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Hodge: judge me by what I do

LETTERS

Sir, I was amused that David Taylor gave so much credence in his column last week to his 'worse for wear' colleague's views on my abilities as a minister, based on a walk around Heathrow T5 (Signoff, September 7).

Yes, it was my first official site visit since I became construction minister. But if his colleague had turned up on time he would have known from a briefing it was in no sense my first construction site visit.

I haven't run the biggest local authority housing programme in the country, turned round a failing housing association and served for 12 years as a constituency MP without probably spending more time on building sites than he's spent thinking of difficult questions for construction ministers.

Of course I have more to learn and that's why I visited T5. What a shame your journalist didn't share my curiosity, and chose not to ask me about the project or the lessons Government could learn from it.

So please judge me by what I do in the job and what the industry says about me. Don't just rely on the impressions of a reporter who seemed shocked that after two weeks away from the office I needed to check if we had a date for the Construction Act consultation.

Rt Hon Margaret Hodge, Dept of Trade and Industry London SW1