Whilst this column is called ‘In The House’, the reality is that MPs are often out of the House.
For the past three weeks it has been party conference season when Parliament goes into recess.
As much as I enjoy my work in Westminster, I am at my happiest when spending time in the constituency meeting with the organisations and individuals who make our community tick and whom I am keen to help and support.
I squeezed as much into my diary as possible and during these weeks I held nine surgery and drop-in sessions for constituents at different locations right across the Bexhill and Battle constituency. These surgeries are an ideal opportunity for people to meet me in their local area to ask for my help on individual matters or to lobby me on a wide range of local matters and national policy. I find it is a really good way for me to hear first-hand about the issues that are important to my constituents.
Our hospitals and surgeries are under a huge amount of pressure and I was able to discuss this with patients and clinicians at the six institutions I visited. I also toured seven local schools where I was able to take questions from teachers and children on a range of issues.
Of our other local public services, I met with our local police chiefs and the leaders of our district and county councils, five Town and Parish Council teams and attended three meetings to promote the case for High Speed Rail.
As well as supporting the public sector, I am keen to help our local businesses and enterprise and was delighted to visit almost 50 businesses and traders in our towns and villages.
In addition, I spent a day on farming and food production and was privileged to join farmers from the dairy, arable, livestock and fruit sectors.
The case for new housing is being made in our constituency and I was able to speak in six meetings to make the case. I attended a further twenty meetings in homes and venues across the constituency with charities, churches, musicians and artists, care homes and political discussion groups.
Without doubt the most challenging day was when I agreed to undertake the 10k run along our new Link Road from Bexhill to Hastings and back. Having agreed to the run, I found that I was booked in straight afterwards to the RAF’s 75th Anniversary Memorial Service for the Battle of Britain.
I realised that I would have to either run without stopping or turn up to the church service in lycra. I was relieved to complete the run in 52 minutes, giving me time to shower and put on a suit. This turned out to be a good move when I found myself being asked to inspect the brigade!
After spending a day at my own party’s conference, I was back in the Combe Haven area taking in the fresh air with our new Countryside Park trustees to find out more about their plans.
It was a busy and rewarding three weeks and I am now back ‘In the House’.