John Penrose MP...

LIKE any job, being an MP has its share of triumphs and disasters. You can't always predict what's going to turn out well or badly

LIKE any job, being an MP has its share of triumphs and disasters. You can't always predict what's going to turn out well or badly.Last month, for example, I wrote about a plot to merge North Somerset Primary Care Trust with Bristol. This would have recreated the old and unloved Avon Health Authority which was split up many years ago, and I was very worried that the wishes of local people would be defeated by the bureaucrats.Being part of the old Avon authority meant that Bristol overshadowed North Somerset. Local people got a raw deal because health cash was siphoned off in Bristol before it ever reached Weston or the villages. We're still suffering from the problems it created, with too few GPs and an undersized hospital.So I was delighted when the Government decided to turn down the merger and left us alone. Credit where it's due, this was a good decision by a Labour minister and I've sent him a handwritten letter to say thank-you.I was particularly pleased because the Government said its main reason for axing the merger was strong local opposition. Over the last six months I'd organised cross-party support from nearby Labour and Lib Dem MPs who were opposed to the merger. Getting everybody to agree was harder than herding cats, but we got there in the end.But even then, I wasn't sure we'd win. On the day the announcement was due I was waiting nervously for the details to be posted on the House of Commons noticeboard. When the result was announced I practically turned cartwheels. I'm sure there will be unexpected defeats to match the victories in future. Like football, politics can be a funny old game and you're never quite sure what's going to come up next.


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