Sir Jeremy Quin: ‘It has been such a huge privilege to serve as MP for Horsham’

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For nearly a decade I have penned my weekly column (never yet missed a deadline!) and I am grateful to have the opportunity through the County Times to thank my wonderful constituents for their support over my years as Horsham’s MP.

It is an extraordinarily thrilling and rewarding role.

In my first few weeks I persuaded a housing provider not to evict tenants and in doing so recognised that a role with no executive power can still be a powerful force in the local community.

Being able to use that for constituents is what I found most rewarding.

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Sir Jeremy Quin with Dr Alex George at the opening of the iRock Horsham DistrictSir Jeremy Quin with Dr Alex George at the opening of the iRock Horsham District
Sir Jeremy Quin with Dr Alex George at the opening of the iRock Horsham District

There are sadly desperate circumstances where frustratingly it doesn’t work but there have been thousands of cases where I could make a difference and it is a wonderful feeling.

All this is alongside the joy of being involved in every inch of our communities – with open invitations to visit schools, GP practices, charities and businesses.

There are so many wonderful things that happen in our town and villages, you get to hear about them as an MP and every weekend and a huge number of evenings were taken up by such events – it’s a privilege to be able to support them!

Such informal contact alongside “surgeries” and open meetings helps highlight issues. I have loved seeing our community prosper, in many cases being directly involved in it doing so.

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Sir Jeremy Quin at the opening of Bohunt HorshamSir Jeremy Quin at the opening of Bohunt Horsham
Sir Jeremy Quin at the opening of Bohunt Horsham

Highlights include the successful establishment of Bohunt School (among others), far better rail connectivity through London, the expansion of Collyer’s and the Weald, the new Horsham Fire and Training Station, new Police approaches and resources, the list goes on!

I am especially attached to the iRock Horsham District.

My toughest time as MP (as it was for so many others) was not Covid but the tragedies that followed.

It was Collyer’s students and Millais pupils who asked for a self-referral hub for young people.

I looked into it, got more and more excited about the prospect and got the resources committed – today it thrives.

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I am frustrated that progress already underway on local SEN provision, action on car racing on our roads, enhanced facilities in Horsham Hospital and much more I won’t personally see to fruition but I am sure these will be taken up and pursued.

However the MP’s role can never be solely locally focussed.

With a UK population of 70 million we have just 650 MPs and we need each and every MP on behalf of us all to engage in our national decisions – making them, scrutinising them, holding Government to account.

I am grateful to have been given that platform to do my best to improve our future.

Not everyone will agree with every decision all of the time – that’s democracy – but we need people prepared to undertake the role.

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Just “being there” is fascinating but intense and demanding – a Defence Minister through Covid and Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Policing Minister for the Queen’s funeral – but throughout you have the privilege of working with brilliant colleagues in the civil and uniformed services.

The “buck” stops with the Minister but there are dedicated public servants there to help.

The real challenge is to make changes and deliver better.

From opening up procurement across the whole of the public sector, to making us more secure through innovation and partnerships in defence, to putting in place the groundwork to enable proper compensation to finally be announced for the victims of infected blood, I am grateful to have had the opportunity.

Likewise scrutiny cross-party in select committees: delivering better outcomes for BHS pensioners and legislative change as a result in my first year and higher defence investment to keep us safe in my last.

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It is a job involving long hours, seven days a week and (if done well) worrying, intense and demanding.

You and your family have to smile through the demands and try and ignore abuse, some malicious most simply misinformed or unthinking. And the risk of worse.

It is worth it though for the people! Amazing people day to day and amazing constituents who set out to change national policy – from cancer prevention and cure to access to child trust funds – with whom it’s an immense honour to work.

It has been such a huge privilege to serve as MP for Horsham.

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I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity and for the dedicated support of my brilliant parliamentary team and so many of you throughout.

I wish my successor all the best in taking on what is a tremendous role with so much opportunity to improve lives locally, nationally and further afield.

May I also give a heartfelt thank you for putting me in a position through three elections from which I was, I hope, able to help many constituents and contribute in a small way to our country as a whole.