I have been able to help thousands of people since my election in May 2010, the first Liberal Democrat to win the seat of Wells since Arthur Hobhouse in 1923, 87 years before.
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've 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 involves 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 have made massive progress of 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 now hold what I believe to be the highest number of surgeries for any MP elected in 2010. By May 2015, I will have held over 700 surgeries in local towns and villages in my first five years as the local MP.
I love it that locals can find me and are happy to come up, say “hello” or talk through what bothers them. It’s so important to listen, to seek advice and draw on local expertise and opinions, so I'm well-informed when I raise your concerns in Parliament.
In 2010, I promised you I’d be approachable and available for you. That is why I accept 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 this year.
Some of my earlier 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 continues in earnest and enjoys support both locally and amongst my Parliamentary colleagues.
I've spent four years campaigning for specialist cancer treatment, specifically radiotherapy, to the South West, asking well over 300 Parliamentary Questions of Health Ministers. This campaign has gained momentum and I'm hopeful we can convince the Prime Minister to cough up the required funds before the May 2015 election.
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.
I've many interests and enjoy taking cases from Wells to Westminster, getting results and making a difference.