Richard Holden, MP is the Tory MP in the so-called “Red Wall” constituency of North West Durham. Today he was meeting constituents in Crookhall. Anne Hardy, one of his constituents, turned up to see him with a few questions and comments.
Anne posted on facebook:
“Back home from what was a very interesting encounter with Holden at Crookhall. I managed to get across several points and at no point was stuck for words.”
Anne is concerned about her MP’s views on those constituents with different views from the Tory MP. She continues:
“I pointed out I’m not a Labour activist in any capacity and told him this constant calling people that, and constant use of Labour as a dirty word isn’t a good way to be.”
An earlier meeting with Richard Holden this week
A few days ago, Linda Kemetmuller, another constituent, stopped by at one of Richard Holden’s “summer surgeries” with an “Enough is enough” poster. In Linda’s words:
“I introduced myself, told him I was en route to the Bread and Butter project but wanted to ask him one question. That was, bearing in mind the difficulties people are already facing, would he urge the new Prime Minister to impose an energy freeze, as France and other countries have done. He expressed understanding and sympathy for the problems people are suffering, which is when I suggested he might like to have his photo taken with me and my Enough is Enough poster…”
At this point the mood changed as you may perceive on the video, which was taken by Steph Dingwall who was nearby.
Linda, a 73 year old pensioner spoke about her concerns regarding her three pensioner sisters:
“all with mobility issues, all at their wits’ end trying to think how they will pay their bills. Reduction in VAT, handouts of £200, £300 or £400 will not be enough to stop people going into debt.”
Holden mentioned expanding the production of own energy. Whilst Linda thinks this is a great idea, she says:
“They have had twelve years to implement that, and besides what good is that to the young parents, old and disabled who simply do not have enough income to pay fuel bills that are going to quadruple?”
It takes courage
A normal part of our parliamentary system is that constituents have the right to speak to, write and meet their elected representatives. However, this can be a daunting prospect at times. As Anne Hardy explains:
“It wasn’t the easiest being the only one there to meet and greet his team of hangers-on and councillors. I was definitely alone in my opinions…
“But it was an intimidating situation, with me and a bloke who was there for a specific reason being the only members of the public…I did point out his [Richard Holden’s] passive aggressiveness, only to be told I was presenting the same way!”
What was learned from Anne’s (20 minute) conversation?
Anne says that Richard Holden told her he will always vote with his party leader, but that he does represent the people of his constituency. Really?
She also established that, at least from Richard Holden’s perspective:
- *He is a hard worker and never has a day off
- *He represents us all, even those that he blocks on social media. He claims that they are blocked for being rude and aggressive
- *He only claims utilities for his office, he stopped claiming for utilities in accommodation (although didn’t say when)
- * He agrees with me regarding track and trace but isn’t able to do anything about it
- * He is from a council estate in east Lancashire, didn’t own a house till he was 35, and totally understands what it’s like to have nowt
- * He doesn’t agree with proportional representation.
- * He has always worked hard and paid taxes.
Anne says that she may become a regular feature at his attendances in the future.
North East Bylines contacted Richard Holden for a response. Here is what he said:
Richard Holden MP said:
“I’m always delighted to meet my constituents and hold regular surgeries – including my summer surgery across my constituency.
“This summer surgery tour I’ve met over 200 people, in addition to doing my usual surgeries in my office and at people’s homes for those less able to travel. These conversations are vital to informing my contributions in Parliament.
“Most people I’ve met have specific concerns or issues that I’ll pick up and I encourage people to get in touch by posting (anonymised of course) online examples of where me and my excellent team have been able to help people.
“Some regular correspondents, like Anne and Linda, also pop along to talk about broad policy and political issues and are always welcome.”
You can normally find out about how to meet your own MP through their website and social media.
If you are not sure who is your MP, you can find out here.