MPS have to be ac­count­able

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - Dreadful Secret Of Reed Pond -

School be­gins next week and, for many fam­i­lies, Septem­ber means back to busi­ness as usual. For me it’s back to West­min­ster af­ter a sum­mer set­ting up my con­stituency of­fice in Can­ter­bury, em­ploy­ing staff and tak­ing on a huge range of cases on be­half of con­stituents.

Last week­end, how­ever, I did al­low my­self a brief break in Der­byshire; I went camp­ing with friends from the first group “grad­u­at­ing” from the Jo Cox Women in Lead­er­ship Pro­gramme.

This was a train­ing scheme that I was lucky enough to get on to, long be­fore I be­came an MP. It was set up in mem­ory of the late Jo Cox, the Labour MP for Bat­ley and Spen, who was so trag­i­cally mur­dered be­fore last year’s EU ref­er­en­dum.

She was a proud fem­i­nist and, like me, wanted to cham­pion more women into tak­ing po­si­tions of in­flu­ence and lead­er­ship in pol­i­tics, busi­ness, char­i­ties and the public sec­tor.

The week­end wasn’t all toast­ing marsh­mal­lows and singsongs around camp­fires. We talked late into the night about our ac­count­abil­ity as politi­cians, lead­ers and lead­ers-to-be.

Ac­count­abil­ity is the cor­ner­stone of mod­ern pol­i­tics; peo­ple must know what their public representatives are up to. Only by be­ing to­tally open can in­ac­tion, lazi­ness and en­ti­tle­ment be ex­posed.

That’s why – within 24 hours of at­tend­ing – I’m putting ev­ery event I’ve been to to­gether with a small re­port on my web­site.

You will also see ques­tions I ask and speeches I make in Par­lia­ment on­line. I will be send­ing out an e-newslet­ter once a month to sub­scribers and you can fol­low me on Twit­ter (@Rosieduffield1 – nearly 6,000 fol­low­ers and count­ing).

My surg­eries al­ter­nate weekly be­tween Can­ter­bury, Whit­stable and a re­volv­ing se­lec­tion of vil­lages (de­tails on my web­site).

I want to be a “lo­cal” MP and, who­ever you voted for, I want ev­ery­one in this con­stituency to un­der­stand and be­lieve that I will work my hard­est to re­solve their prob­lems and, where I see there has been an in­jus­tice, to use my po­si­tion to act on their be­half.

Start­ing in my team this month will be two part­time case­work­ers. They will con­tact agen­cies to progress con­stituents’ is­sues on my be­half. I also have two part­time em­ploy­ees in Par­lia­ment with me and a full-time as­sis­tant in the con­stituency of­fice. I want you to know this, so that noth­ing is hid­den, or seems cloaked in mys­tery. My team works hard: al­ready in the 12 weeks since I was elected we’ve opened 262 cases and sent out thou­sands of emails and hun­dreds of let­ters.

Wak­ing un­der can­vas in Der­byshire on Mon­day, it seemed a long way away from the tur­rets of West­min­ster that I’ll be back to next week.

My friends and I packed up our tents, said our good­byes and as I sat on the train home, I re­mem­bered Jo Cox’s mem­o­rable words about unity and friend­ship. “We have far more in com­mon than that which di­vides us.”

Those words mean a lot to me, not only be­cause of the strong bonds I have made with the women from the Jo Cox Pro­gramme, but also be­cause that’s how I feel about my con­stituency.

What­ever your pol­i­tics, wher­ever you live and what­ever walk of life you are from, I’m here to rep­re­sent you and I’m go­ing to work very, very hard to do so. Web­site: www.rosieduffieldmp. Con­stituency of­fice: 01227 467888

Let­ters - pages 18 & 19

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