I am often asked when I visit schools about my typical day as your MP (actually the most common question is “have you met the Queen!”) so I thought I would set out in this column what I shall be doing this weekend.
I arrived back in Sutton Coldfield in time for an afternoon Advice Session yesterday, Thursday. Although I receive hundreds of emails and letters from constituents on all sorts of different issues each week, I also run regular Advice Sessions for those who want to see me face to face to discuss issues or concerns which they may have.
Following Thursday afternoons Advice Session I was off knocking on doors in Vesey in the company of our excellent community campaigner, Suzanne Webb, discussing issues of local concern including the threat to our Green Belt and the Labour Council’s insistence on the “Garden Tax” as part of their new budget. I can well understand why this is causing immense irritation throughout my constituency.
Following this it was off to Birmingham University for dinner with the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor to discuss some of the unique opportunities which Birmingham University provides across our country. These opportunities are of particular interest amongst the significant number of young people in Sutton Coldfield who will soon be considering their options for university placement.
First thing on Friday I shall be in my office for meetings all morning. I start with one of our local Head Teachers and then with those who are looking forward to starting a new football team for Sutton Coldfield. As well as dealing with constituency issues and letters and emails I will be meeting one of our constituents who is a student at Birmingham University to discuss their dissertation on the development (or otherwise) of the Sutton Coldfield Green Belt. Later on, I will also be meeting a constituent who represents the Congolese community locally.
Over lunch I shall be visiting the Birmingham Conservatoire headed up by its Principle Julian Lloyd Webber who I had the pleasure of welcoming to Sutton Coldfield last year. Having an organisation like the Birmingham Conservatoire, underlines the advantages for our ancient Royal Town of lying alongside Britain’s second biggest city.
Once safely back in Sutton Coldfield, I shall be meeting with the Fire Station Commander, Andy Smith, for one of my regular meetings with those who run our emergency services and keep us safe and sound. On this occasion we will be visiting our Town Hall to discuss a forthcoming event there for the Royal Town.
In the early evening it is the Annual General Meeting of the Royal Sutton Coldfield Conservative Association - one of the most important events in my political calendar. The Conservative Association is composed of activists and distinguished local citizens from amongst the thousands who make up the Conservative family throughout our Royal Town.
It is on this occasion that the Chairman of the Sutton Tories, the most senior and high ranking local Conservative and his fellow officers are elected. This meeting and indeed the Conservative Association are run by our excellent Chief Executive and Agent, Alex Hall.
This is the one occasion a year where I make a political speech, reporting back from Westminster. It has been a tumultuous year with the election of a Conservative majority Government, the exciting developments with our Town Council as well as the brilliant team of local people who love Sutton Coldfield and have come forward to stand for election to it.
On Saturday, I’ll be performing the official opening for Lilies Funeral Directors on Chester Road. I shall wish them success in the vital service they provide while emphasising that I have no wish to be a customer just yet!