It seems a long time since Theresa May called a snap General Election. Now I sit opposite her on the green benches every Wednesday, bobbing up and down, trying to catch the speaker’s eye for a chance to question the Prime Minister herself.
That weekly appointment may be the most high profile public event in my diary but, for me, it’s just one of the many opportunities I now have to represent the people of Edinburgh West and the concerns that you bring to me.
Since June 9 my week has been divided - every Monday to Thursday has been spent in Westminster, and then home to hold advice surgeries and catch up on the many issues you have brought to the office. For me that is the core of the job: being here to respond to your concerns, meet the community councils and work with our other elected representatives in Edinburgh West.
And there are the daily calls from people who need our help with pensions, benefits, immigration, airport noise, environmental concerns and many other areas.
We’ve also been able to meet local employers and companies and raise issues with organisations like Edinburgh Airport, BT and the Scottish Government.
But in Westminster is the opportunity to press for the change on both those general and individual issues.In just a few weeks I’ve been able to raise the RBS jobs cuts in the House of Commons, then have a chance to speak to the bank themselves to get reassurances about jobs in Edinburgh West.
I responded to the concerns many of you raised about pension inequalities for the WASPI women born in the 1950s by joining the All Party Parliamentary Group on the issue, and signing a proposed Bill to review the legislation. And I was able to ask the Health Minister, in a debate, to ensure that the forthcoming inquiry on contaminated blood transfusions which affected so many people across Scotland, will have the right powers to enable it to call the witnesses and obtain the documents the victims and their families need to get justice.
Perhaps the most important thing I’ve discovered so far, however, is that amidst the pomp and circumstance of the Palace of Westminster are many ordinary people, like me, committed to doing their best for the people who elected them.
Over the summer I will be home in Edinburgh West talking to as many of those people as I can, with the team I have set up to work for you. In my maiden speech in the House of Commons I promised to send my time as your MP working with my team to focus on the issues that you are concerned about.
If you have anything you want to raise with us please drop in to our temporary base at 183 St John’s road or our new office at 125 St John’s Road from later this summer.
I hope to see you there.
Christine A. Jardine MP