Civics and civility

civil.jpgI didn’t know my predecessor, Stephen Mosley, very well, but when we met I always thought he was a decent man. One of Stephen’s campaigns, which I supported and planned to continue, was to improve rail services in our area.

That meant electrifying the lines to Crewe and North Wales, and also to Warrington to give us faster and more frequent services to Manchester.

When we invest in infrastructure we help businesses to grow and succeed and we get our investment back in economic growth. So the plans were good for Chester. One major employer in our city tells me that they have 26 specialised and skilled jobs unfilled, which they know they could fill if there were faster links to Manchester – so their business here would grow.

Just before the election the government announced huge plans to invest in the railways. £38 billion, in fact.  So it looked like the people of Chester were going to get the transport links they deserve.

Yet now, just weeks after the election, the government has cancelled these plans.

This breath-taking cynicism shocked even me. The government told voters what they wanted to hear too win support and then wasted no time backtracking immediately after they had won. Their “Northern Powerhouse” project is in tatters because it relies on these rail upgrades.

But worst of all, they damage people’s faith in politics when they act like this.  Politicians have to earn the respect of the electorate. I frequently hear that “you can’t trust politicians” or “all politicians are the same” - but this simply isn’t true. There are decent people across all parties who will be mortified at this rapid about-turn by the government. I have been in politics a long time and I ran for elected office because I want big things for Chester and the UK. I will not be tarred with the same brush. We are not all the same and I hope enough people have met me to know that I will not say anything just to get elected. 

As a new MP I am enjoying learning about the civic side of my new role. I take representing our constituency very seriously. Attending public events is very important and whether I am there to honour the living or the dead, I want to get it right. It can be daunting, but I have not been alone. I have been fortunate to serve alongside our new Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, Hugo and Deb Deynem who have been showing me the ropes. They are a genuinely lovely couple and an absolute credit to our city - I have been lucky to have them by my side.

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