chapter  3
27 Pages

Constituents' Champions

ByEmma Crewe

MPs represent tens of thousands of constituents within a locality, promote themselves to wildly different audiences and champion the interests of people they identify with. Most MPs develop an affinity with the place they represent, but it is also the safest topic to talk about. Articulating policy issues will always displease someone, but MPs can champion their locality, at least in general terms, without incurring anyone’s displeasure. Within each constituency there is an amazing range of cultures, local economies, family structures and occupations. MPs make the mistake of thinking they can represent this diversity but they don’t; on health issues they are more likely to listen to the chair of an NHS Trust than to a hospital cleaner. One reason the selection of MPs can provoke tensions is because the whole concept of what representation signifies is contested. In practice, MPs do not literally listen to everything; they use various strategies for filtering out, analysing and privileging some voices.