Can you remember, if you were around, where you were for the Referendum in 1975?

We don’t have many in this country. The UK Government has only held twelve, since the first in Northern Ireland in 1973, and to date only two, the 1975 one on the EU and the Alternative Vote proposition in 2011, have been countrywide. The rest have been in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on their particular constitutional positions, which I think emphasise how our country has more recently changed and adapted to new structures in governance, in accordance with the wishes of the people.

Read more: Villager Magazine April 2016 - Referendums, and all that

This week’s news that the preferred corridor for East West Rail will be the Sandy route, from Bedford eastwards, confirms that this area is at the heart of an extraordinary combination of infrastructure developments. The review of the A1 from the M25 up to Peterborough is likely to conclude that an upgrade will be necessary, with significant implications. The anticipated A428 work from Caxton Gibbet to the Black Cat roundabout will feed into the proposed Oxford Cambridge Expressway, as a road route parallels the new rail link. And there will be new housing schemes on the back of these, confirming Bedfordshire’s place as a fast growing, popular venue for work, living and recreation.

Read more: Burt on the Benches April 2016 - A busy Bedfordshire looks forward

In case you missed it, there will be a Referendum on June 23rd this year, in which you will decide whether or not the UK remains in the EU. Not David Cameron. Not Jeremy Corbyn. Not me, nor Richard Fuller. You.

This will be a very big deal, one of only three UK wide referendums ever, and the second on this topic since 1975.

I will be voting to stay in the EU, and I hope you will be too. I think we are stronger, safer and better off by staying in the EU, particularly with the additions to our status following the recent negotiations of the Prime Minister. The EU assists our economy, our jobs, our security and our engagement with such transnational issues as climate change, the environment and crime.

Read more: Bulletin Magazine March 2016 Make your mind up time

When the larger strategic decisions are being made in our region, and in NE Bedfordshire in particular, I have to work out what my role is on each occasion, how I can engage as many people as possible, and how we all have an opportunity to put our views.

Currently the A1 East of England Strategy Study is under discussion. The objectives are to understand the strategic case for making improvements to the A1, to review previous study work, other relevant data, and current investment plans

Read more: Villager Magazine March 2016 - Strategy and Consultations; what is the role of an MP?

The date is set. On June 23rd this year you will have, as promised by Prime Minister David Cameron when many people doubted it would happen, a chance to cast your vote as to whether this country should remain a member of the EU or not. Make no mistake. This is a very big opportunity indeed, the height of democracy and our sovereignty, that our people, and not its Parliament, should take such an important decision.

You will hear much about it in the next few months, and so you should. I make no apology for writing about it now, and probably many times between now and then. You are entitled to hear what an MP thinks and will do, (and there are more details on my website at www.alistair-burt.co.uk) even though when push comes to shove, my vote is worth the same as anyone else’s.

Read more: Burt on the Benches March 2016 - Referendum