As 2015 draws to a close and we look forward to 2016 there is much about which to feel positive. Unemployment in North Shropshire stands at 1.3 per cent and there are further employment opportunities as local businesses grow and expand. I was delighted to be re-elected at the General Election in May. I have been continuing with my campaigns on roads, rail and communications with meetings fixed in the New Year to keep up the pressure on the Government and other agencies.
2016 will see a crucial vote in the House of Commons on the renewal of Trident. I remain committed to nuclear disarmament when it is done on an international basis and in a credible way but as long as nuclear weapons exist, we must be committed to maintaining a continuous at sea nuclear deterrent. We will also finally see the publication of the Chilcot Report in mid-2016. The inquiry into the Iraq War, and its aftermath is long overdue. Whilst I am disappointed that the Report was not released earlier, it is welcome that there is now a clear end in sight. It is important that the British people know what happened and why, so that the necessary lessons can be learned.
It is possible that we will all have an enormous decision to make in 2016 on our membership of the European Union; it will certainly be before the end of 2017. I look forward to campaigning for us to leave the political project of the EU as the Eurozone moves towards ever closer union. I will be making the optimistic case for a stronger and more prosperous UK trading freely with our European neighbours and as well as with countries in the Anglosphere, the Commonwealth and beyond. I would encourage those of you who agree with my positive vision for our country to sign up to support Vote Leave.
I should end with a thought to all of those who will not have enjoyed much time off work over the Christmas holidays, not only health workers, the emergency services and those who serve in uniform to protect us at home and abroad but also farmers and food producers who work so hard all the year round to make sure we have enough fresh food to eat.
I wish you all a very happy and prosperous New Year.