I am using my column this week to say thank you to so many people who play a part in my life as an MP.
I really do have a fantastic job. I absolutely love it. To be entering my second year as MP for Eastbourne and Willingdon is a genuine honour. I am extremely privileged, and I do appreciate all the kind words I have received over the last few days acknowledging the year’s anniversary. It’s interesting that the kind comments I have received have come from a wide variety of sources – not just traditional Conservative supporters, but people have told me they normally vote Labour, Green, UKIP, Lib Dem – but have still found me to be an accessible and hard working MP. I do appreciate this. When I won a year ago I committed to campaign for and support everyone in the town no matter who they voted for, and that is what I have done, and will continue to do. Of course, it is impossible to please everyone all the time - no–one can achieve that. But as I have shown I am genuinely interested in your views, and very keen to hear from local people no matter what the issue, or where they stand.
The Assisted Dying debate was a good case in point. Back in September there was a move to change the law – this is an area I feel strongly about and have always been consistent with my views. But I think it’s true to say that before I was elected, and since I was always available to meet and discuss the issues no matter how difficult the discussion.
But that’s a matter of conscience. Most politicians wouldn’t change their view on such a matter. There are other examples where I would listen to views expressed and then consider where I stood – the local cycle paths debate, for example. By seeking views of residents it became obvious to me that a scheme that was proposed was well intentioned, but lacking in a number of details and I called for more work and a thorough study to be done before confirming any changes.
I have also enjoyed using the position as MP to be able to work behind the scenes to get the right decisions made in government. Changes to Tax Credits, PIP allowances and the recent ‘Dubs’ proposal on unaccompanied children in Europe and also the school academies debate – all good cases where I was able to speak behind the scenes to get the changes that were needed through.
So what lies ahead? I have no doubt, that despite the extraordinarily long hours and the, at times, tough challenges, that I will continue to love every minute of the job. And you can be sure that I will be here for you no matter what as a hard working, local MP.
Why not get more involved? Come and see me – I am around and about all the time in Eastbourne and Willingdon – Politics in the Pub, Supermarket Surgeries, open surgeries in every part of the town, private appointments, my office is in the centre of Eastbourne (Grove Rd) and open every weekday. And of course you can use more traditional methods of picking the phone up or emailing me!
All the details are on my website – and you maybe interested in tours of Parliament where we can meet in London - I’d love to welcome you there!