‘Representing people – what a fine thing’ Sir Oliver Heald meets North Herts constituents at Houses of Parliament

People were given the chance to grill their local MP Sir Oliver Heald.

People were given the chance to grill their local MP Sir Oliver Heald. - Credit: Archant

It’s the place where the most important decisions that affect our day to day lives are made, yet most people only catch glimpses of the Houses of Parliament through their TV screens.

Stanley and Dorothy Gabriel from Letchworth.

Stanley and Dorothy Gabriel from Letchworth. - Credit: Archant

That’s why a local group set out to bring parliament to life for local people when they arranged a trip to Westminster on Monday.

The trip was organised by North Herts Centre for Voluntary Service as part of the Love Your Neighbourhood campaign.

In the morning, constituents living in North Herts were treated to a guided tour of the grand halls and chambers where UK policies are laid down.

This was followed by the chance to grill North East Herts MP Sir Oliver Heald.

The group with MP Sir Oliver Heald outside Big Ben.

The group with MP Sir Oliver Heald outside Big Ben. - Credit: Archant


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The Royston MP spoke about why he got into politics, saying: “I was a very enthusiastic youngster at school. I was on the school council and when I got a bit older I thought: ‘Representing people, what a fine thing’.”

He told the group about his early political career, how he used to go to Hyde Park and speak on a soap box before standing for election in the safe Labour parliamentary seat of Southwark and Bermondsey.

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It was an uphill task, he admitted, but he proudly boasted of transforming the constituency from the ‘most hopeless Conservative area in the country to the third most hopeless’.

Questions ranged from issues to do with school placement for autistic children in the area to housing affordability and immigration.

Helen Yon from Letchworth, Iris Cannon, Michael Wilkinson and Liz James from Buntingford.

Helen Yon from Letchworth, Iris Cannon, Michael Wilkinson and Liz James from Buntingford. - Credit: Archant

The trip was a hit with the constituents involved.

Sandra James from Glebe Road in Letchworth said: “You have this idea in your mind of what it’s going to be like.

“It was nice of Sir Oliver to take the time to talk to us. I would definitely do it again.”

Liz James from Buntingford said: “It gives ordinary people a chance to see what happens.

“It’s great to get a feel for the place. On the telly it seems like an old boy’s club.”

Dorothy Gabriel, a retired nurse living in Letchworth, said: “It’s important to meet Sir Oliver as he’s the voice behind us.

“All I’ve seen of the Houses of Parliament is bits on television.

“Not being able to witness it in person was a sad story, but today it has all come alive to me and now I can appreciate it.”

The Love Your Neighbourhood campaign is being officially launched in Royston between 3.30pm at 6.30pm on Wednesday at Coombes Community Centre in Burns Road.

Expect music entertainment with The DJ and Music Academy, dodgeball and volleyball with Child UK and face painting with Imajica Theatre Company.

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