Politically Speaking with Kim Leadbeater: I’m ready to get back to work on all those issues that really matter
I will do everything that I can to represent you
Kim Leadbeater MP writes: Happy New Year to everyone. I hope you managed to have a restful and enjoyable break over the festive period.
I’m not very good at switching off, but I did my best to rest and recharge after an intense six months – for my own sanity but, even more importantly, for the sanity of my friends and loved ones. It was good to spend much needed time together and I was very grateful for the opportunity to do so, but I know it has been tough for many people.
Sadly, Covid is still with us, which has meant many people weren’t able to undertake their usual Christmas plans for a second year; I’ve lost count of the many conversations I’ve had with people who have either spent time isolating or recuperating from Covid or know somebody who has. I wish everyone who is ill a speedy and full recovery.
I have reflected over the last couple of weeks about my first six months in the job, and I know I’ve said it before, but it really is a huge privilege to be your Member of Parliament. I will never take this privilege for granted and will do everything I can to represent you and make you proud.
Going forward I need to continue to work on the balance of being in Westminster and getting round the whole of Batley and Spen – something that is not always easy as they are both hugely important parts of the job. I basically have to be in Parliament from Monday-Wednesday most weeks, sometimes longer, and then I spend the second half of the week and the weekend at home in the constituency. As much as I am embracing being in London, I am always very happy to be back!
And what a constituency it is. At over 20 square miles there is quite a lot of ground to cover. And it’s such a varied place, with the mixture of urban and rural, towns and villages, ethnically and culturally diverse. From Hanging Heaton to Hartshead to Heckmondwike, Batley to Birstall to Birkenshaw and everywhere in between there are nearly 110,000 residents, hundreds of businesses and 56 schools and colleges (more than 40 of them rated good or outstanding, which is great).
With such a large geographic area and diverse population, the range of issues that come through my office is very varied. Someone described the job of an MP to me as being a bit like a GP – you need to know something about everything, and this certainly feels to be the case, both in the constituency and nationally. It can be frustrating as you feel very thinly spread, and sadly I don’t have a magic wand to solve every problem, but my team and I will always do our very best to help where we can. My constituency office is open Monday-Friday to deal with the wide variety of emails and calls that come in from constituents and we will always try to signpost people to the best source of help. Nationally, I will continue to represent the views of local people as best I can.
We face a lot of challenges, many of which pre-date the pandemic – whether it’s food poverty or the growing problem of fuel poverty, long waiting lists for NHS treatment, access to dental care, under-investment in social care and key public services and life expectancy below the national average. I will do all I can to hold the Government to account on these important issues which have an impact on the daily lives of people in Batley and Spen.
I have a deep and genuine love of the place where I was born and brought up, and even more importantly, a profound affection for the people who live here. So, with new energy after my festive break, I’m ready to get back to work on all those issues that really matter. I don’t do this job for the title or the glamour (not that there’s much of that to be fair) and I know I’ll never please everybody, but I’m here for you and will always do my very best for you. Please do keep in touch via my website http://www.kim4batleyandspen.com and social media channels, where you can get all the latest on what I’m up to and sign up for my regular newsletter.
Thank you again for reading this – and a very happy new year.