How do MPs and others in public life counter the all to common claim that they are "out of touch"? Indeed, despite most MPs, of all political parties, working hard and spending endless hours attending summer fetes and Christmas carol concerts too many fail to connect with their constituents and are seen to be "in it for themselves". In times of austerity these assumptions seem to grow.
The days when MPs could happily survive on making an annual visit to their constituency are thankfully in the past. The days of unbending acquiescence to an individual's right to be a constituency MP for life has also largely disappeared. Still, while barriers between constituents and MPs have reduced considerably in recent years safe seats still exist where sitting MPs could do very little to communicate with voters for years but re-election remains guaranteed.
So it was refreshing to see an MP go all out to demonstrate their commitment to their seat over the weekend. The best way for politicians to demonstrate they are in touch with their electorate is to spend time with them and, even better, actually experience something of their lives. This is what Matthew Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, did by spending the last few months training to ride a horse in a race at Newmarket on Saturday.
The Conservative MP lost more than two stone, exercised for hours every day and needed to pass the horse racing equivalent of the driving test before he was allowed to race. Newmarket, and the constituency as a whole, is an important centre for the horse racing industry so Hancock's commitment to his endeavours will be greatly appreciated.
His commitment to the race - which also raised thousands for charitable causes - was such that he won by a good few lengths further demonstrating the Conservative commitment to First Past the Post. His win has won him admirers from the industry and beyond due to the favourable coverage it has received. Hancock, since being elected in 2010, has been a firm supporter of the racing industry but surely, after living the life of a jockey, if only for a few months, he will be able to represent his constituency in a way very few of his colleagues can ever hope to. For this I make Matthew Hancock my Communicator of the Week.