I HAVE a burning passion: to do all I can to ensure that every child, no matter where they come from, has a chance to make the best of this world.

It was a painful realisation after years of teaching and living in some very poor countries like Ethiopia, Jamaica and Jordan, that in this great nation, a member of the G7, this is not the case.

In the UK the best predictor of how a child will do later in life is not their own innate ability, but in fact the background of their parents. I believe this is wrong. And that is why I am so passionate about keeping our Children’s Centres open.

As many of you know, all the Children’s Centres in the constituency of Oxford West and Abingdon closed.

In Oxfordshire over the past 7 years we have lost 35 out of 45 of them.

This is more than half of those closed in the south east. Some have now reopened thanks to a transition fund the Lib Dems proposed in the county council budget.

But this fund is temporary and not a long-term solution.

All research into social mobility tells us that if we want to ensure people reach their full potential, we need to invest in them from their first breaths.

Also, parents, whether it be their first child or, like the case of a family I met in Kidlington, on child number seven, need as much support as possible.

I genuinely believe it takes a village to raise a child, but cuts to local government budgets and a lack of long term thinking by central government means this idea is getting lost.

I am governor at Botley School which was attached to the children’s centre there. As a school we found it invaluable as many of the same families who would eventually come to us went there and we could identify who the families most in need were years before and prepare to support them.

I have met dozens of families who found called the children’s centres ‘lifelines’ at various points in their lives.

I have taken this up as a campaign in Parliament but I am sad to say there is no quick fix.

In the end, it is about making the case for why children’s centres are wanted and needed and then getting the funding so they can reopen.

Yes, the council had to made decisions on their budget and I have said I didn’t agree with all their priorities, but in the end, it is above all central government’s fault for not protecting these budgets and refusing the see the patterns of decline.

I will not let up.

If we don’t prioritise investment in the very youngest now, then we miss an opportunity forever.