As I write this I am waiting to see if Mr Speaker will grant an Urgent Question application I have submitted about Southern Water. For about two weeks I have been pressing Southern Water for answers about whether there has been a sewage discharge at Fullerton Waste Water Treatment works, and for two weeks they have denied there is a problem there. That flies in the face of what river-keepers and local residents have been saying. Then yesterday there was confirmation from the Environment Agency that there has been a pollution incident that could be at a level harmful to human health.

I think the last time I requested an Urgent Question it was about Southern Water, although that time it was about water supply, not waste. It strikes me we have two requirements of our water companies, one that they supply potable water competently and two that they deal with waste water safely and efficiently. It appears on current performance that Southern Water can do neither.

The irony is not lost on me that it was only on Monday that I was with Southern Water at Hampshire County Council and they were either unaware of the issue at that time, or kept it from me. It completely undermines all their promises, expressed at that meeting, to be transparent. But in better news they have managed to clear a blockage in Wellow which means some residents can now flush their loos again.

It was delighted to go to Lloyds of London on Wednesday this week to attend a Thought Leaders event – it was great in the run up to International Women’s Day to meet some inspirational women and talk about the shared challenges we all face. It was the same day as we had another session on the challenges around ageing in my Select Committee. What started out as a rather dry subject has become absolutely fascinating, and whilst a number of my constituents have written to me recently about digital exclusion, that is something we have already been looking at as part of our inquiry.

Sometimes I look at my diary and think I have simply taken leave of my senses, with a trip to talk at a school in Winchester last week, Portsmouth this week and an invitation sitting in my inbox to go to one in Salisbury. I think now, perhaps more than ever, it is crucial to prove to young people that democracy and our Parliament is important.

It is really easy to denigrate politicians, but at every level it takes guts to put your head above the parapet. We have been in the headlines this week with yet more investment going in to keeping MPs and candidates at the next election safe. It matters.

In the past eight years I have lost two colleagues who were just doing their job, holding a constituency surgery. And this week a man who has previously shouted abuse at me in the street sent yet another vile barrage. I know he is seeking to intimidate me into not standing at the next election – my message to him, it won’t work. I am not afraid of him and I am not afraid of democracy.

Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP

Member of Parliament for Romsey and Southampton North