Article for the Droitwich Advertiser - Being a Minister

One of my Droitwich constituents recently told me off for not telling you more about my work as a minister - and I think he's got a point.

Being an MP is a strange old business. Some people expect you to live all your life in London and are pleasantly surprised when you turn up in Worcestershire at all, while others seem to expect you to devote your entire life to the constituency and forget that a large part of an MP's life should be spent in Parliament worrying about national issues and representing his or her constituents at the national level.

Getting the balance right can be a real challenge. You need to do both - and they can both take quite a lot of doing!

Doing this successfully is really important and it is the variety of constituency life and its refreshing contrast with the big issues we have to deal with at Westminster that makes the job so enjoyable and stimulating.

But often the two roles overlap. Look at one topical example; I think I can only understand the issues around changes to benefit payments much better if I have dealt with some of the people directly affected in one of my regular surgeries.

And recently, I was able to meet a group of local small businesses who sell to the Ministry of Defence that really helped me in my job as Minister for Defence Equipment and Support.

So I will try to tell you a little more about my life as a minister in future columns - it's a real privilege and fascinating. But I will never forget that it is my constituents who put me in Parliament and that it is to them that I owe my loyalty.


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