I consider that an MP’s prime responsibility is to his or her constituents.
In this connection, it is surely instructive to analyse a member’s response performance to communications received from these constituents.
WriteToThem.com has conducted a survey in which all MPs were assessed on their response rates for the year 2013. Some 58,558 people answered this feedback survey about communicating with their MP.
They were asked whether they had received a reply (not just an acknowledgement) from their representative.
They were surveyed initially after two weeks and, if they did not reply, they were surveyed again after three weeks.
I have examined the data as it relates to our local MPs in East Sussex. Politicians were rated from “very high” to “very low”. Top marks go to Gregory Barker (Bexhill & Battle) and Simon Kirby (Brighton Kemptown) whose response ratings were both “very high”. Amber Rudd (Hastings & Rye) achieved a “high”. Charles Hendry (Wealden) was only rated “medium” but it should be noted that he is not seeking re-election and he may need to give some attention to his change of career.
Wooden spoons might be deemed appropriate for Norman Baker (Lewes) and Stephen Lloyd (Eastbourne) both of whom were assessed as “low”.
Norman Baker may argue that, as a junior minister, he has additional demands upon his time yet Gregory Barker is also a junior minister. lt is interesting to observe that William Hague achieved a “high” rating despite carrying the heavy responsibility of Foreign Secretary which entails overseas travel, often to parts of the world many of us would prefer not to visit. The Prime Minister was also rated “high”.
Amber Rudd carries out the unpaid duties of Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
To the best of my knowledge Stephen Lloyd has no position in the Government and therefore, I suggest, he has no excuse for his “low” response rating.
Many of the communications made by constituents to their MP are from people who are in some distress and regard their representative at Westminster as the last resort of assistance. They may be on low incomes with few, if any savings and could be vulnerable to exploitation.
They seek comfort from someone who is sympathetic, caring and compassionate.
Michael J Richards