Andrew Turner, the Island’s MP, has been shortlisted, with three other MPs, for the prestigious ‘Constituency MP of the Year Award’. The annual competition, organised by Dods who provide information on parliament, highlights excellence in a number of fields and is known as the Parliamentary ‘Oscars’.
Nominations are made by The House Magazine readers, with shortlists selected by a cross-party panel of judges. MPs and Peers vote to decide the winner. The Constituency award goes to an MP who has ‘successfully managed to get Parliament to address an issue that is important to their constituents’. The winners will be announced in July in the historic Robing Room in the Palace of Westminster.
Mr Turner, the only Conservative on the shortlist, has been nominated in recognition of his leadership of the OneWight campaign. In a radical shake up of parliamentary boundaries, the campaign fought to prevent any part of the Island being joined with the mainland to form a new constituency.
Reiterating comments made by the Prime Minister, Mark Harper MP, the Minister for Constitutional and Political reform, when visiting the Island last year, said the Island was too small for two MPs and too big for one, so it was ‘almost certain’ it would be linked to the mainland. However as a result of the ‘OneWight’ campaign, it was announced in February that the Island would be made an exception and in future will have two MPs. The issue caused the largest rebellion in Parliament so far against any proposal from the Coalition Government.
Mr Turner said: “Every MP aims to be the best constituency MP they can, every day of the week, so I am delighted to have been shortlisted for this award. I have always worked to get the Island’s voice heard in Westminster and ‘OneWight’ was a campaign which united people of all political views and from all walks of life. It attracted a great deal of media, business and community support and I am grateful to everyone who played a part. As with the Hands off our Hospital campaign I organised some years ago, it goes to show what can be achieved when people of all political parties, and of none, work towards a common goal.
“As well as working with so many people locally, I lobbied to get support across Parliament to defeat the proposal, which the Deputy Prime Minister had taken personal responsibility for. I was especially grateful for the support and expert advice from former Conservative minister and Seaview resident, Lord Fowler, and help from Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, a Liberal Democrat. When Ed Milliband was elected as leader of the Labour Party he also promised me that he would oppose the idea. The cross-party nature of the local campaign was important to achieving success. It is a great compliment to be shortlisted for this award – but much more importantly we achieved the right result for the Island.”
Richard Priest the independent spokesman for the OneWight Campaign said : “Being the Member of Parliament for Britain’s largest constituency Andrew has effectively represented the whole community – always putting the Island’s best interests first. His accessibility, including to those that may have alternative views, is recognised by this nomination. In addition his understanding of the voluntary sector on the Island, for example his association with the Stroke Association, has developed valued relationships and has made real differences to Islanders. In my opinion he certainly deserves to win this award.”