Article for MyLocal News

One of the opportunities available to a Member of Parliament is to get an insight into somebody else’s job.  For example, a few years ago, I took part in the Parliamentary Police Scheme and spent 25 days over the course of a year working with Hertfordshire Constabulary.

A few weeks ago, I got the chance to join Royal Mail to deliver letters and parcels in Valley Road.  The purpose was to get a better understanding of how the Royal Mail is changing, with the number of letters falling considerably but with more parcels to deliver.

Royal Mail has changed the way it operates, with new delivery rounds in place.  There were certainly some problems when this was introduced but, I hope, this is settling down.

Of course, in the early summer, we politicians tend to find ourselves performing the role of postman on a regular basis – delivering leaflets during the election period.

This year felt like a long campaigning period.  First, the local and European elections fell towards the end of May, rather than the beginning.  Second, the elections were followed almost immediately by the Newark by-election.  Conservative MPs were expected to spend some time in Nottinghamshire campaigning, a stipulation which probably helped us get an excellent result.

When I am canvassing in South West Hertfordshire, it is a common experience to knock on the door of someone I know, or at least have met before.

However, I was a little taken aback when canvassing in the Newark constituency.  I introduced myself to one gentleman and he responded, “yes, we have met before”.  I thought this unlikely but he insisted.  “We met in the House of Commons,” he said, before explaining that he was a member of the Tax Facility of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England & Wales and I had met them on a tour of the House of Commons three years ago.  He proceeded to raise some of the finer points of VAT law.

He was right, too.  We had met before.  Small world.

By the end of a by-election campaign, residents can be a little fed up with frequent knocks on the door from campaigners.  I wondered if this was the reason behind one sign I saw on a front door in Newark: “Door may be opened by nudist.  No offence intended.”  As it happens, I was only delivering leaflets but I did think this was an ingenuous way of discouraging canvassers.  I subsequently mentioned the sign to someone who, rather unfairly, said “put ‘em down as Lib Dem!”

 


I have mentioned before Moor Park Mansion, perhaps the country’s grandest club house.  I have visited the place dozens of times since becoming MP but, for the first time, I got to visit the Arnhem Room the other day.

This room, on the first floor, was where the famous (or perhaps I should say, the notorious) Battle of Arnhem was planned as part of Operation Market Garden – a thrust through the Netherlands in September 1944 in an attempt to control the Ruhr.  Described as being ‘a bridge too far’, the attempt to capture Arnhem resulted in a huge number of Allied casualties.

What I hadn’t realised was that the planning stage had itself not gone smoothly.  In order to create a replica of the landscape, five tonnes of sand were taken up to relevant room.  Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, the room was on the first floor and the 18th century ceiling began to bow.  As a consequence, the sand was quickly thrown out of the window.  You can still see the consequences now, with a two inch gap between the bottom of an open door and the floor.

Tours are available at the Mansion where you can learn more about the place and its wartime history.


The reason I was at the Mansion was to speak at a networking brunch organised by the Rickmansworth Chamber of Commerce.  It was an excellent event and I was very pleased by the upbeat mood at the state of the economy.  It is tempting to think of Three Rivers as principally a residential area but it is also important that we provide a good environment for the many businesses in the locality.  Congratulations to the Chamber for all that they do to provide that strong voice for local businesses.

 

Croxley Rail Link Petition

Surgeries

David holds regular surgeries at various places in the constituency, including Rickmansworth, South Oxhey, Berkhamsted and Tring. 
 
Forthcoming dates:

2018
12th January - Berkhamsted
2nd February - Rickmansworth
9th February - Tring
23rd February - South Oxhey
9th March - Berkhamsted

Call 01923 771781 to make an appointment.

Record of surgeries

 

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