Mike Hill MP: Street surgeries are definitely working by knocking on doors
Last weekend I was out in the Victoria Ward with local Labour Councillors and activists simply knocking on doors, meeting people and having everyday conversations about what troubles or affects them, or not, as the case may be. I did the same a fortnight ago in the Burn Valley Ward and, to be frank, it was just nice to talk to folks about things that are important to them and not be just asking for their vote.
A lot of issues raised with me were local and best dealt with by the Council or local police, such as crime, littering, the state of the roads, footpaths, anti-social behaviour and the old perennial – dog muck; but others were about things that rightly your local MP should be dealing with.
The street surgeries are definitely working. I’m picking up on stories that otherwise I wouldn’t do so unless people made an appointment with me. I’m helping folk who wouldn’t have even thought that their MP could intervene in their case and help them out and certainly having conversations about what I can and cannot assist with. I’m also getting a feel for the opinions of people on the street on every topic in the political sphere at the moment.
To be honest, I’m just loving getting out there on the streets on the weekend just having an honest open chat with folks without the rush and pressure of an election, and simply finding out what is important to them or what their concerns are. I often have to explain, when necessary, that as the MP I’m not actually in charge of the council. It was a common topic of conversation that Hartlepool Borough Council is run by the Brexit Party and not by the Labour Party, and that even if Labour did control the Council, I can’t stop them from making decisions as I’m not a councillor.
But what I can do and will always do is hold them to account. I can question their actions and decisions, work with the Council when their ambitions for the Town are right, but also challenge them when they are not right; which is something I’ve never ever been afraid to do.
The important thing for me is to always continue to listen to the voice of my constituents and continue to fly the flag for Hartlepool in Parliament as I have done again this week. That’s what counts to me.