WATCH Orpington's new MP Gareth Bacon deliver his maiden speech in Parliament
Orpington’s new Member of Parliament Gareth Bacon made his maiden speech today in the House of Commons pledging to be a strong voice for the constituency.
In his first speech, Gareth Bacon told MPs he would protect Orpington’s unique nature as “whilst officially part of Greater London it is - in reality - a collection of idyllic villages in the county of Kent.". He also pledged to push for greater broadband in the area, resist any attempt to dilute or remove green belt protections, and stand up for local businesses.
He told MPs: "Given the rural nature of large parts of the constituency, much of Orpington has not received adequate broadband investment. So the Government’s pledge to roll-out full fibre and gigabit-capable broadband to every home and business across the UK by 2025 is therefore especially welcome. I will be pushing for this to be expedited locally as swiftly as possible.
"Similarly, the rural nature of Orpington means that I have a very keen understanding of the huge benefits that open, green spaces bring. Any attempt to dilute or remove planning protections for Outer London’s Green Belt would have significantly adverse consequences for my constituents, and I will lobby for such attempts to be resisted.
"The main town centre has a vibrant high street, ably supported by the Orpington 1st Business Improvement District, and I will always stand up for my local businesses."
In tribute to his predecessor, Jo Johnson, who served as Orpington’s MP for nine years, Gareth Bacon said: “He is known for his great intellect, glittering academic achievements and a distinguished career in journalism. He rose to high office in government continues to be widely-regarded for being extremely diligent and hard-working for his constituents. I truly have a tough act to follow."
In addition, Gareth Bacon took the opportunity to promote Orpington and the surrounding villages. He told MPs about the constituency's famous historic resident Charles Darwin, excellent schools such as St Olaves’ Grammar School and Newstead Woods School for Girls, and about the brave RAF pilots who were based at Biggin Hill during the Battle of Britain.
He finished by telling MPs: "In sending me here to represent them in this place, the people of Orpington have done me the greatest honour of my life. It is a great privilege to be here and I pledge to serve them – and my country – to the best of my ability in the years to come."