With the local elections out the way, the political world has moved on to the next election. This time it will be the EU In/Out referendum on 23 June.
As a consequence, the usual rhythm of the Westminster year is changed. We still have a May Queen’s Speech, setting out the Government’s plans for the year ahead, but the focus for the next few weeks will not be what is happening in Westminster but what is happening in the campaign across the country.
I will be campaigning in South West Hertfordshire for the Remain side. As I have said before in this column, although no enthusiast for all aspects of the European Union, I do believe that our best interests are served as remaining members. In particular, we benefit from membership of the Single Market which creates opportunities for our businesses and attracts investment to our country. Losing access to that Single Market will make us poorer with higher levels of unemployment, government borrowing and mortgage rates.
Some will argue (or, at least, hope) that these concerns are false. Unfortunately, the risks are real and I will be out and about making that case. Look out for details of public meetings and debates I will be attending in June on this. I will be setting out details on my website – www.davidgauke.com – and on twitter - @davidgauke.
Turning to less contentious matters, we had a Royal Visit to the constituency recently when Her Majesty the Queen attended the 475th anniversary celebrations of Berkhamsted School. I was lucky enough to attend the various events as well as meet many of the happy people who turned up to give her a warm reception. It was a fine example of how the Queen can bring people together.
Even when not present, the Queen seems to have that ability. The residents of Shire Lane, Chorleywood invited me along to open their street party to celebrate her 90th birthday. Again, it was great fun and was an excuse for neighbours to get together.
At a time when there are divisions over the EU, it is sometimes worth remembering what we have in common.