I WAS very pleased to be returned for the third time as Salisbury’s MP with an increased share of the vote – the highest since 1970. I have always said that I have tried to work for the interests of the whole of the constituency and I acknowledge the fine campaigns of my principled opponents from all political parties, and in particular the increased share of the vote for the Labour candidate, city councillor Tom Corbin.

We mustn’t forget that the General Election took place in the wake of two of the most serious terrorist atrocities that we have seen in the UK. The immediate response of the police is a tribute to their dedication and professionalism. The government has re-committed to ensuring that our police and security services have the resources they need to keep our country safe.

Parliament re-convened to re-elect the Speaker on Tuesday as the Prime Minister seeks to build a stable arrangement with the DUP. This will not be a coalition, and it will not mean changes in any LGBTQI+ legislation or the Conservative Party’s agenda in this area. It will also not involve any changes to the government’s clear and neutral position on devolution in Northern Ireland nor the ongoing need for a functioning executive in the devolved administration.

The imperative to form a stable government is clearly in the national interest – and given that other parties have been clear that they will not be forming any deals, no alternative was available.

My interpretation of the national result is that there were grave failings in the national Conservative campaign, and the government will need to reflect carefully on issues of intergenerational fairness. If, as is widely agreed, the country is fatigued by austerity, they must also be prepared to make difficult decisions to increase borrowing or taxation, and explain the consequences of these decisions to the public at a time when our debt interest is £46bn per year.

I was honoured to receive a call on Tuesday from Downing Street, appointing me as Minister for Arts at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.