and those families who in turn depend on them.
"As we tackle the big challenge of this Parliament, let us remember what really matters to our constituents.
"Too often, this place, and those who report on it, are obsessed with the politics of Brexit; our constituents are concerned with the realities of Brexit.
"That means the reality for the companies in West Berkshire, and in all our constituencies, that are part of a new generation of creative entrepreneurs in manufacturing, tech, life sciences and the service sector.
"They need to be able to sell their goods, services and expertise in Europe and around the world, and they need to be able to recruit the best people to keep them competitive.
"Like the majority in my constituency, I voted to remain in the EU, but, like the majority of people I represent and most people in this House, I recognise the result of the referendum.
"I want to be positive about the future. I want to look back at this time and say that I was part of a Parliament that rose to the challenge and, with a great unity of purpose, helped to ensure that Britain successfully reset its relationship with its European neighbours, successfully negotiated access to key markets for its businesses and, while controlling immigration, still allowed people to come to Britain to study and to contribute to our economy and our society.
"The referendum was in part about parliamentary sovereignty, so we in Parliament can reflect that by immersing ourselves in the detail of what we can all agree is a great national endeavour.
"Let our eyes be not only on Europe. As the United States takes a particular route on the environment and climate change, we should grasp the opportunity to ensure that the UK becomes the leader in clean tech, green innovation and resource efficiency.
"I welcome, for example, legislation announced in this speech that will promote the development of electric vehicles. This will ensure that we build the cars of the future, maintain our strength in motor manufacturing and make our towns and cities better places in which to live and work."