Today’s Star columnist: Oliver Coppard

Oliver Coppard
Oliver Coppard
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More and more people are struggling to pay their bills. The NHS is in crisis. Climate change is an increasingly real and growing threat. Now, more than ever, we need effective and committed politicians.

No matter what political party they represent, most MPs work incredibly hard. But the behaviour we’ve seen this week, with two senior MPs offering their services to private firms for huge sums of money, reinforces the perception that politicians are in it for themselves rather than working hard to improve the lives of their constituents. This damages everyone, by undermining the belief that politics can actually improve the lives of working people, here in Sheffield or elsewhere.

Perhaps more than anywhere else in the country, people in Sheffield Hallam feel let down by their MP. That’s why restoring trust in politics is so important to people here, and why I’ve put it at the heart of my campaign to be the next MP for the community in which I was born and raised.

This starts with my contract with Sheffield Hallam, which sets out five things I have personally committed to do if I am elected to Parliament in May.

I’ll hold an annual, public meeting to allow the community to examine, review and challenge my parliamentary expenses.

I’ll make sure the local community have a say in who works in my office.

I’ll support local people who want to get involved in politics by offering living wage internships.

I’ll not take another job outside my role as the MP for Sheffield Hallam.

Maybe most importantly, I’ve also committed to putting in place right of recall, regardless of whether or not the next government decides to make it law.

So if 20 per cent of people in Sheffield Hallam sign a petition saying I’ve done something wrong, I’ll resign, force another election, and let local people decide if they want me to stay on as their MP. That may not make my life easy, but it is the right thing to do.

The commitments I’ve made in my contract with Sheffield Hallam are just one part of my efforts to restore trust in politics. No one is perfect, but if I am the MP for Sheffield Hallam after May I will always be transparent and accountable, and work as hard as I can on behalf of my home and my community in Parliament.