On a number of occasions in this blog and even in my Argus Column I have written that Sussex MPs need to work together, alongside the leaders of Councils and indeed the people who manage our community settings and beyond that to businesses and charities. Sadly although on very rare occasions MPs do get together it is always for their own priorities and sadly they do not remain together long enough to begin to examine how they could cooperate in a sub regional way that would improve our locality. A classic example of why this makes sense came from the end of year publication from Peter Bottomley who posted a number of factors which included the following:
Neighbouring MPs and I, led by Henry Smith MP, campaigned for urgent support from the Prime Minister for the aviation sector as a consequence of COVID-19. West Sussex is the home of Gatwick Airport.
The fact is that all parts of Sussex are connected to Gatwick and along with Henry Smith, the MP for Bexhill and Battle, Huw Merriman is also part of this group. At the end of the Parliament last week another MP from Sussex spoke up. Sadly Nusrat Ghani has previously spoken about her connection with a small number of East Sussex MPs, but not all of them and her judgement and indeed that of Huw Merriman for the COVID situation demonstrated that their view about COVID was naive and failed to understand how things can change very quickly. Such understanding would arise if they were willing to work more closely with their local NHS contacts. Indeed there is a strong argument for people like Nusrat Ghani to work alongside all of the 11 Sussex MPs who are not part of the Government so that their grasp of what Sussex needs is much stronger. Indeed if the 5 Government based MPs were to take a step back from the Government, they too could benefit from understanding how their constituencies need the whole of Parliament led by Government to make decisions. Here is the text from Nusrat Ghani on 30th December.
The Leader of the House is already aware of my concerns about the House not sitting next week. Of course, like my colleagues, I will continue to represent and work with my constituents across Wealden, but I do that best when I am here in the House. Will he confirm that the reason why the House will not sit next week is that we need to protect the staff who enable this House to perform? If that is the case, will he work with all other authorities in the House to make sure that there is enough resilience among staff and that we use the best technology possible so that we do not find ourselves in this situation again? Covid has changed everything, and the House must change too.
As it happens I agree with the second part of her statement, but that is to say that Parliament should operate in a way that would allow local MPs to gather in small groups, so Sussex along with Kent and Surrey would be three groups that could also link together for regional matters and then link to the rest of the nation for national matters. However their sub regional gatherings would allow the Conservative MPs to learn from the Labour MPs and Caroline Lucas who is the nations only Green MP. By working together the Labour voters across the whole of Sussex and the Green voters in the same area would be able to be represented in a better way and indeed the Conservative voters in Brighton and Hove would also be able to be represented.