EVERY summer Westminster enters recess (much like the summer break in the Scottish Parliament), allowing MPs and staff time out of London and back in their constituencies.

Although in days gone past these recess periods were used by politicians to undertake projects and write books, nowadays MPs try and use the time to speak to the community groups and individuals without the time pressure of a parliamentary business.

My team and I have been using the time to fit out and open our office in Alloa and prepare for opening our second office in Crieff.

Although this seems like a small step, Alloa has been without a town centre MP office for several years and fortunately I have managed to secure a location on Primrose Street, not far from the High Street.

The office is a parliamentary office, not a political one and so it is open to any constituent or community group who needs help, regardless of their politics.

Although parliament is in recess, government is still working. I have been using my time in Westminster and in our constituency to lobby government ministers and push on key issues while ministerial inboxes are a little quieter than usual.

My most recent meeting was with David Mundell, secretary of state for Scotland, and Stephen Kerr, MP for Stirling, to discuss the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Deal.

This deal could be transformational for Clackmannanshire; we have witnessed the impact on cities such as Glasgow, and the recently-awarded deal for Edinburgh and the sums of money involved.

Although the Stirling and Clacks deal will be more modest, it could radically change our towns and villages for the better.

I have been working with local council officials along with ministers at Westminster to try and understand how far progressed the Clackmannanshire deal is, as well as ensure we do not fall further behind Stirling and lose out.

Currently our plans are behind that of Stirling and many are pushing for a “two-speed” deal that will see investment and work start in Stirling first and come to Clackmannanshire second.

I have resisted this, instead I have asked government for additional resources to accelerate our work and make sure we meet Stirling’s deadlines.

As I said in my maiden speech in the House of Commons, Clackmannanshire has the landscape, the ambition and people to be truly great.

The city deal will not solve every problem we have, but it will go a long way to realise some of our ambition and recognising the greatness of our county.

In addition to opening the office, and working on the Clacks City deal, I have held 18 surgeries in my first few weeks, visiting the numerous churches, school halls and community centres across our constituency.

Despite this, I know there are many that were unable to attend my first round of surgeries and that is why I am launching my summer tour next week to get to as many towns and villages as possible.

I ran on a platform of making the Clacks MP more accessible, so I hope to meet as many people and community groups as possible in the coming weeks.