The Prime Minster has congratulated Witham’s MP as a reading initiative celebrates its third year.

Get Witham Reading was launched in 2012 by MP Priti Patel in an attempt to boost reading among schoolchildren and young people in the area.

In a letter to Ms Patel, Prime Minister David Cameron praised the scheme.

He said: “I am delighted that you are, once again, organising this annual reading event designed to promote reading for pleasure, while also helping to improve standards in literacy in children and young people.

“Reading feeds the imagination of pupils and can help them to develop culturally, emotionally, and socially.”

Mr Cameron declined an invitation to attend the launch event for this year’s scheme due to “competing diary commitments”.

The celebration will take place on Monday at Tiptree Heath Primary School, attended by 100 children, parents and teachers.

Children’s book authors Julia Jones and Julie Irwin will be hosting workshops for pupils on the day.

Ms Patel said: “I am excited to launch the next phase of Get Witham Reading and to join pupils from right across the Witham constituency in enjoyable reading activities.

“Leisurely reading is extremely important for learning and early development as it helps foster greater imaginations while improving core academic skills.”

William Chamley, the lead organiser at Tiptree Heath Primary School said, “This event aims to develop a reading culture and encourage a love of books, which will raise the achievement in reading within school.”