Out and about in summer
Sir – As your MP I spend up to 40 weeks per year, four days per week, in London representing the interests of Dumfries and Galloway at Westminster.
But from July 22 to September 5 it’s summer recess and this is a valuable time when I can focus exclusively on the unique needs of my constituents.
Far from being a holiday, these weeks are actionpacked!
My diary is quickly filling up with meetings and, of course, there are a good few agricultural shows and gala days to attend too.
Dumfries and Galloway’s summer events are great fun and they also provide me with an important opportunity to reconnect with local communities and to chat to people in an informal way.
It is often during these informal and unplanned chats that people feel able to tell me of a problem they have been having or ask for my advice on a sensitive issue.
Quite often people add that they didn’t want to bother me with it or they say “I’m sure you have much more important things to do” – which is not the case at all. I would like to say very loudly and emphatically to all my constituents – you are my number one priority and if there is anything I can help you with then please contact me.
There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind – if something is bothering you or you need help – please simply let me know.
Ultimately, my summer recess is about helping people – it is the part of my role as MP that I enjoy the most and I find it incredibly rewarding.
There is no greater privilege than to know you can use your influence to help someone at their wit’s end, it is truly humbling and I am keen to help as many people as I can over the next few weeks.
The diversity of different issues I have discussed with people lately has been staggering – from windfarms to flooding, food labelling to education – every possible subject you could ever imagine.
Finding solutions to problems can sometimes be complex and time consuming but on other occasions, a simple phonecall or letter from my office can have a dramatic impact.
I have never held regular formal surgeries but instead operate an open door policy – you don’t need a surgery appointment before you can get my help – just call 01387 265 698 or email richard. ark[email protected]liament.uk. You can also pop into either my Dumfries or Stranraer office – we stand ready to help you whenever suits you.
Of course, I know that many of my constituents live nowhere near either Dumfries or Stranraer and for a variety of reasons people can find it difficult to travel. I want to be accessible to everyone, not just those who live in our population centres so for that reason, I am planning a constituency wide Camper Van Summer Tour so that I can reach you wherever you may be.
If you would like your town or village added to my summer tour then please let me know.
And remember, if there is anything I can do to support you or your community then please do not hesitate – get in touch and let me help.