‘It really is constant hard work’: A day in the life of new backbench MP Jerome Mayhew
- Credit: Danielle Booden
After his gruelling 12 hour shift, involving constituency work, a BBC interview, meetings with a disgruntled business owner and a Q&A at Acle Parish Council, Jerome Mayhew will 'be ready for his bed'.
Having been elected to represent Broadland at the December 2019 Election, he recently bought a house near his constituency office - and admits that he is "devoted" to the people he represents, even if this means long hours, long weeks and "constant hard work".
And it's true. Regardless of what you think of MPs, few are shirkers - and Mr Mayhew is no exception.
On Friday, March 6, he begins his day in his office in Attlebridge, talking to constituents about issues that matter to them. For one couple, that's coronavirus and the government's response to it.
This meeting takes over half an hour, and the next surgery attendee receives the same treatment.
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He then dashes off to the BBC Studios in Norwich, where he's been asked to feature on Politics East - a Sunday morning discussion between Stewart White and panellists on the week gone-by.
Here, Mr Mayhew sits alongside Karen Davis, Labour councillor for Norwich City, and Andrew Sinclair, BBC East's politics correspondent.
They discuss coronavirus, the budget, Priti Patel, business rates and minimum wage, whether Norwich needs a mayor and if the A47 should be dualled.
Mr Mayhew says dualling of the A47 is an "absolute priority", referencing the two women who sadly passed away just this week.
He also thinks Priti Patel is "no bully", but that she's "a very strong woman - which some people have an issue with".
Ms Davis disagrees, arguing that "building more roads" is never the answer, and that the priority should be "securing proper flood defences so that whole villages aren't lost".
She also says that "nobody gets a £25,000 pay-out for nothing."
But then they joke that Mr Mayhew washes his hands to the national anthem instead of 'Happy Birthday' as per coronavirus guidelines, and Mr Sinclair, at one point, accidentally calls Jerome 'Patrick' - the name of his late father who was a former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
Not long after a quick bite to eat, and now running slightly late, Mr Mayhew heads back to out to his constituency to meet with Gary from Sunbeam Coaches - for whom PSVAR Accessibility legislation is causing a problem.
Upon agreeing a formal "action plan", which will involve Mr Mayhew lobbying the Department for Transport on Gary's behalf, he makes his way to Acle Parish Council for their Friday night meeting.
Last week his schedule was similar, but the lucky parish was Walsingham.
And on his days in Westminster - Mr Mayhew says that the pace is "just as frantic".
Already since taking office, he has met with chancellor Rishi Sunak twice, alongside other members of the Norfolk 8, to lobby for infrastructure investment in the region.
On March 5, he had lunch with Matt Hancock regarding coronavirus.
Being "proactive" is important to him, and he says that he puts in for the ballot, where MPs can ask questions in the chamber, "for every department, every day I'm down there".
He's been voted onto the Environmental Audit Committee, introduced himself to Diane Abbott, spoken to Andrea Leadsom about the need for an offshore ring main - where windfarms connect up at the coast rather than inland - and approached Michael Gove about the Environment Bill.
And of course - Mr Mayhew used his maiden speech to talk about "quangos" - something he feels very strongly about.
"As an MP, I will focus on reducing their power", he says.
"Most people don't realise that the Government has made £350m available for the dualling of the A47, but that Highways England - a taxpayer funded organisation which is semi-independent from Government - hasn't done a single thing with the money. That's because they aren't accountable to anyone.
"And it's the same with Network Rail - another inefficient quango."
He finishes by adding: "The people of Norfolk have been prudent and loyal to the Conservative Party - they realise that Labour are misguided in their economics and militant Leftism.
"But now they need to be rewarded for that - and I'm going to try my best to make sure it happens."