Chichester MP gives maiden speech in Commons

Chichester MP Gillian Keegan giving her maiden speech in the Commons.
Chichester MP Gillian Keegan giving her maiden speech in the Commons.
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Chichester’s new MP gave her maiden speech in the Commons today highlighting the need for better digital skills and more apprenticeships.

Gillian Keegan, who was elected to succeed Andrew Tyrie earlier this month, started off by explaining how her late father in law Denis Keegan was Tory MP for Nottingham South from 1955-1959.

She paid tribute to Mr Tyrie’s work in Parliament as chair of the Treasury Select Committee, and in the constituency defending A&E facilities at St Richard’s Hospital.

She said: “I am very lucky to represent Chichester. Set in the beautiful South Downs National Park we have something for everyone. A historic vibrant cathedral city with a world-famous theatre, the thriving town of Midhurst the home of Cowdray Park, car and horseracing at Goodwood; and sailing at Bosham, Itchenor, Birdham, and Dell Quay; and our vibrant fishing community in Selsey which we look to growing alongside our farming and agricultural visitors as we leave the European Union.”

But she explained how the area was not without challenges with more new houses creating additional pressures and promised to work with councils and community groups to get the best solution for the A27.

As a former apprentice herself, she extolled the benefits of the career path for youngsters leaving school, adding: “The digital revolution we are seeing in the world today is reshaping industry. The biggest taxi company in the world does not own any taxis, the biggest hotel provider doesn’t own any hotels.

“Our young people need digital skills, and therefore I welcome the Government’s focus on technical education as we must prioritise these skills in academic and vocational qualifications.”

She continued: “The employment prospects of future generations depend on stepping up to these 21st century opportunities. I am here today because of the life chance I had at 16. Everybody deserves that chance.”

After her speech, John Bercow, speaker of the House of Commons, said: “In congratulating the honourable lady on her maiden speech I want to say two things. In the name of transparency I inform the house the honourable lady for Chichester is the godmother of two of my children.

“Secondly as has been declared in all the appropriate places I nevertheless take this opportunity to declare to the house that the honourable lady’s husband Michael my very good friend of 32 years generously contributed to each of my last three general election campaign funds in the Buckingham constituency.”