I pay tribute to Neil Parish for securing this debate. The level of interest that there has been shows the desire across the country to protect this incredibly important institution. He was encouraged by Jonathan Gullis to lead the campaign by setting up a Zoom call for us all to contribute to, but it seems to me that he has created a sort of face-to-face Zoom call that might be familiar to some of us who were here before the coronavirus era. It is a way for us all to get into the same room and discuss this, and that is great.
Taking up the challenge set by Martin Vickers, I think it is incredibly important to recognise the contribution that the BBC makes in my area, not just with “Sunday Politics”, but also with radio stations such Radio Sheffield and Radio Derby and, of course, to recognise the broader role of local media such as the Derbyshire Times and Peak FM, which ensure that, as local Members of Parliament, we are held to account and that we can communicate with our local communities and be on the receiving end of some wise and frank advice from our local constituents about the issues.
It is incredibly important for our democracy that we are not just 650 people here to serve our parties, but we are people here to serve our local communities, to hear about local issues, to be asked about those local issues and to respond to those local points. That is the role that “Sunday Politics” plays, and there is no way that a politics programme for England would be able to do that. The idea that the issues that my constituents care about in Chesterfield and the local issues in the north-east or in Cornwall are all the same is just nonsense. The local holding to account that “Sunday Politics” does is incredibly important.