NEW Bury South Conservative MP Christian Wakeford has pledged that social mobility, education and improving the towns in his constituency will be his Parliamentary passions.

Making his maiden speech he paid tribute to former Labour and then Independent MP Ivan Lewis who backed him at the end of last month's election campaign.

Mr Wakeford said: "My predecessor and I share very many similar passions, one being social mobility and one being education and improving our towns.

"I am a strong believer in social mobility, as a compassionate Conservative, and I believe the best way to achieve social mobility is through education.

"Having a very young daughter, I obviously want the very best education for her, but in doing so I also want the best education for every child in this country, and even more so from early years through to further and higher education.

"I stood on a platform of policies to regenerate our towns of Radcliffe and Prestwich and to protect our green belt at Simister and Elton Reservoir, on which at the moment there is a fear that thousands of houses will be built.

"I also fought campaigns to deliver the new high school for Radcliffe to make sure that every child in my constituency could go to a good-quality and local school and to tackle the issues of congestion on Bury New Road in Prestwich, which has been described as one of the most congested roads in the north-west of England.

"It has been highlighted to me that I am the first non-Jewish Member of Parliament for Bury South

"Prestwich is home to one of the largest, most vibrant and thriving Jewish communities in the country.

"This is a community that had real fear in the run-up to the election.

"The best example I have seen of the fear of the community was on the day after polling day, when a Jewish lady approached me in the street as I was heading back to my car, with tears running down her face and the simple message:'Thank-you. Thanks to you and the Conservatives, we no longer have to leave the country',

I will hold that meeting with me until the end of my days, because it was a powerful message that resonated with me at the time and will continue to do so."