I had the pleasure of meeting two school trips this week to Westminster. One frequent question is the balance of time between Horsham and Parliament. There is no rule book. You need to be connected in the constituency to know the issues and equally connected in Westminster to be effective in taking them up!
When Parliament’s sitting, weekend events are great way to get about and most Fridays can also be used to talk to schools, businesses and charities. They are also an opportunity for constituency “surgeries”. Mostly these cover specific issues where a constituent needs help. However there are occassional political discussions. Sometimes different parties to the discussion seem to leave with different views on what was discussed: but that is an occupational hazard! While I see constituents most weeks, often issues can be resolved faster than that and I encourage anyone to get in contact by email, telephone or post (all details at www.jeremyquin.com).
However fairly regularly the Commons sits on a Friday to debate “Private Members Business”. Unfortunately some proposed bills are great ideas but would make very poor law! Ultimately any bill that’s properly debated has a reasonable chance if it has either cross party support or the active support of 100 MPs.
It was a pleasure last Friday to speak in support of a bill that secured cross party endorsement: the Assaults on Emergency Workers Bill. Put simply this bill toughens the law to protect those who protect us. Even in the Horsham District there were, in 2016-17, 21 assaults on police officers – in addition to attacks on healthcare professionals and other public servants. Before the bill came up the issue was forcefully drawn to my attention by a constituent. He, a police officer, and his colleague were attacked by an individual even as they provided him with potentially life saving first aid. No one should have to suffer that abuse. I supported this bill at every stage of its passage through the Commons chamber. It’s not perfect but it improves the current law and sends a clear message both to the perpetrators and to those who do so much valuable service to our communities.
Photo caption: meeting Students from Farlington School who visited Westminster this week