Conservatives must ‘learn from our mistakes’, says MP

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Conservative MP Huw Merriman has said his party is ‘licking its wounds’ but will ‘learn from our mistakes’ following the fallout from last week’s General Election which saw Theresa May lose her Commons majority.

Mr Merriman, who was comfortably re-elected as MP for Bexhill and Battle, has pledged his ‘full support’ for the Prime Minister.

Mr Merriman said he felt ‘honoured and privileged’ to be re-elected for a second term, but expressed his sorrow for his colleagues who lost their seats, including former Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell, with whom Mr Merriman worked closely.

Mr Merriman, who returned to Westminster on Monday, said: “The election was a disappointment for my party. From a very strong position, we lost many seats. Lessons have to be learned.

“In a private meeting this week with the Prime Minister, I made the points to the Prime Minister which many constituents had asked me to pass on; that the public want their politicians to deliver positive and clear messages about what they will do for the country when they are asking for their vote.

“I share the Prime Minister’s view that the time to step up and take responsibility and deliver leadership is when the ship has veered from its intended direction.

“The Conservative Party has 56 more MPs than Labour.

“While we may be licking our wounds, the Labour Party’s triumphalism for losing this election demonstrates that we have the humility and determination to get back to governing and to learn from our mistakes.

“I hope that the Prime Minister now has the chance to govern and deliver on some huge challenges which lie ahead. She continues to have my full support.”

He added: “I now look forward to serving everyone from the Bexhill and Battle constituency in Parliament for this new term.

“There are many local issues that I have been heavily involved in up until now that I will continue to progress including: road and rail improvements, education, supporting our local NHS, adult social care, mental health care, housing and economic growth.

“I will make these the focus of my work in Parliament and I look forward to continuing to work with local partners with whom I have developed good working relationships over the past two years.

“As a local MP, it is vital that I work closely with local service providers so I can better understand the challenges they face and take their concerns to senior colleagues and officials in Westminster.

“I will continue to support constituents who come to me for help on personal matters and I have a great casework team who are based in the Bexhill office who help me in this.

“National policy issues remain very important to me and I shall continue to speak in debates and ask questions of Ministers on issues which are important to the constituency.

“I will also be contributing to legislation and debate on exiting the European Union. In this matter I am not interested in media terms such as ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ Brexit – what we need to be focusing on is getting the best deal for the UK with our European partners. I am confident that we will.”