This week in Westminster, as is so often the case, constituency matters have remained very much to the forefront of my mind.
I often reflect that the ability to shine a light on the problems of constituents is one of the most powerful tools at my disposal with which to help them.
This week I have been fortunate to secure three opportunities to help constituents by raising issues directly with minsters.
I asked my second PMQ this week, taking the opportunity to praise the work of the Trussell Trust and ask why the payment of benefits to which people are justly entitled are so often delayed, plunging households into financial crisis and placing the burden on food banks to step in and see them through until normality is restored.
I also asked a question on behalf of a local company Cavendish Films, who are engaged in producing training materials to help educate and mentor people back into work. Their track record of successful and cost-effective assistance is impressive and I intend to do all I can to help as many people as possible ‘plug-in’ to their expertise.
I am also asking a question this week about the forthcoming AV referendum – asking what steps will be taken to inform the voters about the choice that faces them in May.
One of the many merits of first-past-the-post is that everyone understands it but I am concerned that too little has been done to explain the labyrinthine workings and likely outcomes of AV – which is not true proportional representation but a watered down version described by Nick Clegg himself as a ‘miserable little compromise’.
Last week saw the latest in my series of volunteering engagements. I spent a highly rewarding day with the brilliant staff and clients at Focus Point on Wilton Road (including having the pleasure of making the acquaintance of Salisbury powerlifting legend Lee Steggles – someone who, I already sense, has really earned her place in the hearts of Salisbury people).
I first visited Focus Point in the late summer last year and was so impressed I decided then and there to make the time to return and take the time to gain a deeper understanding of their work.
I am now a bigger admirer of their work than ever and look forward to doing my best to join in their 20th anniversary celebrations in June.