On Monday, David Cameron reshuffled the junior levels of his Ministerial team. I had just left the opening of the excellent new Carers Support Centre on George Street - the result of a collaboration between the Whitgift Foundation and Croydon Council - when I got a call from 10 Downing Street asking me how quickly I could get to Westminster to meet the Prime Minister.
Given the many talented people that he had to choose from, I was both delighted and honoured when he asked me to be a Government Whip. Whips are Government Ministers who are responsible for ensuring that the Government gets its legislation through Parliament and also for feeding back to Ministers the views of backbench MPs. Each Whip liaises with particular Government Departments and I am really pleased to have been allocated the Department for Education and the Foreign Office. Raising standards in our schools and in particular narrowing the educational gap between the well-off and the less well-off is the issue I am most passionate about. And reforming our relationship with the EU and at the same time strengthening our relationships with emerging powers like Brazil, China and India is key to ensure that Britain can compete in an increasingly globalised world. I'm really excited about working with William Hague and continuing to work with Michael Gove.
It's also humbling to follow in the footsteps of a hero of mine, former Croydon MP Bernard Weatherill, who served in the Conservative Whips Office prior to his election as Speaker of the House of Commons.
My Harry Potter-obsessed eight year-old wasn't so excited however. When I got home on Monday night and told him my news, he looked up from his book and said, "Why aren't you the Minister for Magic?"
Getting promoted is all well and good for me but what does it mean for my constituents? I want to reassure them that I'll continue to be an active local MP, doing my best for those who contact me asking for help, attending as many community events as possible, lobbying Ministerial colleagues to ensure that Croydon gets the support that it needs and deserves and trying to communicate regularly with people - whether by knocking on doors, delivering leaflets, via email and Twitter or through this column - about what I'm up to and what people want me to do. First and foremost, I work for you and I'll never forget it.
This column first appeared in the Croydon Advertiser on Friday 11th October 2013.