Politics Explained

David Amess: Face-to-face surgery chats vital to keep MPs plugged in to voters’ lives

Church hall meetings take politics out of the Westminster bubble, but in the wake of the murder of Sir David Amess, their future is uncertain, writes Andrew Woodcock

Saturday 16 October 2021 21:30
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<p>Meeting the public: Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg stops to talk to people near his constituency office in Keynsham, Somerset </p>

Meeting the public: Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg stops to talk to people near his constituency office in Keynsham, Somerset

For almost all MPs, constituency surgeries like the one at which Sir David Amess was murdered are a major part of their work which it is difficult to imagine giving up, even in the face of the evident danger which they represent to their safety.

The regular Friday sessions held in church halls, libraries and community centres across the country take them out of the bubble of Westminster and firmly into contact with the day-to-day worries of the people they represent.

Disputes over housing or anti-social behaviour, worries over sickness or access to welfare benefits or joblessness and complaints about the failings of the local council or police force jostle for MPs’ attention with campaigns for new schools, parking schemes and hospitals and rants on Brexit, immigration or crime.

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