I WRITE in response to unsubstantiated claims (CP, 02-04-21) that I am failing to deliver on an Island Deal.

Since I became MP for the IW, numerous ‘better deals’ have been secured for the Island.

We received £20 million to upgrade Ryde Railway Pier and a further £26 million to upgrade Island Line trains and track.

This is government money secured for the Island. I led this, the council supported. Our improved railway will soon be opening.

We also secured £48 million to upgrade parts of St Mary’s Hospital and improve NHS technology. Further investment has followed this year. The local NHS led this, I supported.

I won, in principle, more government support for the Island.

The fair funding review is sadly on hold due to Covid but in the meantime we have government cash to agree the true additional costs of providing public services on the Island.

The council and I won the battle to purchase Venture Quays in East Cowes to secure the future of shipbuilding on the Island; protecting current jobs and hopefully generating new ones in future.

More recently, we ensured the majority of the Island is included in the Solent Freeport; we could easily have been left out of the this.

The Island is also an Arts Council priority area. Among other things, this has resulted in the recent establishment of a film office here.

The FilmWight brand was announced recently.

The FilmWight brand was announced recently.

And just last week, we finally agreed terms to take over the former prison housing estates. The council and I negotiated hard to secure a better settlement than the one originally offered.

We will improve much of the estate over the next few years — another example of delivering for Islanders.

This record of achievement does not include the £100 million in Covid grants the Island received, or the millions spent on furlough received. Nor does it include our levelling up bid or our victory over housing numbers. Nor does it include the pilot schemes which are putting the Island at the top of government thinking.

If so-called opposition ‘political leaders’ who do so little for the Island apart from complain about local Conservative success wish to criticise myself and others, I am delighted for them to do so — it gives me the chance to show the opposite is true.

The council and myself have a record of delivery that is the envy of almost any council and MP in Britain.

I am always happy to talk to anyone who can help me in my campaigns to deliver for the Island but let’s recognise all the good things which we have achieved.

Getting a better deal for the Island is not a one-off sack of cash but a relentless focus on building a better future for the Island, stimulating aspiration and job opportunities whilst protecting the Island from overdevelopment.

There’s always more to be done, but I am proud as to what we have achieved. That’s why we need to ensure a Conservative victory in next month’s local elections.

I need a team I can work with to deliver for the Island.

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