What do MPs do when they are in Westminster? As with many jobs, there is no ‘typical’ day, but in this post, I’ll give an idea of what my routine in Parliament looks like.
First thing on a Monday morning, I meet with my office team to discuss the business for the week, progress on our projects, and to table oral and written questions. Parliamentary questions are a key way to hold the Government to account, scrutinising departments’ proposals and suggesting alterations that would make life better for my constituents. Each day, business in the chamber starts with those questions and I always like to be there; here is an example of a question I asked last week about support for MPs taking maternity leave.
After questions, I sometimes have meetings with charities to find out about their work and how I can do more to champion it. Last week, I met with representatives of Macmillan, learning about the work they do to support the 7,500 people in Huddersfield living with, and the ramifications of, cancer. We discussed applying for Westminster Hall debates about cancer care, the possibility of holding a fundraising walk event in Greenhead park, and I tabled this question about the NHS People Plan, as Macmillan’s research shows that the nursing shortage is the biggest factor affecting cancer care.
After that, it’s back to the chamber for debates and votes. Many of you have written to me with concerns that the Government is removing protections for unaccompanied child refugees from the Withdrawal Agreement Bill. I find this unacceptable, which is why I voted last Wednesday for Lord Dub’s amendment to retain the legal protection. Sadly, we lost the vote, but I am currently drafting an Early Day Motion (which are rarely debated but serve to raise MPs’ support and awareness for an issue) calling for greater commitment to reuniting unaccompanied refugee children with their parents in this country.
The afternoon often brings a meeting of an All-Party Parliamentary Group. These groups, formed around topics as diverse as air pollution, manufacturing and human trafficking, bring together parliamentarians from across parties to hear speakers, hold evidence sessions and write reports. The meeting of the Woods and Trees APPG last week drew attention to the Woodland Trust’s Emergency Tree Plan, highlighting the need to increase tree cover across the country from 13% to 19% by 2050. This would mean planting an area of trees equivalent in size to the Isle of Wight every year as part of our commitment to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Later on, I often have meetings about my projects; my priorities at the moment are transforming Huddersfield into a sustainable town, writing a report about miscarriages of justice and restarting the Autism Commission. It is exciting to be able to draw on the knowledge and expertise of the incredible people who are involved with these initiatives.
I am very pleased to have been re-elected so I can continue working hard in Parliament to stand up for Huddersfield and bring change. I love to hear from my constituents, so if you have ideas about what I should be focusing on here in Westminster, do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.