Peterborough MP Lisa Forbes interview: Submitting her first Parliament motion, answering emails and ‘restoring trust’ in policing
Starting out in Parliament as a new MP is a “daunting experience,” Lisa Forbes admitted, with no staff and no equipment, although fortunately she quickly received an office.
Her predecessor Fiona Onasanya apologised to constituents after more than 1,000 emails were left unanswered at one stage, but that is not proving a problem for Ms Forbes.
The new MP for Peterborough, in an interview with the PT, said: “We are dealing with the casework. I believe anybody that has emailed has now been responded to.”
MPs are able to submit Early Day Motions (EDMs) which draw the attention of the Commons to a particular issue. Ms Forbes said: “I’ve put in my first Early Day Motion which is on an issue a constituent came to me about, the cost of school uniforms. It is a very expensive business nowadays. Quite often it’s not just the shirt, it’s the blazer, the skirt or the trousers that are now logoed.
“Apparently in 2015 the Government said it would be implementing some statutory guidance on schools allowing people to purchase more generic uniforms. My Early Day Motion is to keep the cost of the uniform down as much as possible, or to allow people to buy generic uniform and sew on their own logo which is what my parents did for me.”
Ms Forbes said she wants to “restore trust” in policing locally and will reach out to police and crime commissioner Jason Ablewhite after the pair clashed during the election campaign.
The Labour MP claimed residents have told her they have suffered from burglaries but were not visited by police.
She said: “There are 21,000 fewer police numbers in the country. I’d be surprised if in Peterborough we had the same amount of police officers we had before all of those cuts.
“If (Mr Ablewhite) feels this is the best he can do and people have to accept it that if they’re burgled it’s not going to be investigated, I’ll be open to listening to what he’s got to say on that, and we’ll see if we can work together to improve things and restore the public’s trust in the service that they’re getting. I don’t blame the police for this. They’ve had massive funding cuts and are having to prioritise certain crimes over others.”
The number of Cambridgeshire police officers is to rise to 1,496 in the current financial year. In 2010/11 there were 1,452 officers , and the year after there were 1,399 officers.
A police spokesman said: “We attend the scene each time a property is broken into and look at all available investigative opportunities.”