Last week marked the 76th anniversary of VE Day, the signing of the Nazi military surrender, and the end to six years of conflict across Europe.
As a direct consequence, we were also able to exercise and enjoy the freedom to participate in our democratic process in the local elections, a legacy from those who fought and died to protect them.
The chance to vote for our representatives should never be taken for granted.
I thank all those who participated, however you voted.
I was delighted that these elections have returned six new Conservative councillors for the Wakefield District who are already working hard for you.
I look forward to this newly bolstered Conservative group championing the interests and priorities of each and every resident of their ward.
The results from across the country have demonstrated that, despite the challenges of the past 18 months, we Conservatives have made decisions that are supported by the majority of people.
All whom I have met and talked to on the doorstep have told me about their delight at receiving their vaccinations, as well as their support for the vaccine rollout.
The promises this government have kept has been another key topic of conversation on the campaign trail.
The allocation of nearly £30 million to Wakefield from the Level Up fund in the March budget, was another promise by the Conservative government made good.
We have been rewarded by voters with their trust, and we must continue to earn it.
As well as voting for councillors, we were able to vote for the first West Yorkshire mayor.
I congratulate Tracy Brabin on her victory, and while we might not see eye to eye on every political issue, I hope that she will use the unprecedented opportunity available to West Yorkshire to effectively employ the hundreds of millions of pounds we shall receive in government funding in order to radically reshape West Yorkshire and provide new opportunities in education, training and employment.
It is my hope that Ms Brabin will give Wakefield its due place in the new administration.
As Wakefield’s member of parliament, I had secured assurances from our Conservative candidate, Matt Robinson, that Wakefield would become the home of a West Yorkshire mayor, as the historic civic heart of West Yorkshire.
This would be transformative for our city, as £1 billion has been allocated by the Conservative government to the new mayor which would undoubtedly bring renewed focus to Wakefield as the nexus of this funding and activity.
I look forward to working with Tracy Brabin and our newly bolstered Conservative group to champion the priorities of Wakefield, and ensure that the funding and focus of the new West Yorkshire mayor is not concentrated in Leeds, and benefits us all.
We must work together to achieve the levelling up that is vital to renew the purpose of our city, and of our region.