There are Members of Parliament who have a relationship with their constituency which can best be described (politely) as detached.
That’s not for me; I’ve always seen my constituency work as the heart of the job that I am proud to do.
Fighting to strengthen and improve local services, helping constituents to solve their individual problems, and standing up for the vulnerable people in the community in which my family and I live, all means so much to me. Now, during the summer, I am able to spend even more time at home in Lincolnshire.
I often wonder how MPs who don’t live where they represent manage. Using the same schools, doctors, shops and roads means I share the joys and tribulations of the people I serve. That’s why I know that what people value is all year round work, and that, rightly, they resent those who just turn up at elections expecting votes.
Serving my country as a member of the Government, of course, matters too. So, I was delighted that David Cameron, in the recent cabinet reshuffle, asked me to serve as Minister of State for Transport, in addition to continuing in my role advising him, at the heart of Government in Downing Street.
My tasks in the Department for Transport include looking at major projects across all of Britain. I will be leading for the Government on infrastructure and large road projects, as well as handling ports and shipping.
With perfect coincidental timing, in the same week as the reshuffle, I hosted and addressed a Parliamentary launch for the arts funding group Transported. In partnership with the local haulage firm FreshLinc, their latest project is a wonderful celebration of our area’s horticultural heritage and Lincolnshire’s key role as a transport hub.
Beautifully designed artwork, depicting South Holland’s flower fields in all their glory, adorned a lorry which circled Parliament – showcasing the splendour of our area for all to see. With artist Alisha Miller hosting a series of workshops across South Holland to design a further nine canvases, these articulated lorries displaying beautiful Lincolnshire vistas will be seen by thousands of people, across the UK and throughout Europe.
This combination of Lincolnshire’s heritage, our vital haulage and transportation industry – a major part of our local economy – and a community project involving more people in the arts, is exactly the kind of collaboration to be welcomed. Inspiring a sense of place and purpose, arts are the flame that lights our lives.