A QUICK wander down the supermarket aisles, with displays stacked with stationary, uniforms and lunchboxes, instantly reminds you that September has arrived in the blink of an eye, and that the school term is here.

Pupils, parents and teachers are rightly nervous as school returns. The last two academic years have experienced disruption unprecedented outside of wartime, and there is a huge amount of lost learning to be recovered.

I want to wish pupils the very best for their return, and offer my full support to families and school staff.

Also returning this month is Parliament. Gone are the video calls and proxy votes. In their place return the raft of historic procedures and voting lobbies. These centuries old traditions are fascinating to some; antiquated and arcane to others.

Also returning will be in-person debates, and face-to-face questions to ministers. There is no substitute to putting the issues and concerns of the people of Durham straight to the decision makers at Westminster.

Being in-person, the volume and temperature of debate will probably be heightened, and I for one will be hoping that the fiery debate in this session will produce more light than heat.

And the reasons for this are simple. I will be returning to the Commons with hundreds of issues and questions that constituents have raised with me on the doorstep and in the street. Residents want answers, and I intend to do my best to seek them out.

Over this summer I have been lucky enough to be out and about across the constituency, attending events such as Durham Pride, and the Miners’ Gala event at Wharton Park. I also held a number of successful door knocking sessions in the towns and villages that make up the City of Durham constituency. From West Rainton to Coxhoe, New Brancepeth to Sherburn Hill, and many more places inbetween, I’ve been listening to the concerns of those I represent.

In Coxhoe I spoke to several independent businesses which are leading the charge to rejuvenate their local high street, giving it a unique and vibrant offer. All had been affected by the pandemic, and were now slowly recovering. Our economic recovery remains fragile, and so I will be speaking up for local independent traders.

I’ve also had the chance to visit amazing community groups and projects, such as Waddington Street Centre and Brandon Sports Club. Both organisations provide vital services and have a real, positive impact in their communities during the most difficult of times. The impending, callous, £20 a week cut to Universal Credit, which will push so many working families into hardship, and our inadequate and unreliable public transport system which is locking out constituents, young and old, from educational and employment opportunities, were common themes on the door step.

Another topic that has been regularly raised with me is policing, safer communities, and anti-social behaviour. That is why Labour’s Police and Crime Commissioner for County Durham and Darlington, Joy Allen, recently joined me in Durham Market Place to hear constituents’ views one to one.

After the success of this first market stall session, I will once again be in Durham Market Place today between 10am and 4pm. Why not come along and tell me what questions and issues you’d like to see raised in parliament.

Mary Kelly Foy is the Labour MP for Durham City