Last week I had the pleasure of spending a couple of hours at Newbrough School. I met the teachers, chair of governors and the pupils, who had prepared a series of questions for me. The School is very good, with happy inquisitive children. The picture is taken outside the school.
I have set out below, as I always try to do, a brief record of the Q and A with the kids as best I can remember:
What does the Queen look like? smaller than you would imagine, but always smiling and with amazing skin.
Is your job good? Yes. You make a difference in three key ways - to the individual constituent, to your area, and once in a while to your country. It is a great honour to do the job. It requires huge time and effort but it is very rewarding.
And I like representing people. I Always have; and I believe I am a good advocate, which you need to be in this job as you spend a lot of time campaigning, cajoling and lobbying.
Why did you choose to be an MP? I wanted to make a difference; I was not interested in politics until I got involved in a hospital campaign relating to the hospital I was born in and which saved my mothers life. Everything flowed from there.
Are you going to close down the Haydon Bridge High School? No! I am doing everything possible to ensure it stays open. Ultimately, schools are in the control of the local authority, but I want the school to stay open and am actively doing all I can.
What are your views on the NHS? It saved my life on two occasions and I have ben a fundraiser for it, chaired the all party group for air ambulance in the last parliament and the NHS is the reason I came into politics.
What do you do to protect nature? I was born and brought up in the countryside and have campaigned repeatedly as an MP to protect our green belt.
What do you think about people from foreign countries coming to into this country? I am a
descendant of immigrants and welcome those who want to come here to work hard, integrate, pay
their way and contribute. Our country has always been multi cultural and in a global world we need to be positive and accept that we were all foreigners once.