FINDING his way from A to B through the Houses of Parliament was new Amber Valley MP Nigel Mills’ first challenge.
“It’s a huge old building and you go around in circles,” he said.
“It’s a lot like starting a new job and your first day at school all rolled into one.”
The nature of his career as a tax consultant first with pricewaterhousecoopers, and later Deloitte, came in handy, he said.
“I was lucky I had a job where I became used to carrying the lap top around.”
Born in Nottingham, Nigel,l 36, was brought up in Jacksdale and East Leake, before going to school in Loughborough and later reading Classics at Newcastle University. Coming from a fairly apolitical family, Nigel first became interested in politics while training to be accountant.
“My dad is also an accountant and advised me against becoming one – but I rebelled!
“My mother told someone at the electoral count that I had always wanted to be a politician – that’s not strictly true!
I found I was quite good at it and quite enjoyed it.”
He got involved in the 1997 General Election as a ‘door knocker’ in Erewash, before unsuccessfully contesting council seats in Nottingham. He helped his partner Gillian Shaw contest Amber Valley in 2005.
“She died in 2006,” said Nigel. “It’s like I inherited the seat.”
He was also a councillor for Shipley Park from 2004, standing down this year.
The daunting prospect of his maiden speech in the House of Commons coincided with the week in which Rachel Slack and her family were killed in Holbrook and Nigel took the opportunity to pay tribute to the police officers.
For the first months he shared a committee room with ten other new MPs while offices were allocated and was sent to the Home Office where he sat on the committee to repeal identity cards.
Watching the process of how a bill moves through Parliament gave him the confidence to propose his own amendments to bills concerning finance bill, localism and open-caste mining.
Now his constituency case-work sees him dealing with all sorts of people. “Everyone from a person with terminal cancer that wants a drug that isn’t funded to people concerned about how you trim the beaks of chickens.”
He added: “I want to see that things are done better. There are lots of challenges in this area and that’s my focus.”
He warned that he wouldn’t necessarily tow the party line, having already rebelled against a three-line whip on increasing funding to the IMF.
“If I don’t think it’s the right thing to do I would oppose it,” said Eurosceptic Nigel.
“At the moment we shouldn’t be shoving money at countries that have no intention of sorting themselves out.”
After a year in Parliament, the novelty has now worn off: “It’s a huge beautiful palace and at times you forget – it becomes work.”