I was honoured to have the opportunity to credit the person who inspired me to get into politics when I made my maiden speech on July 2, during the Finance Bill in the House of Commons.

John Christian Curwen, a former MP himself, helped to drive West Cumbria forward in many ways – socially and economically. Under this visionary, Workington became the birthplace of modern agricultural practices, pioneering and aspirational.

Schoose Farm, where these methods were first established, is still farmed to this day.

Now, over 200 years later, Workington is once again leading the way in pioneering agricultural practices. A trailblazing application for a vertical farming centre has been submitted as part of the Government’s post Coronavirus ‘New Deal.’ The proposed site for the project is Lillyhall and is set to attract both public and private sector investment.

Innovation is vitally important to our future success but so are the examples of our past. Our area has very strong local communities, many with roots in West Cumbria over decades and centuries, which has built up community resilience that has recently been demonstrated to the reaction of communities throughout my constituency in the Covid- 19 pandemic.

Workington Hall is an example of our local history that we should not lose. This former home of John Christian Curwen has been a blight on Workington for decades, following the destruction and subsequent decay of the Grade 1 listed building, which is also partly an ancient scheduled monument. I want to see life brought back to the hall and for it to be given a purpose so it can once again serve the town of Workington. History is integral to our future and the significance of the Curwens to our area cannot be underestimated.

Another investment is the Workington Town Deal. The project has received an additional £750,000 from Government allowing the project board to invest further in Workington.

I am delighted to have recently been able to welcome local politicians in West Cumbria to the Conservatives. Both Mayor Starkie, elected mayor of Copeland, and councillor Marion Fitzgerald, former leader of Allerdale Borough Council, have in recent weeks joined the Conservatives. Both have a large amount of experience to bring to the party and have represented their communities well.

We have the beginnings of a positive environment in West Cumbria that attracts investment, innovation and development. It is important that all communities throughout my constituency benefit from this. And I commend those community leaders who work to create more aspirational environments for the next generation.