Nottingham

Newark MP Robert Jenrick sends 40,000 Christmas cards

MP Robert Jenrick card Image copyright MP Robert Jenrick
Image caption Robert Jenrick's card was designed by a local schoolchild following a competition

An MP who won his seat this summer has been criticised for sending 40,000 Christmas cards to constituents.

Conservative MP for Newark, Nottinghamshire, Robert Jenrick, was elected in June and posted the cards last week, at an undisclosed cost.

Residents said the cards were "not value for money" and a way of seeking votes ahead of next year's election.

Mr Jenrick, who says he supports local causes, said the cards were to inform constituents of how to contact him.

The card designed by local schoolchildren, and posted in a House of Commons envelope, was delivered through an unaddressed Royal Mail service, starting from 5p per item.

Mr Jenrick said he paid for the cards out of his own pocket and delivered some by hand.

Newark resident John Franks said: "No other MP in Newark has done this before. There's no value for money for that quantity."

Image caption Robert Jenrick won by more than 7,000 votes in the by-election this summer

Another resident, Graham Tomlinson, said: "I don't think sending that amount is justified.

"It is pre-election and you can see what is happening."

Caitlin Milazzo, from the University of Nottingham's School of Politics, agreed there was probably some political motive.

"As someone who has taken his seat recently, he has a significant challenge facing him," she said.

"He wants to be a household name and people to recognise him.

"There's nothing wrong with increasing your profile in the community and that's something he really needs."

Of other Nottinghamshire MPs Anna Soubry posted 3,500 cards this year, John Mann sent out 16,000 and Chris Leslie said he would be sending electronic cards.

Sherwood MP Mark Spencer, who posted 400 cards, said: "Over the next five months people are going to get enough paper from me so they don't need any more.

"He (Mr Jenrick) wants to raise his profile and I think that's a good way of doing it."

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