What does an MP do?
What does an MP do? Crudely you can divide my work into local, Parliamentary and national responsibilities. My last Annual Report, covering them all, is here.
In a bit more detail this is a summary of these responsibilities –
As Gloucester’s MP I need to make sure national and local government bodies are doing what they should do for my constituents, and to prod them when it appears they might not be: to respond to constituents in distress (i.e. casework, helping about 26 new constituents every day of the week on average) and to pursue my local goals that often go across organisations (what I call Gloucester Projects) which will make our city better.
Gloucester Projects cover everything from helping make the George Whitfield Centre for the Homeless happen to creating the Gloucester History Festival (and supporting Heritage Lottery Fund grants): to regenerating Blackfriars and the Railway Station (and its footbridge, underpass, car parks and road system), to tackling knife crime, getting better housing in Matson and Podsmead and finding government money to improve local roundabouts, roads and other infrastructure (and deliver them on time).
I’m also a trustee of the Gloucestershire Community Foundation (GCF) which funds good causes that tackle e.g. deprivation.
In Parliament I was elected onto the Work and Pensions Select Committee in 2015, which holds the government to account on its welfare and pensions policies and implementation of them. I was also chosen to be part of the joint Select Committee that investigated Philip Green (see more about this here). And I quite often chair meetings, including a joint committee looking at Supported Housing. I left the WP Select Committee after the 2017 General Election, and since September 2017 I’m now a member of the Select Committee for Leaving the EU.
I also chair All-Party Parliamentary Groups (which tend to be either subject or geography specific) for China, Indonesia and Marine Energy and Tidal Lagoons. These Groups bring together MPs with an interest in the subject, but often with different views. They are a good way for parliamentarians to be updated on key issues, ask questions informally of ministers and be involved in policy recommendations. In January 2017, for example, I hosted the launch of the Hendry Review of Tidal Lagoons – something of global, national and local significance (see more here).
I’ve been able to change the law twice since becoming an MP, most recently on changes in the maximum sentence for stalking another person. See here for more details.
I serve our country as the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to several South East Asian countries and their association (the ASEAN EC). This is a cross party appointment I’ve done since 2011, boosting our trade and investment. I’m also a director the non-departmental government body the Great Britain China Centre (GBCC).
These various appointments or elected positions reflect my experience in former lives, not least in Asia and also later the pensions industry.
The great thing about politics is that you can bring to bear your experience, knowledge, interests and understanding of many different issues and sectors. And you can do this locally and nationally.