Bassetlaw MP reflects on an extraordinary first year

This week marks my first anniversary as MP for Bassetlaw and I couldn’t be prouder to represent this constituency.

By Brendan Clarke-Smith
Wednesday, 16th December 2020, 12:24 pm

Becoming an MP is huge honour and whilst it’s impossible to please everybody all the time, I hope I have shown that I am doing my very best to support local people and our communities.

I think it’s safe to say that I was very much thrown in at the deep end from the morning of December 13, 2019.

Bassetlaw had returned a Conservative MP for the first time since 1929 and saw an 18.4 per cent swing from Labour and a 14,013 majority.

Brendan Clarke-Smith became the first Conservative MP to represent Bassetlaw since 1929. Photo: London Portrait Photoqrapher-DAV

This was not just the biggest swing of the election, but also in British political history, so my phone didn’t stop ringing with media requests for the next few days.

With barely a chance to take stock of what was effectively a life-changing moment for me, I packed my suitcase, kissed my wife and son goodbye and set off at the crack of dawn from Retford Station to Westminster on the Monday morning.

There was just the small matter of a very important vote on Brexit that week.

Whilst politics has been a lifelong passion for me, nothing can quite prepare you for starting as an MP.

After a very busy first week everything shut down for Christmas, so I faced the challenge having no office, no staff and hundreds of letters and emails pouring in.

Now, we have an office in the very centre of Worksop, a great team of staff and with the huge challenge of Covid-19 we have dealt with around 8,322 cases for constituents and 11,586 emails related to them (that’s not counting any Parliamentary business).

In a usual year I am told this figure is nearer 1500 cases, so you can see the difference

On top of the financial support we have received during Covid-19 there are also many other positive things we can look at locally.

The millions secured for Bassetlaw Hospital and a university campus in the centre of Worksop shows real investment in our area and my task now is making sure we have the flood defences we need.

In Westminster I have been very active, despite the very unusual arrangements due to Covid, and try to promote Bassetlaw whenever I can.

Becoming an MP is unlike anything I have experienced previously in the world of work and far from being just a job, is something that very much becomes part of your life.

Having the support of my family and local people has been a key part of this and I want to say a huge thank you to everybody for all the kindness I have been shown so far.

This certainly isn’t the first year I was expecting.

Whilst I am proud of what we have achieved, we won’t get things right all the time.

However, I can promise you all that I will continue to put my heart and soul into fighting for Bassetlaw as your MP.