Sir Robert Smith - It’s been a great pleasure

Sir Robert Smith
Sir Robert Smith

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who took part in the election. The election went smoothly on the day.

It soon became clear at the count that Stu Donald would be the next MP. I wish him well with that responsibility. In our democracy there can only be one winner. The rest of us taking part have to respect the result.

I have certainly found it a great privilege to have represented West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine. There is such a variety of communities and landscape. Travelling across such a large area was made all the easier by the range of scenery on offer.

Such journeys were a reminder of the importance of issues like fuel duty and the provision of services like the Post Office and telecommunications. At the same time the area is the location of leading edge engineering. The innovative spirit shown by many businesses is inspiring.

As well as taking up issues that affect the constituency I dealt with individual cases where there was a failure of administration in delivery of services. There were particularly complex ones to do with visas and benefits.

I would like to thank my staff who so ably supported me in my work as an MP. They made a real difference to the service I could offer in both casework and taking up policy issues. I, also, found the staff in a range of services provided at the House of Commons invaluable to doing my job.

I found during my time as an MP that it was not all the heated political confrontation we see at Prime Minister’s Question time. Much of my time was spent involved in Select Committees and All-Party Groups.

These brought together MPs from across the political divide to focus on issues. This is especially true of select Committees that bring evidence from outside the world of politics into the heart of Parliament.

One of the more positive developments in my time has been the reform of procedures that make the Committees more independent and thus more effective. In my time acting as Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Committee I helped to put a spotlight on the energy supply market.

Whilst much of my time in Parliament was spent serving on the Trade and Industry and energy committees I had a fascinating time serving on the International Development Committee. I had some moving experiences seeing the work of UK aid in tackling poverty.

The most moving experience was sitting in a classroom in Afghanistan next to some girls proudly showing me their homework. Now we no longer have direct military involvement Afghanistan is not in the news as much as it used to be. We still have development commitments we need to deliver.

Whilst respecting the result of the election it does reinforce the case for reform. That is something that crosses party boundaries. Our first past the post system has given a landslide to the SNP with the support of less than half the electorate and provided UKIP and the Greens with only one MP each. Even the fall in support for the Lib Dems would on a proportional basis have given us fifty-one MPs. The thousands of new members joining on line in the wake of the election are no doubt keen to see the flame of reform kept alive.

I have certainly found the last eighteen years as the local MP fascinating. I would like to thank all those whose paths have crossed with mine for making it such an experience. I would particularly like to thank all those who have sent me their good wishes at this time.