The newly-elected Conservative MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham has taken her seat in the House of Commons - and promises to be a ‘strong local voice’.
The newly elected Conservative MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham has taken her seat in the House of Commons.
Dr Caroline Johnson, a 38-year-old consultant paediatrician from Sudbrook, was sworn in at Parliament on Monday and was congratulated by Speaker John Bercow.
She had been invited into the chamber to swear the Oath of Allegiance to the Queen, flanked by sponsors, MP for Boston and Skegness Matt Warman and Newark MP Robert Jenrick.
She won the seat with a 13,000 majority ahead of UKIP’s Victoria Ayling in a by-election last Thursday, triggered by the resignation of Tory MP Stephen Phillips over policy differences with the Government.
It gives the government a working majority of 14 in the House of Commons and was the biggest by-election win under a Tory Government since 1982. She is also the first woman MP to represent Sleaford.
Talking delightedly to The Standard Dr Johnson said her five point plan had resonated with residents, saying: “I think people voted for me because they were the issues that mattered to them.
“I am very grateful and it’s humbling for people throughout the constituency to have put their faith in me and I will work hard to be a strong local voice for them.”
There had been criticism on election night about party aides whisking Mrs Johnson away from the waiting press immediately after the announcement of the results, but she said after giving an acceptance speech at 4am it had been time to get some rest.
Dr Johnson revealed it would not be possible to continue her job in the NHS due to shift patterns, explaining: “I have been elected to be MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham and that will become my priority.”
She would complete a few final shifts to hand patients over or complete treatment in the next few weeks. But she admitted turning a small child in an incubator the other week had been an emotional moment, realising that role could end soon.
With so much of the by-election campaign dominated by Brexit, Mrs Johnson said she voted to leave the European Union and would be helping Theresa May get on with leaving the EU.
Dr Johnson insisted she had been unaware in advance of the details of the newly published Sustainability and Transformation Plan which could see maternity services centralised in Lincoln and A&E at Grantham downgraded and said: “Grantham Hospital is very important to me - as a doctor, as a local person, as a mum, whose husband is alive because of that hospital, I am very disappointed that we have been told and reassured repeatedly that the A&E would be restored to how it was prior to August - as soon as we recruited more doctors.
“Now it has been suggested that is not the case I will be standing up for the people of Sleaford and North Hykeham to ensure that we do get services restored.”
She would also be talking to heads of East Midlands Ambulance Service to ensure efficiency of that service too.
○ Turn to pages 10 and 11 for further coverage of the by-election results.