Monday, 8 June 2015

Newspaper column 20 May - My first week in Parliament

I am writing this back in Cornwall after my first week in Parliament.  It has been a truly memorable but somewhat surreal experience.  As one of the new intake of MPs I was taken through the Parliamentary induction process. Several of my fellow newcomers commented that it felt like we had joined Hogwarts crossed with Fort Knox. I did not go to university but I imagine this is what Fresher’s Week would be like.

In one corridor you pass men in tailcoats and white bow ties, while in the next you pass teams of heavily armed police. As you can imagine security is a high priority. The doormen lead you to a cloakroom where there is a hanger for your coat and a hook to hang your sword, since swords are not allowed in the chamber (note to self – remember to buy a sword).

There are strict rules about how you are allowed to address fellow members in the chamber and even how to enter and leave.  We were taught about the House of Commons procedures; how to register to speak in a debate, table a question and how to vote (hopefully in the correct lobby).

In the midst of all this I have been keen to get to work on the important issues for mid-Cornwall. I have already held meetings with ministers and officers to discuss issues that included; bringing the Spaceport to Newquay, moving forward on the new road link from St Austell to the A30 and addressing the concerns of residents of Fraddon around the traffic to and from the Anaerobic Digestion plant.  I also spoke briefly with the Prime Minister on the Stadium for Cornwall.  All of these issues are moving in a positive direction.

Here in mid-Cornwall I am focussed on setting up the constituency office so that my team and I can effectively serve local people. I am very clear this is what being your MP is primarily about. I have been interviewing for staff and viewing premises. Things are coming together and I expect the team to be in place in the next few weeks.

In the meantime I will be holding regular surgeries for local people.  These are designed so that you can bring your issues to me and discuss face to face. My first surgery will be in Newquay next week and then fortnightly in different locations around the constituency. If you would like to attend a surgery or if I can help in any way please drop me an email  Your you can call my off ice on our temporary number 07555069714.

Being your MP is an incredible honour and I look forward to representing and serving you for the next five years and working with you to make mid-Cornwall an even better place to live.