“I never want to look back at my time as an MP and think I could have done more,” reflects Ruth George after 12 months in the High Peak parliamentary hotseat
Since she was elected in June 2017, Labour’s Mrs George has enjoyed an extremely busy first year but says she has no intention of slowing down while people still need helping.
She said: “I have been on a very steep learning curve in such a short space of time.
“I wasn’t expecting to win last year and when I did it was a surprise, but the support from the community, my friends, family and my wonderful husband has been so fantastic.”
The mother-of-four, from Whaley Bridge, hit the ground running after becoming a Member of Parliament, taking on the role of Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Shadow Secretary of State for Transport.
She helped form the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Universal Credit, sits on the select committee for work and pensions and has been appointed the vice chairman of the APPG on mining and quarrying.
She said: “If I could go back and offer my newly-elected self some advice it would be to pace myself. There are so many people who come to me because they need help and it is very hard to say no.
“When I was first elected I didn’t have an office or any staff to deal with correspondence, so it all fell on me for a while which made it more difficult to juggle.”
Over the past 12 months she has received 13,000 queries and pleas for help or assistance - which she says is above average compared to other constituencies.
Ruth splits her time between the High Peak and London, where she has already spoken in the House of Commons more than 200 times.
Back home, she still finds time to arrange coffee mornings, meet her constituents and undertake the school run.
She said: “I never want to look back at my time as an MP and think I could have done more. So I arrange meetings and push to make change to help people, and I am always looking for practical solutions.”
Ruth says one of her defining moments of her political career so far came after she spent a shift with East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) and then led a debate in Parliament.
She said: “When the chief of EMAS rang me up and personally thanked me for my involvement, after it was announced £20m had been set aside to help fund new staff and training, I really felt I had made a difference not just to people in my constituency but across the region.”