My inbox and postbag are always brimming with letters and e-mails from constituents on all manner of different subjects. One of my main jobs each day is to go through them and decide how I can help. A lady recently wrote to me complaining about the behaviour of MPs during Prime Minister’s Questions and I have to agree - it isn’t our finest hour. I’ve always felt that the braying Punch and Judy type of politics is one of the things that puts people off politicians and politics in general. I wish it was in my gift to change it. Sadly it isn’t, so I’ve written to the Speaker on her behalf to let him know exactly what she thinks. I’ll let you know when he replies. It doesn’t matter what issue you’ve got or who it is with, if you have a concern then I’ll always try to raise it with those in charge, politicians included.
One of the most common problems constituents raise with me is the dreaded pothole and it seems as though as soon as one is fixed another one pops up. That’s why I wasn’t surprised when a report this week found that ‘one in three roads are poor, very poor or terrible’. I know it’s an issue that drives motorists crazy because of the number of times it comes up when I’m out meeting people on the doorstep. I regularly write to bosses at Notts County Council to complain on behalf of fed up folk, so if you’ve got a pothole problem near you then get in touch and I’ll ask when they plan to sort it.
And finally, I’ve long argued politics needs to open its doors so it looks far more like Britain, so opening up my office and giving people work experience can be a first step on the ladder but, there’s work experience and there’s exploitation. I wasn’t surprised to see one Manchester MP being criticised for advertising for two people to work for him for a minimum of three months without pay or expenses. Over the last three years I’ve had a few people spend between four and 21 days on work experience with me and I’ve given a local lad a university placement. What annoys me is that the Parliamentary authorities don’t differentiate between someone who works free for a year and a volunteer who comes in for a few days to see what an MP does. I think that’s wrong because there’s a huge difference - I think short-term work experience is good but hiring unpaid long-term interns is really bad and the two shouldn’t be confused. I’d love to know what you think. Drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org