Louth & Horncastle’s MP has offered reassurances that her ‘first responsibility’ is serving her constituents - despite taking on a ministerial role.
Victoria Atkins, who was elected in 2015, took on the role of Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability earlier this month after a minor government reshuffle, following the resignation of International Development Secretary Priti Patel.
Speaking at the opening of Louth’s new combined fire and ambulance station last week, Ms Atkins said: “It’s a huge privilege, and I’m very lucky because this role very much speaks to everything that I used to do before I came into Parliament.
“I used to prosecute serious organised crime, and I had to deal with some pretty vulnerable people in court, and I hope I’ll be able to bring those experiences into my role at the Home Office.”
Ms Atkins aimed to reassure constituents who have concerns that her new role would take her focus away from the local area.
She said: “I’m absolutely clear that my first responsibility is as the MP for Louth and Horncastle.
“My role as a minister means that I have access, quickly, to relevant ministers when I need to speak to them.
“I promise you that I will not, in any way, take my eye off the ball when it comes to Louth and Horncastle.”
Ms Atkins appeared to side-step the question of whether it was a good time to be joining the government, in light of uncertainty over Theresa May’s leadership and complex Brexit negotiations ahead.
Ms Atkins responded: “My role is to help the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister to keep our country safe. It’s a huge privilege and I hope to make a real difference.
“It’s a real opportunity to make sure that the most vulnerable people in our society are looked after and kept safe.”