It used to be a matter of pride for members of political parties when their local MP was appointed as a minister or, even better, got a seat at the cabinet.

They would bring insights from their local constituency into the heart of government - and while they may have a little less time to personally worry about Mr Smith's problematic drains, the thoughts of their local voters would be part of their decision-making process.

Now I'm not so sure - and I'm starting to think that having an MP who takes a government position might be the worst thing that could possibly happen to a constituency.

Just look at the ministers we have in this part of the world. It does start to look as if they've all "gone native" and only appear to be involved in their ministerial business and are increasingly semi-detached from local issues.

Dr Therese Coffey is now Environment Secretary - concerned about everthing from agriculture and food to water quality and ensuring the environment is as clean as possible.

Representing a rural Suffolk constituency, you'd have thought she'd have the ideal opportunity to showcase her Green credentials getting involved with local farmers and other environmental organisations.

Certainly that's what her predecessor as Minister of Agriculture (and Suffolk Coastal MP) John Gummer did 30 years ago.

He'd be busy in the constituency most weekends. We'd get lists of his engagements - and if there was something particularly interesting coming up we'd get a phone call in advance inviting us along.

I think I've only seen Dr Coffey once since the 2019 election - that was when she turned up, unannounced, at the reopening of Saxmundham railway station.

We had a quick word - but both of us had to speak to other people about the station and by the time I tried to find her for a more detailed talk she'd disappeared again.

Since then there has been controversy about water quality in the Deben and concerns about the effects of climate change on coastal erosion in her constituency - but all we get are written statements from her office saying what a great job her department is doing.

Last week she came to open a new electric charging station in her constituency - but there was no invitation to go and see her visit. We had to put up with a statement and supplied pictures after it had happened.

It's not just Dr Coffey. Health Secretary Steve Barclay represents a Cambridgeshire seat where most of his constituents use the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn. 

It's roof is famously - or infamously - held up by more than 1,500 supports. Yet he appears to be incapable of doing anything about it even though he's supposed to be in charge of the NHS.

And an indication of how the civil service works to stop ministers worrying about their constituencies came last week with South Suffolk's James Cartlidge, who is also Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury.

The day after the budget I sent a text to his private number asking if he wanted to say anything about the delay to plans to improve the Copdock junction in his constituency.

A bit later I got a call from the Treasury press office telling me I should ask the Department of Transport for comment so I pointed out I was ringing Mr Cartlidge as the constiuency MP, not as a minister.

"Ah but he IS now a minister and this cannot be dealt with by the Treasury," I was told.

To be fair Mr Cartlidge did contact me later - but I did find that exchange very informative in indicating how departments see their ministers!