THE local elections last week saw the Conservatives lose our majority on both the Vale of White Horse District Council and South Oxfordshire District Council.

I was very sad indeed to see so many hard working local councillors lose their seats, and new candidates who had been hoping to serve fail to achieve their goal.

Locally our councillors have been working hard and have good reason to be proud of what they have achieved whilst in the majority: free parking across town centres in the Vale, one of the highest recycling rates in the country, campaigning to improve local health facilities, improving access to public facilities, winning major support from central government for transport improvements and much more, all while keeping council tax down.

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It is for these reasons, amongst others, that South Oxfordshire and the Vale have been consistently voted amongst the top places in the country to live.

We really do have a lot to be proud of, and I would like to thank all our local politicians, from all parties, for the work they do to help achieve this.

In particular I would like to thank those dedicated councillors who lost their seats at these elections, and I hope we see them return to local politics soon.

The newly elected councillors will face similar challenges to those they are replacing, and there are no easy answers. We remain one of the most economically successful parts of the country, and that brings its own set of challenges, not least to build more homes for the people who wish to live and work here, and ensuring that there is infrastructure there to support them.

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I have always worked with politicians of all parties to get the answers we need locally, and will continue to lobby central government for the support that we need.

Many councillors who lost their seats will rightly blame Westminster.

While local issues are very important, there is no doubt that voters use them to send a message to government.

This is a strongly Remain constituency, and there is a great deal of frustration that politicians in Westminster are still unable to find a way forward on Brexit.

I will be taking the message of frustration felt on the doorstep of the campaign and at the ballot box back to Westminster: it is wrong that local politicians who have worked tirelessly for their local communities should bear the brunt of a Westminster failure.