Some of you will remember the Plympton, Plymstock and Ivybridge News (PPI) which used to be delivered free to most homes in those three locations. This was ideal for me, as it meant my weekly column grappling with national and local issues in a non-party political way, were seen by 80% of my constituents.

Sadly, the PPI was one of many victims of the Covid lockdown and much lamented. However, the excellent South Hams Newspaper Group have approached me to write a column every other week in their paid-for publications and I am happy to oblige.

Let me use this re-launch to set the scene. Many of you will know that I have been the Member of Parliament in these parts for many years, for Plympton and Plymstock since 1992 and for the South Hams part of SW Devon, since 1997. Not surprisingly, after 31 years at the political coal face, I have decided to hang up my pick and shovel and take life a bit easier thereafter. MPs can only really retire at a general election, so that is when I will go. This is likely to be late in 2024. I plan to keep going strongly until then.

The boundaries of the constituency will change slightly at the next election, when the Modbury area leaves us to join with Totnes to make a seat that will then be called South Devon. To compensate for that loss and keep voter numbers up to around the 75,000 mark, SW Devon will be joined by a slice of lovely West Devon, which I have represented in the past. Boundary changes happen every ten years or so and are decided by independent experts and not Parliament.

So, the centre of population gravity of the slightly revised seat will still be Plympton, Plymstock, Ivybridge and Woolwell.

My local party have already selected my successor, Rebecca Smith, who is a Plymstock Councillor and works for the War Graves Commission two days a week and myself two days a week. It will of course be a matter for the electorate of SW Devon whether she is elected or not, but (as I hope) she is, the handover from me to her should be a smooth one.

I hope this is a helpful refresher on the local political landscape. I will from now on concentrate in this column on the issues that impact the rural part of the seat, including Ivybridge, and there are plenty.