Through covering the general election for Birmingham Recycled, I have found myself at the feet of the proverbial brick wall: contacting my local MP.
I have been covering the Ladywood constituency who have recently elected Labour’s Shabana Mahmood as their new MP.
Now, I don’t doubt that Ms. Mahmood is a very busy lady- what with all the press attention about being one of the first female Asian MPs and tackling the poor unemployment rates in Ladywood- but surely she can spare a few minutes to talk about environmental issues?
Seems not. I have emailed the Labour MP many times, both in the run up to the election and post election. Her rival candidates weren’t much use either.
And before you ask, I certainly am not pestering her for the sake of it. You see, the MP makes no personal remark on environmental issues. All I can assume is that she agrees with general Labour policy- which isn’t much use when trying to work out how she will tackle environmental issues on a local level.
Most other MPs seem to have a ‘Voting Record’ which can be viewed on websites like They Work For You and Public Whip (this link shows that she has none). This clearly allows the public to see what issues their MP feels strongly about.
I also went through her pre-election promotional leaflets via The Straight Choice (an election leaflet ‘monitoring’ site) and found that the only areas she personally comments on and thus, prioritises over others were education, economy, health, housing, pensions and young people.
It’s clear that environmental issues aren’t deemed a top priority by the MP, but I at least expected to find some comment or information.
Armed with the evidence, I contacted her once more with the hope of gaining some insight into her ideas for a greener Ladywood:
I have contacted you a few times before and would really like to get some comment from you about your new position as the Ladywood MP. I’m the current ‘Elections Team’ Editor for the Birmingham Recycled website (www.birminghamrecycled.co.uk). I have been covering the Ladywood constituency in particular.
As an environmental website, we are concerned with ‘green’ issues in Birmingham. I am currently looking into your thoughts on the environment but with little success. There is nothing online on how you voted for certain issues and your leaflets mention no environmental policies.
I wondered if you had any thoughts/ opinions on environmental issues. Are these important to you? Do you agree with the general Labour policies or are there some areas you feel particularly strongly/indifferent about?
I also wondered whether you’ve been involved in any environmental campaigns around Birmingham, specifically Ladywood? Are there issues you’d like to address in Ladywood through your role as local MP?
Please let me know if you can offer me any help with this. Thanks.
Elections Team Editor
Let’s hope she gets back to me soon, or I may resort to door knocking!