Last night I was selected as the Conservative parliamentary candidate for the constituency of Braintree.
This is a huge privilege and an exciting opportunity for me. As a constituency, Braintree has a wonderful mix of urban and rural, with vibrant market towns in the South and some of the countryside that inspired John Constable to the North.
But what has struck me most about Braintree was the warmth of the reception that I have received. I was treated like a long lost family member by the association at the selection meeting last night and, despite the cold, was greeted with smiles and hand-shakes while walking around Braintree town centre this morning.
I intend to make sure that Braintree sees the full benefit of the improving economy, that local businesses prosper, that young people get jobs and that the area gets its fair share of infrastructure investment.
I have enjoyed being the Assembly Member for Bexley and Bromley enormously and have made many wonderful, life-long friends both in the constituency and at City Hall. I was born and brought up is South East London and it will always have an important place in my heart but look forward to representing Braintree with as much passion as Bexley & Bromley.