Agents in Shapps’ constituency tell him: we just want to talk

By Lisa James
Home » Agents in Shapps’ constituency tell him: we just want to talk

Partners at an independent agency in a village represented by Grant Shapps have invited him to visit, promising: “We’re nice people, we won’t bite. We just want to talk to you.”

Tricia Conroy Smith, Paul Rice and Natalie Bennett, Partners at Off Broadway Travel in Welwyn, tweeted an invitation to the Transport Secretary, inviting him to spend a day with them to find out how an travel agency works.

Ms Conroy Smith told Travel Gossip: “We’re in Welwyn Village. Mr Shapps lives about 10 minutes away. Most of the people in the village voted for him.

“On Friday he appeared to not understand that agents still existed, which added to the frustration the whole industry feels.

“Every step of the way in the last 15 months we have had to keep up with changes, constantly explaining them to our clients.

“We pay a lot in taxes, we offer an incredible service and for the last 15 months we’ve worked for no money. All we’ve done is refunded and looked after our clients, many of whom have been upset they’ve had to miss out on their holiday.

“We’re unlikely to make money until September or October and we’ve also not had the same level of grant support that other local businesses have.

“Grant Shapps needs to come down and really get a feel for the relationship that agents have with their clients.

“I would like to invite some of our trade partners to come to our office and meet with him, to be the front face of our trade.”

The team have promised they won’t shout at Mr Shapps, who’s represented Welwyn Hatfield since 2005 and won the last election with a comfortable 11,000 majority, if he does take up their offer.

“We’re nice people. We don’t see the point of anyone shouting, that’s not a win-win situation,” Ms Conroy Smith added.

“We just want a nice conversation. We appreciate the country had to be locked down and we’re grateful we are still alive, but his flippant comments have upset us.”

Her business partner Natalie Bennett added: “He did come to the village in 2005 when there was a local parking issue. It’s time he came back.”

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