I put out my Year End's Message yesterday. Here it is;
"2010 was a momentous year in my life. It was also a groundbreaking year, in both Montgomeryshire and British politics. Locally, decades of Liberal Democrat parliamentary representation came to an end when I was elected as Montgomeryshire's Member of Parliament. I will forever treasure the confidence that the people of Montgomeryshire showed in me, and will always try to put the interests of the constituency first.
At Westminster, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats came together to form the Coalition Government, the first since the Second World War. Both in my own life and at Westminster, a great adjustment has been necessary to meet new expectations. I've had to become used to spending every Monday to Thursday in London. The British people have had to become used to a Government willing to take the tough action needed to tackle the massive challenges involved in rebuilding sound public finances.
Representing Montgomeryshire in the House of Commons has been a wonderful experience. Only very few politicians are lucky enough to serve their home area in the British Parliament. It was also a great honour for me when the Prime Minister appointed me a PPS in the Wales Office, the first of the 2010 intake to be promoted. This is the first time that an MP representing Montgomeryshire has ever served as part of a ministerial team. I will do my utmost to carry out my extra responsibilities in a professional way.
It has been unusual for me to work alongside Liberal Democrat MPs, and look on them as colleagues. In Montgomeryshire, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have always been fierce political opponents. But the reality is that I have found it very easy to work with Welsh MPs and Cabinet members of both Coalition partners. We have forged good working relationships, putting party interests aside in favour of the national interest. The Coalition has been very successful, and in general, I sense is supported by Montgomeryshire people. Government over the next few years is going to be very difficult, and it's a strength to have two great parties working together.
There have been several 'highlights' in 2010. Playing my part in ensuring that David Cameron replaced Gordon Brown as our Prime Minister was one special experience. Also, ensuring that S4C moved forward with a sustainable budget was another 'highlight', even if I have been disappointed by aspects of how the Channel's board has performed. However in the words that Tip O'Neill made famous, "All politics is local", and the most satisfying event of the last year has been the agreement of the Assembly Government to build a kidney dialysis unit in Montgomeryshire, at Welshpool Hospital. I've been one of many who have been campaigning for this, over many years. I do not think it would have happened without the campaigning. The arrival of this new service at the beginning of 2011 will be a great 'local' start to an important year.
On 3rd March, there will be a referendum about granting more powers to the National Assembly. My official role will be to encourage as many as possible to go out and vote. On May 5th, there will be another referendum on changing the system by which we elect our MPs. And also on May 5th there will be an Assembly election (when I will be out and about in Montgomeryshire, supporting Conservative candidate, Russell George). Naturally, I hope that 2011 will be politically successful for my party, but much more than that, I hope it will be a successful and satisfying year for the people of Montgomeryshire.