I enjoyed reading Joe Plumb’s opinion piece (CP 15-09-23).

It’s a great example of the truism that it’s easier to knock down than build up.

He asks about leadership.

When I was elected, I said I would get a better deal for the Island.

What’s changed, he asked?

A lot.

First, I have got Government to deliver more.

We’ve got major investment from this Government into the NHS, over £50 million to repair and renovate St Mary’s and deliver a new Community Hub in Newport and a new Community Diagnostic Centre for the Island.

Maggie Oldham, former chief executive at Isle of Wight NHS Trust, said of my efforts: “I would like to thank our local MP, Bob Seely, for all of his support and for working so hard to get the Isle of Wight the recognition it deserves.”

Thank you, Maggie.

Elsewhere, we secured the East Cowes Venture Quays site for shipbuilding, protecting hundreds of jobs. We then got a multi-million-pound bid for a vessel lifting crane approved, creating more jobs and wealth.

Next, we saved Island Line from probable closure and got new trains, improved stations and track - the first major investment for 50 years – and we got the rail pier repaired too.

Second, I persuade.

For example, I persuaded Southern Water to make the Island an example of best practice to improve our environment. I persuaded the Arts Council to make the Island a priority funding area, helping all our future bids.  Also, I know our roads need to be safer, so I persuaded Hampshire and IW Police to reintroduce a Roads Policing Unit. 

I persuaded the Education minsters to organise a reading conference on the Island last Spring, and in my first week in the role as the Island’s MP back in 2017, I joined forces with the Council to persuade the Government to save Sandown school from closure.

Third, my leadership is about forming alliances with others for the common good.

For example, at my suggestion the Conservative Government instigated a national forum for all UK islands so that we can work together. 

Elsewhere, I led a group of 100 MPs to change national planning laws to enable the Isle of Wight to set better housing targets and focus on delivering more affordable housing for Islanders.

The CP included a picture about Wightfibre in the story. Well, there too we worked to get government to grant £10 million to fund the Island’s rural broadband so that most of the Island is now covered.

So, when Joe asks, ‘has anything changed in the last six years of Bob rule?’ there is a simple answer, yes, Joe, it has.

I am proud of what we have achieved as Team Isle of Wight, but I’ll always be fighting to get more for the Island, fighting to improve life opportunities for Islanders and fighting for a better deal for the Island.

That’s my version of leadership.