Work begins straight away for St Albans MP after winning third term in office
PUBLISHED: 12:01 16 May 2015
After romping home with the kind of majority many politicians can only dream of, newly-elected Conservative St Albans MP Anne Main is already back at work.
There’s no holiday for her after Thursday’s General Election, which saw her win the St Albans constituency with 25,392 votes, nearly 13,000 votes ahead of Labour’s Kerry Pollard in second place.
Now entering her third term of office, she has already made overtures about instigating a parliamentary debate on the integration of health and social care, and is determined to address the pay structure in the NHS.
And she is only too well aware of the issues which will dominate her constituency work in the next five years - not least the long-running saga of railfreight on Radlett Airfield, housing development in St Albans, Islamophobia, which raised its head during the campaign, fly grazing and badger culling.
And all that is without new issues which are certain to arise as the years pass and the many and varied concerns which prompt constituents to call on her for help.
That the Conservative Party was confident of winning the St Albans seat was shown by the fact that none of the party grandees turned out to campaign for her - although she had the 40th slimmest majority in the country, St Albans was regarded as a ‘standalone’ seat where no help was needed.
In the event, despite people still saying on the doorsteps right up to last Thursday that they had not decided who to vote for, she emerged in the early hours of Friday morning having achieved 46.6 per cent of the vote.
While she admits that people tend to vote for their local MP, she and her team think a lot of people “looked into the abyss” of Ed Miliband or David Cameron in another coalition and voted Tory.
After weeks of campaigning, Anne is in no doubt what issues concern St Albans people.
She plans to take up the matter of nurses’ pay and the minimal increase they have been offered compared to the salaries of many chief executives and directors of health trusts - some of whom earn more than the Prime Minister.
She is also concerned about the lack of accountability of said chief executives and directors, pointing out that the current CEO at the West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust, while only an interim appointment, is about to leave after only a few months in post.
The rail freight issue is one she has been fighting for years and she believes there are possible ways forward which might ease the pressure on green belt housing sites if the district fails in its latest legal challenge.
To a degree that ties in with the ongoing concerns she heard about the cost of buying a home in St Albans and how the children of residents cannot afford to live here, not to mention the issues of parking and traffic.
Anne said: “Average house prices are over half a million pounds here with lovely schools and green areas but London money is driving the market.
“Does St Albans still want to see quality of life, its green spaces, having parks and somewhere children can play safely in roads?
“Do we support saying we need a lower density of housing? I don’t know. I think this is a debate we have to have.”
She is also concerned about stickers posted around St Albans warning Muslims against voting.
With the local Muslim population now at around eight per cent, she feels they are ‘squeezed’ at the boundaries with tiny mosques that were ideal when they were smaller in number but not so now.
She would like to see them have bigger and better facilities ‘where they don’t irritate the neighbours’ and to that end would like to work with the council.
She added: “One of the things I have suggested is we get some kind of audit of how many people live and want to worship in St Albans.”
So perhaps it is no surprise that she has not gone off on holiday - after 10 years as St Albans MP and another five to come, she knows that the volume of work is as great as ever.
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