Politicians are not out of touch

Just three more columns until I stand down from Parliament, and in them I’d like to reflect on some of the things about the life of an MP that I think are important.
First I hope to persuade you that politicians are absolutely not out of touch – because the exact opposite is true. Indeed, being in touch with my constituents is one of things I am going to miss the most.

Obviously, most MPs live in or near their constituencies, so the local issues that affect their constituents also affect them and their families.

But being a Member of Parliament also means that you have an unrivalled insight into the concerns of the wide range of people, communities and groups that make up your constituency. Inevitably the priorities of those who live in Droitwich and Hartlebury in the north of my constituency can be very different to those in Evesham and Broadway in the south, for example.

And it goes deeper still. Constituency surgeries offer a unique and very private insight into the worries of a huge range of people. Over the twenty three years I have been an MP, I have heard some of the most heart breaking but also some of the most uplifting stories in my surgeries.

So often people think their problem is unique – but it rarely is. MPs can help precisely because we are in touch with such a wide range of problems, from getting a passport so someone can go on a family holiday to sorting out issues with benefit payments. And in the process we learn what policies need to be changed to make things work better.

As we do this, we should not wear our party colours too loudly, though. A pet hate of mine is when MPs say they are the ‘Conservative’ or ‘Labour’ MP for an area. In their constituencies, MPs should just be the Member of Parliament. Perhaps it is those shrill party political arguments that make us seem out of touch

You can’t be out of touch and be an MP. An MP’s job is to represent their constituency in Parliament. As you do that you gain a unique insight into the issues and interests of all the people you represent.


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