In addition to my regular doctor’s offices and agricultural and county fairs, it’s been an eventful few weeks!
I’ve always said that northwest Durham is one of the most beautiful corners of the country. This tour proves me right every year.
My job gives me a unique insight into every nook and cranny of life in our cities and villages. What renews my drive is the fact that while I have heard a number of strange and wonderful stories from people from all walks of life, everyone has been so friendly, optimistic and welcoming. It’s obviously a cliché that northerners are open and hospitable, but for me there’s more than a grain of truth in it. I can certainly imagine some MPs who could learn something from this.
Doing things like this is not only one of the most enjoyable parts of the job, but also one of the most important functions of a Member of Parliament. The only way to represent my constituents is to see what life is like across the constituency and be seen by my constituents.
Unfortunately, I have spoken to far too many people who have said that before me they have never seen a representative hold a surgery, host a job fair, or simply pound the pavement. I am determined to make a difference for such people and to begin restoring people’s trust in politicians and our political system.
As you visit each town and village in our area, you will get a sense of the subtly different characters, traditions and lifestyles of each one. What they all have in common, however, is a strong community spirit that is all too easily forgotten elsewhere in the country. From community sports clubs to art fairs to village gatherings, you can almost feel it in the air.
However, nowhere is this more evident than at the smaller agricultural shows and county fairs, where you can actually see the entire community pulling together.
It was particularly nice to show some of my parliamentary staff around our area. Whenever they come here, they are always blown away by the breathtaking views we have right on our doorstep. North West Durham undoubtedly has some of the most beautiful and dramatic scenery in Britain. Although I take it for granted because I live here, it is a real privilege to live surrounded by natural beauty every day. Weeks like these are a good time to take stock of how lucky we are.
Members of Parliament are elected to represent the population of their constituency. All too often MPs are busy listening to the people who shout the loudest. It’s an important part of the job to go into every small town and village and understand what people actually think.
I will definitely take what I saw, heard and learned with me to Westminster and look forward to many more visits in the coming months.
READ MORE FROM RICHARD HOLDEN: WHY A MAYOR IN THE NORTH EAST IS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY
READ MORE OPINION FROM THE NORTHERN ECHO