IT was 12 months ago that Eastbourne turned Blue again and Caroline Ansell was re-elected as the MP.

Her victory was a convincing one over Stephen, made possible by Boris Johnson’s pledge to get Brexit done.

Well, he has now done that (just) but of course the last 12 months have been shaped by the pandemic.

So how has Caroline fared?

It would be fair to say she’s had a steady first year representing our local communities.

Stephen was always visible and fighting the rights of local people.

Caroline hasn’t reached that same level but that won’t have been one of her targets anyway.

She’s busy, she’s out and about when the pandemic allows, and she’s also fighting for us in Parliament.

There’s no doubt her biggest impact was created when she resigned from the government over its free school meals policy.

She made national news and she judged it right. There would have been fury in her constituency had she voted the other way.

But she didn’t, unlike many of her colleagues.

That showed she can be her own person at times and not be drawn under the Tory whip for every vote.

She must have come close recently to doing that again when Boris wanted tighter restrictions due to Covid.

On the Thursday she talked about how restrictions would be terrible for our hospitality industry.

24 hours later and she was keeping quiet, going along with Boris. And not all her Tory colleagues in Sussex did the same.

She does care and she does fight hard. She doesn’t always shout about it enough.

Looking forward, I think we would all like to see her vote more for what she believes, however much pressure she comes under from central government.

There are still grumblings that she doesn’t respond to letters and emails quickly enough from the public. Whether that is fair I do not know.

What I do know is that Caroline does fight for the people of Eastbourne and Willingdon.

She’s doing a sound job, and in 12 months time she will hope that ‘sound’ has become ‘a very good job.’

The coming months will be a challenge for us all.

Let’s hope our MP can make a difference and play a leading role in our economic bounceback.

It won’t be an easy journey……………………