AS WE WIND up for Christmas, I’ve had a chance to look back over the past six months, which have been my first as MP for Ochil & South Perthshire.

The election in June fundamentally changed politics across the UK. The Conservatives’ loss of a majority and the SNP’s loss of 21 seats mean that no matter what peoples’ politics, they can be assured that there is a now a broader spread of political representation across the UK.

In fact, at this time of great change, a minority government in Westminster can have some advantages, as government must consider each bill and amendment, whilst backbenchers have more influence than they would in a 100-seat majority.

One of the great positives about being a member of parliament is the impact you can have in your constituency – helping individual constituents and community groups (over 300 cases to date, with many more enquiries).

In addition to the case work, I have held over 120 surgeries around our constituency and over 75 visits/community meetings to try and be as accessible as possible.

Westminster is our parliament as much as Holyrood, and we need to ensure Ochil & South Perthshire’s voice is heard at every level of government.

Meanwhile, Westminster has had an eventful, but productive start. The months of criticism from opponents about lack of progress with Brexit negotiations were proved wrong last week, when the prime minister was able to agree the terms for phase one of the negotiations.

The agreement set out the terms of the financial settlement (no more than four years' membership fees), confirmed there would be no hard border in Northern Ireland and guaranteed EU nationals rights in the UK, as well as British nationals rights in the EU. This is a positive step, but with trade and future relationship negotiations ahead, there is plenty more hard work to do.

Although the news has been dominated by Brexit, parliament has been busy with other areas of law, including: passing the Electric & Automated car bill (putting in insurance and infrastructure measures), launching the UK’s Industrial Strategy and Clean Growth Strategy as well as delivering the Budget that saw an additional £35million delivered to front-line police and fire services in Scotland.

These laws not only aim to tackle existing issues, but start to prepare the UK for the future, looking ahead to our infrastructure, skills and environmental needs. In every debate, conversation and argument in the House of Commons and elsewhere in Westminster, my colleagues and I are pushing the cause for Scotland and fighting to ensure every one of our constituencies gets a fair deal.

Looking ahead to 2018 there will be more Brexit, city deals, local government budgets as well as my on-going campaigns of improving connectivity, increase investment and tackling youth unemployment.

I want to pay tribute to my hard-working team in Crieff and Alloa who do so much to support individuals and community groups.

I would also like to thank all those individuals and community groups that do so much across Ochil & South Perthshire.