A top south Bucks politician has credited the people of her constituency for her career as she became a dame in the Queen’s New Year Honours.

Chesham and Amersham MP Cheryl Gillan has served the constituency for more than 25 years, and was elected at a time when she says there were only 20 female MPs on Tory benches and around 60 women in Parliament.

She first held ministerial office in 1995 and became the first female Secretary of State for Wales in 2010.

Speaking after she received the royal stamp of approval for political and public service, she said she was “delighted” to be recognised.

She said in a statement: “It is a great privilege to have served as an MP for Chesham and Amersham for over 25 years and I owe my career to the people that selected and then elected me to Parliament.

“I have also been fortunate to work with many people and organisations such as the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, the Council of Europe, the NATO Parliament, the National Autistic Society – bringing in the Autism Act 2009 as a private members’ bill, the UK Sepsis Trust, Muscular Dystrophy UK, the CPRE, the Woodland Trust and all those people fighting HS2, to name but a few.

“As a woman in front line politics it has never been an easy role and, as we mark 100 years since women received the vote, I am proud to be an MP who is a woman and hope that our numbers will increase.

“It continues to be a fulfilling, challenging and fascinating job which enables me to serve my Queen, country and constituents and contribute to the success of the United Kingdom.”