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Sandy Martin tops list of MPs in end of term report from Change.org as 2019 General Election looms

PUBLISHED: 17:19 04 December 2019 | UPDATED: 19:24 04 December 2019

Sandy Martin came near the top of the change.org report.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Sandy Martin came near the top of the change.org report. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

Sandy Martin was the best MP in Suffolk at engaging with constituents during the last parliament according to new figures from the pressure group Change.org.

Dr Dan Poulter said his work in the NHS kept him up to date with health issues.  Picture: NEIL PERRYDr Dan Poulter said his work in the NHS kept him up to date with health issues. Picture: NEIL PERRY

And they gave Central Suffolk and North Ipswich's Dr Dan Poulter the lowest marks for public engagement - largely because he also works as a doctor in the NHS.

The survey was based on three principles: the availability of the MP to constituents, the MP's participation in parliament, and how the MP listens to the public by discussing major campaigns in parliament.

In drawing up the list of all 650 MPs the organisation looked at how many constituency surgeries were arranged, how much casework was taken on, whether the MP was "distracted" by a second job and how often the MP took part in debates in the House of Commons itself.

Mr Martin was pleased his work was recognised. He said: "It is a great honour and responsibility to be the Member of Parliament for Ipswich, and I know that the residents of Ipswich expect me to be completely dedicated to that role.

"I know I could not be so effective if I tried to do any other job as well, and I cannot understand why any MP would feel the need to have any additional income."

Dr Poulter said: "I really don't know how they came up with this. I do three, sometimes four, constituency surgeries a month and every Friday I am working in the constituency.

"I am in parliament when it is sitting - and working as an NHS doctor helps keep me grounded. Many constituents tell me they are glad I do this work to keep me in touch with what is happening in the NHS."

Kajal Odedra, UK executive director of Change.org, said: "Unlike most jobs, there's no job description for being an MP. So for the MPs putting themselves forward again, and when we're looking at candidates to see who's best for the job, how are we judging what a 'good' MP looks like?

A graphic showing where Suffolk and north Essex MPs are placed in the People Power Index. Graphic: ARCHANTA graphic showing where Suffolk and north Essex MPs are placed in the People Power Index. Graphic: ARCHANT

"From years of working with ordinary people to campaign on issues that matter to the public, a big motivation for starting petitions is that they don't feel heard by those in power.

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"We've judged that being a 'good' MP is about openness and responsiveness to constituents. Trust in politics is strengthened when it is open, transparent and the public are genuinely listened to."

Who's where on the list of 650 MPs?

25: Sandy Martin (Ipswich)

270: Sir Bernard Jenkin (Harwich and North Essex)

288: Matt Hancock (West Suffolk)

370: Peter Aldous (Waveney)

440: Giles Watling (Clacton)

447: Will Quince (Colchester)

540: James Cartlidge (South Suffolk)

558: Jo Churchill (Bury St Edmunds)

592: Dr Therese Coffey (Suffolk Coastal)

627: Dr Dan Poulter (Central Suffolk and North Ipswich).

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