With all the fast-moving news about the latest things in Westminster it is worth always remembering that constituencies send their MPs to Parliament to work hard on their behalf, and although we scrutinise and pass laws, the most important thing is our local community. Over the last couple of weeks, I have reported back to North Cornwall and been quite clear that during the leadership election, the Whips office will remain neutral and continue working to ensure government business makes its way through the House of Commons. Of course, I will vote, but my support will be based on which candidate has the best plan for rural and coastal consistencies like ours, not just what they will do in terms of national governance.
Since I was first elected as your MP in 2015 my office has dealt with over 50,000 cases and received almost 100,000 emails. It is incredible when I look at the statistics, as my team and I have worked on every sort of constituent issue imaginable. Many of the cases we work on are as simple as speeding up a process with a government department or writing to an organisation on a constituent’s behalf. Part of my caseload can also be very difficult; issues relating to end-of-life care, or serious crimes do arrive on my desk and they can be hard to read and work on. My team and I always do as much as possible to help our North Cornwall constituents and I make it clear to everyone on my staff that the individual is at the heart of everything we do. Behind every case is a person with an issue they want my help to resolve.
The job of a Member of Parliament is constantly evolving, and even in my time, I can see how social media has changed the work of not only MPs but also the government itself. I’ve met several former MPs and wonder how the job used to be done before the advent of the internet and email. There are still a lot of people in North Cornwall who don’t go online and don’t wish to; so we still need to ensure that written letters, cash points and face-to-face appointments remain an available option to people so that their access to services is not diminished. The pandemic accelerated the trend toward work from home and remote meetings too. It can be argued that moving to a more virtual economy will be helpful for the environment but the impact on productivity also must be accounted for. With all evolutions in the way we work, it is unlikely that we will return to our previous habits, and I envisage a hybrid type of working environment to become the norm over the next few years. This gives North Cornwall a very good opportunity to become a leader in small start-ups and micro businesses - but we must ensure we lead on connectivity and put ourselves at the forefront of the gigabit revolution. I will continue to push hard in government to lay down the case for North Cornwall to be at the front of the queue.