Many will recall how we advertised two trips to Westminster for constituents in my annual update in September, a magazine mailed out to the majority of Calder Valley homes.
I can report that from several hundred applications the 40 people who were drawn out took their trips in December just before Christmas, which included a tour of Westminster.
I think from the emails and letters we have received since, the tours were incredibly valuable. It gave constituents a great opportunity to visit their Parliament as well as spending an hour doing a Q & A with me as their MP.
I am incredibly conscious of the importance of finding new and different ways to communicate with constituents, and giving them a better understanding of what the work of an MP entails.
I also think it is vitally important for people to be able to challenge me on my views and also on government policy. At the last count, we do a huge variety of things to communicate with you the constituents of Calder Valley and to be as accessible as possible.
This includes my annual update magazine; advertising on buses; my website, ‘Meet Your MP’ evenings; this monthly column and regular surgeries around the constituency to name but a few.
My team and I are always looking for new ways to interact. One new idea we’ve had recently is to suggest to a constituent who requested a surgery to get together a few of their friends and neighbours to one of their homes on an evening for a coffee, and I’ll come along to do a Q & A session for an hour or so.
This suggestion was very well received and so I’d like to invite all Calder Valley readers to do likewise if they wish. If you drop my office an email on email@example.com we can arrange a mutually suitable evening.
n Finally, after lots of pressure from the publi and some stalwart lobbying by Conservative Councillor Scott Benton, the Labour and Liberal Councillors who run Calderdale have finally seen sense and decided not to take away the subsidy for nursery provision at six Sure Start Centres around Calderdale.