By Stephen O'Brien - 22nd September 2013 6:30am
We are running a series of articles on our Community leaders both present and in the recent past. Today we start with our MP Stephen O'Brien.
Since my election as the Member of Parliament for Eddisbury in the by-election in 1999 I have sought to serve my constituents to the very best of my ability.
I have known Tarvin since I was a young boy as I was brought up in Chester (attending Handbridge Primary School) and well recall the frequent visits to Tarvin then. I have lived with my family in the Constituency since my election to Parliament so, using the same services and living locally, I can have a close understanding and shared experience of your opportunities, issues and concerns. Whilst my work is in Westminster — representing my constituents — my home is firmly rooted here in Cheshire.
My weeks are spent in Westminster when the House of Commons is sitting from Monday through to Thursday and on Fridays my days are filled with constituency visits which can range from visiting schools and hospitals to supporting farmers, the rural economy, local businesses and local community projects.
I hold regular advice surgeries which I try to hold at different venues around our large Constituency, although the principal places are Winsford and Tarporley.
I have witnessed in the last 14 years a move from a burgeoning postbag to an exploding in-box as people communicate more and more by email rather than letter. This has also given rise to many campaign groups issuing a form of standard text for their supporters to send on to their MP which can result in 100s of identical emails being received by my office on any single issue but it does give me the opportunity to set out my views in response. The workload has unquestionably increased tremendously and 24 hour news and social media play no small role in that. This does of course have the advantage of ensuring Members of Parliament are even more accountable and accessible to you.
I have served as a Shadow Minister before the last election in roles including Shadow Treasury Minister, Shadow Education & Skills Minister and, for 5 years up to 2010, as Shadow Health & Social Care Minister. Following the last election I was appointed a Minister for International Development, a post I held for 2 ' years until I was appointed the Prime Minister's Envoy to the Sahel — a role I still hold and one which involves me travelling to Africa on behalf of the Prime Minister from time to time to seek to build alliances and initiate projects in the UK's national interests to avert instability which, in turn, can lead to indirect or even direct threats to my constituents and other British citizens. I was delighted to be appointed to Her Majesty's Privy Council earlier this year in recognition of my constituency work and my Ministerial and Envoy roles.
Should any of my constituents wish to contact me please do so either by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone on 020 7219 6315 or by making an appointment to see me at one of my regular advice surgeries around the constituency, the dates for which are advertised on my website