Coronavirus: Andrew Rosindell discusses life as Romford MP and reveals abuse he still receives during Covid-19 crisis
PUBLISHED: 07:00 15 April 2020
The coronavirus crisis has changed the way most of us work, and for MPs like Andrew Rosindell it is no different.
In line with most places across the country, Parliament closed its doors last month in the midst of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Mr Rosindell said he is finding it “hard to adjust” to a new way of working away from the Westminster bubble.
He is now taking calls from his home and said he has seen a massive increase in the number of people getting in contact.
Between 40 and 50 messages are left on his phone, which is taking calls diverted from his office, before he even starts work for the day and they continue late into the evening.
“It’s very unusual and hard to adjust. Coming home is not something I do very much”, he said. “I am always out somewhere in Romford or in London or travelling abroad or whatever I have to do for my job. All of a sudden, that has stopped.
“What’s also changed radically is instead of going out to see people face-to-face, that has been replaced by non-stop, incessant messages through emails, social media and other forms from those that are in desperate need.
“I find it’s more stressful being at home doing this than being in the office when you can talk to people and exchange views about things. Here, it’s just doing it all on your own and I find it really difficult to manage that.”
The majority of people contacting him are either those stranded abroad, self-employed or run small businesses in the town.
He wrote to Chancellor Rishi Sunak calling for more to be done to back the self-employed and, more recently, the directors of small limited companies.
The Romford MP, who has represented the constituency since 2001, said some people have an unrealistic expectation of his role.
“People have odd perceptions about what the job of an MP is. Everyone comes to me beause I am the person they know and think the MP has got miraculous powers to solve all these problems. It’s not so easy but I am pleased that myself and my team have helped a lot of people.
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“I do feel in times like this people turn to leaders of their local community for help and I am honoured to be seen like that and be able to act like that.”
He also revealed how he is continuing to receive abuse, especially on social media, during the current crisis. Mr Rosindell retold one story where a man sent a message warning that he would try and drown the MP in a pond if he saw him out on a walk.
“Unfortunately there are some unpleasant people out there. I have had several vile messages from people - they are not hurtful, I have got a thick skin.
“We are all human beings and they don’t have the right to be aggressive and rude.
“I just think at a time like this, when politics should be put aside, I am just concerned that we should all talk civilly to each other, get on with each other, look for solutions, help where we can.
“As the local MP and as someone who has lived in Romford all my life, I know the area, I know the people. If I can help contribute to making the next few months better, then I’ll do that but people need to show respect from all sides and not everyone takes that view. They see it as another opportunity to have a pop at MPs.”
Despite this, he feels the vast majority of people have responded positively in the current crisis.
“Generally, we have a good community in Romford. I just think that everyone needs to keep calm and remember that we are all in the same boat. No matter whether we are MPs or ordinary local people, we are all having to deal with this crisis together.”
Some have questioned whether the NHS has been adequately prepared with personal protective equipment and whether enough testing for coronavirus has been carried out.
But the MP was full of praise for the response both nationally and on a local level.
“How the government and Havering Council have managed to bring things together so quickly just shows that in crisis, the British people can work miracles.”
When asked what his message was to constituents, especially those concerned about their jobs or about getting food delivered, he told people to “stay strong”.
“I know that the spirit of the British people is strong and resilient and I think that is reflected by the spirit of people in Romford. So my message to them is stay strong, believe in yourselves, your country and your community. We will get through this together and be even stronger.”
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