On Wednesday last week, the Prime Minister called a General Election. I confess that this came as a bit of a shock - but nonetheless, this feels like the right time to be seeking a mandate in a very changed world.

Because the world is more dangerous now than it has been for years. War is in Europe again. Authoritarian countries are hacking our businesses, attacking critical infrastructure, and challenging the world order. This affects us all, from disinformation on Facebook, to the impact we saw on energy prices after Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. It means making some bold choices in the national interest.

It’s also why we saw the Government forge the AUKUS pact with the US and Australia, building the next generation of submarines here in Barrow to maintain global order with our allies, and why we committed to a funded plan to increase defence spending to 2.5% of GDP.

It’s the right time to make a choice. But it also means that this will be the last column I write for this newspaper with MP after my name (for six weeks at least!) as I will cease in this job on Thursday. It has been an honour and a pleasure to have been your MP over these last four and a half years.

Barrow & Furness is an amazing place, full of the most incredible people. So I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the opportunity you gave me to serve you in the House of Commons.

Together we have achieved a lot. We’ve secured over £370million in funding for new projects. Barrow’s Town Deal is bringing a university campus to Furness for the first time, delivering community hubs, and improving our community. Our successful Levelling Up Fund bids are rejuvenating the covered market and The Forum, improving the high street, and making much-needed changes to the A590 and A595. And the Team Barrow project that I’ve led has secured £220million in funding for our community - £20million each year for the next decade - including delivering the Grizebeck bypass this year. And thanks to this Government’s support, the shipyard has a secure order book, going forward decades.

That is just some of what we’ve managed to achieve together. But there’s so much more to do.

This job is ultimately about working for you and advocating for you. My team and I have recently completed nearly 29,000 pieces of casework, helping local people. It’s why I hold weekly surgeries. And it’s why I’ve fought for things like step-free access at Ulverston Station, or for the voices of the childcare sector to be heard. And it’s why I’ve always batted for Furness in Parliament.

It’s also why I’ve fought for Furness to be recognised. I took the idea of Team Barrow to the PM, and it was delivered. I’ve lobbied for community projects across Furness, and they have been backed. And I led the campaign to achieve Royal Town status for Barrow - a recognition of the important work that this whole community has done and will continue to do in support of our nation and its security.

I would love the opportunity to be able to represent you for the next four and a half years. There’s so much more to do: to improve our connectivity; invest in our local public services; realise some of the projects that are still to be delivered; support our growing energy sector; tackle anti-social behaviour, and to make this an even better place to live and raise a family.

I hope that you will consider lending me your vote on the 4 July. And thank you again for the incredible opportunity you’ve given me these last few years.