Helen Hayes is known to many as a pro-European MP, with strong educational and environmental priorities. She has held a Labour seat for over 3 years in the Dulwich and West Norwood constituency, with locals describing her as a “passionate and hardworking MP, who is working wonders for the local community”. Which a majority of over 28,000, many hope that she will be an MP for many years to come. We recently asked her a few questions, hoping to gain knowledge of a woman with one of the most influential positions in the world.

How do you prioritise what to work on in parliament?

I am elected to represent approximately 80,000 adults, and their children, who live in my constituency of Dulwich and West Norwood.  There are very many issues to work on, but I try to prioritise the issues that are of greatest concern and make the biggest difference to people who live in my constituency.  I also try to make sure that I have time each week to work on issues which are important to individuals who need help, as well as working in Parliament on behalf of many people.

What are the 3 main issues facing the West Norwood and Dulwich area?

Brexit is the single biggest issue of concern to people living in Dulwich and West Norwood.  77% of people who voted in the EU referendum in my constituency voted to Remain in the EU, and many people feel very strongly that Brexit will be damaging for the UK.  More than 18 months after the referendum I still get emails and letters almost every day about Brexit.  In terms of practical concerns, the lack of good quality, genuinely affordable housing is a huge issue locally; the pressures on our NHS, particularly at King's College Hospital, and the cuts to our local schools are also really big issues affecting my constituents.

What are your plans to help the lives of young people in the area?

There are many issues which affect the lives of young people living in our area, but three priorities which are really important to me are campaigning against the cuts to our local schools, to make sure that every child can have the best possible education; working for better funding for mental health services so that every child can get help and support quickly when they need it; and keeping up the pressure for 16 and 17 year olds to have the right to vote, as I think it is important for young people to have a say about decisions which will affect their future, and I think it will help to increase engagement in politics.

It is fascinating to see how our politicians choose to work on particular issues and how the views of local people are reflected at a national level. From Brexit to the local hospital, Helen Hayes is an MP who knows her area. Democracy at work!

By Erin Ramsden, Dunraven School