Washminster

Washminster
Washminster

Thursday, 2 June 2011

All off on holiday?

Neither the House of Commons nor the Lords are sitting this week, but does that mean Westminster is deserted? Far from it, a tweet from Laura Kuenssberg (Chief Political Correspondent for the BBC News Channel) yesterday noted how many MPs were around in Portcullis House despite being in the middle of recess. There is a myth that MPs have long holidays - and so work less than 'ordinary folks' (one version of this myth points out that on Mondays and Tuesdays they don't start work until 2.30 in the afternoon - and now go home 'early' the rest of the week). The reality is of course very different.

So what do MPs (and for that matter, Peers) do with their time? There are lots of meetings - with constituents (nowadays most MPs have regular and frequent 'surgeries' in their districts - as well as meeting constituents who have come down to Westminster; with experts; with lobbyists (all claiming to be working for the interests of a Member's constituents); with Ministers - most MPs have pretty full diaries! There are interviews to give to local (and if the MP is known nationally, or a spokesperson on a national issue) national and even international) media.Working at Westminster, I would often see members arriving, or even going off to their first meetings around 7.00. A couple of days a week there may be votes at 10pm - as well as the Select Committees, Public Bill Committees; All Party Parliamentary Groups and so on...

There's a game aimed at young people that takes them through some the activities that MPs that MPs engage in. Have a go here.

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