I was the first non non-Conservative to win the seat of Wells since Arthur Hobhouse in 1923, 87 years before. As our areas first full time "in touch" MP, I only ever had one boss - you!
No competing priorities or paymasters applying pressure and distracting me from my duties.
Shortly after being elected, I was nominated and became a member of the influential Education Select Committee. I used this to campaign on a wide range of issues alongside MPs from all parties.
I was also been a member of the Administration Committee since 2010, the purpose of which is to reduce the running cost of Parliament.
In 2012, I received a promotion to Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Vince Cable, Business Secretary. The job involved supporting the Business Secretary’s work on all strategy and policy across the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS). The Secretary of State and I made massive progress, increasing support for small and medium sized businesses, reducing red tape, whilst achieving record numbers of new apprenticeships.
Closer to home in rural Somerset, I held the highest number of surgeries for any MP elected in 2010 - 700 surgeries in local towns and villages in my first five years as the local MP. And when you couldn't make it to me, I came to you.
I loved the fact that locals could find me and were happy to come up, say “hello” or talk through what bothers them. It was so important to listen, to seek advice and draw on local expertise and opinions, this meant that I was well-informed when I raised your concerns in Parliament.
In 2010, I promised you I’d be approachable and available for you. That is why I accepted invitations to attend as many meetings and events as possible. I knew I was keeping my promise when I opened the 22,250th case file in 2015!
Some of my earliest campaign victories include forcing a rethink on flogging off our Forests, a U-turn on plans to slap 20% VAT on Caravan sales, a High Court battle to save Somerset’s Libraries, stopping corruption by making sure everyone can see who owns and controls UK registered companies, standing up for Young Carers and users of Children’s Centres in Somerset.
The campaign to prevent National Grid from erecting their monster pylons across the Somerset Levels continued in earnest and enjoyed support both locally and amongst my Parliamentary colleagues.
I spent five years campaigning for specialist cancer treatment, specifically radiotherapy, for the South West. During my time in Parliament, I asked well over 300 Parliamentary Questions of Health Ministers and held meetings with the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, the Prime Minister, David Cameron and the new Chief Exec of NHS England, Simon Stevens, to demand action.
I was able to announce that my hard work had paid off when NHS England offered a total of £51m for a series of new projects. Patients with a wide range of cancers now have access to the treatment they need.
In the Winter of 2013, the Church Commissioners announced proposals to remove the Bishop of Bath and Wells from his home of over 800 years, the Bishop's Palace in Wells. I launched a petition against this and led a successful challenge which ensured the Bishops of Bath and Wells could remain in the Bishop's Palace in Wells. My petition attracted over 2,500 signatures and made history when I presented this to General Synod.
More recently, I was one of the 'Magnificent Seven' original seven MPs who wrote to Theresa May, The Home Secretary asking for an Independent Panel Inquiry to be established into repeated failures by establishment figures investigate thoroughly a multitude of historic cases of child sexual abuse. The Home Secretary agreed in July.
Now that the Conservative Party have a majority in the House of Commons Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne seem determined to push ahead with their controversial 'dash for gas'. This is something I fought against whilst your MP, it will be interesting to see if our new MP is willing to stand up to his superiors in Parliament too, I believe fracking would be devastating for our sensitive area.
I've many interests and enjoyed taking cases from Wells to Westminster, getting results and making a difference.