Thame’s MP has hailed his tour of surrounding villages as a great success.
MP John Howell visited 80 of the smaller villages in the constituency over the past couple of weeks.
The tour, which was called On Your Doorstep, took the MP from one end of the constituency on the edge of Bicester to the other where it borders Reading. The tour allowed residents in each of the villages to raise local and national concerns face-to-face and provided an innovative way of allowing access to an MP not previously seen in the constituency.
John Howell said: “There were many reasons for putting this tour together. It was a way of trying to rebuild trust in politics by coming to discuss issues directly with local people where they lived.
“It was also a way of getting to know people in some of the smaller villages in the constituency where there often isn’t an opportunity in the rest of the year to join in local village events. It was also a chance for people to put a face to a name.
“I was immensely pleased that so many people come out to meet me. Sometimes we stood around under a shady tree to discuss issues on other occasions we were able to make use of tables outside the local village pub.
“The informal and relaxed nature of the meetings meant that we were able to have a constructive and friendly discussion even where we might sometimes take differing views on a topic.
“This was the first time an MP had tried such a tour in this constituency. It was very worthwhile and I will certainly look to repeat this next year.”
The tour covered 350 miles. It visited 80 villages spread over eight days. At each village the MP had up to 15 minutes to meet local residents and discuss issues. Residents had been notified in advance either through local district or parish councillors or by local leafleting.
Amongst the issues raised were access to broadband, affordable housing, neighbourhood plans, traffic calming, immigration, the European Union, pubs, daylight saving and travellers.