KEVIN HOLLINRAKE, who secured more than 52 per cent of the vote in last week’s General Election, has called for unity in the months ahead.

Speaking after he polled 27,545 votes on Thursday night to win the Malton Thirsk and Filey constituency seat, Mr Hollinrake said: “It is a time for unity, a time to move on. There have been some tough times, some good times, but I don’t see bad times if we all work together.”

He said his aims were to push for more funding for rural areas, including longawaited improvements to the A64.

He said: “Lots of money has gone into the North recently, including Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield, and I now think it is time to state the case for the rural parts of North Yorkshire and invest in our roads, railways and superfast broadband, as well as our schools and hospitals.

“There is lots going right in the economy working towards a fairer society and I want to make sure everyone feels the benefit of that.”

Mr Hollinrake said although money was being invested in the A64, he would be pushing for extra funding towards extending the dual carriageway.

“This is one of the biggest bottlenecks to investment across the constituency and improvements to the road would benefit so many people economically,” he said. “I will be working with other agencies, including North Yorkshire County Council and the Enterprise Partnership to build a case for this investment.”

Mr Hollinrake said another priority was to ensure local people had a voice and felt they were getting answers to their problems.

“If any individual, business or community group feels they are not getting the right answers or don’t feel they are being treated fairly, I want to know about it,” he said.

The 51-year-old, who lives in Husthwaite, said he had first become interested in politics as a teenager.

“My dad was a small business owner and mum helped rehabilitate offenders into the community so there was a real mix to our household,” he said.

“They made me aware of politics and also the responsibility that the world did not owe you a living and you should help other people.”

Mr Hollinrake initially applied to be a candidate in Dewsbury for the 2006 election, but was forced to step down when his business, Hunters Estate Agency took a downturn.

“It was a very difficult time for us and I felt my priorities were the hundreds of employees and my own family,” he said.

Mr Hollinrake was chosen to represent Thirsk, Malton and Filey last year after the previous MP Anne McIntosh was deselected.

Last Thursday’s election saw him secure a resounding victory in the General Election polling 27,545 votes.

“This is an amazing opportunity to represent the area where I work and live,” he said. “It is a huge area, but I love that as the scenery is fantastic and there are so many different variations from the coast to our market towns. I love this area and it is a great honour to represent my home constituency.”

Mr Hollinrake said he had received a very positive response from people.

“I think they prefer to see a truly local person representing them and someone with a business background rather than someone who has only been in politics all their lives,” he said.

With fracking expected to be high on political agenda in the coming months, Mr Hollinrake said it was vital safe regulations were in place with robust and independent monitoring.

“We need to ensure any fracking carried out is safe and discreet and not become like the US where there are wells every 100 yards,” he said. “Our lifestyle and tourism must not be put at risk by the short-term economic benefits of gas exploration.”

Mr Hollinrake said there had been an incredible atmosphere at his first day at the House of Commons.

“We are all anxious to get on with the work,” he said.

“I am here to represent my constituency, understand the issues and give Thirsk, Malton and Filey a voice,” he said. “It is a challenge, but an exciting one.”