Saturday, November 20, 2010

Linking To The Formal Parliamentary Work Of Your MP.

At the end of the "links" section at the right hand column of this blog, I have added four new links to the parliamentary activities of my local MP and parliamentary successor, Natascha Engel.

The first link provides access to the relevant sections of Hansard which provide (a) the oral and written parliamentary questions she asks and (b) her contributions in debates. The second link gives the Early Day Motions which she has both submitted and signed. The third link is to her section at the BBC's "Democracy Live" which includes access to various videos of her parliamentary contributions. The fourth link provides access to the reports of the Back Bench Business Committee which she Chairs.

(Note at 6.40 pm : Although these four links are working at the moment, two of them broke earlier. But others will have better technical skills than mine when adapting what I propose below, mainly via here)

Others in the UK could use these links to then search out the work of their own MPs and then to set up their own links. Areas I have not so far sorted out include links to relevant Hansards for Standing Committees and submissions and support for proposed amendments to Bills. Nor have I links for an MP's own Private Bills.

It should be noted that even in parliament, the above areas only form part of an active MP's work. For most of their parliamentary activities no Hansard writers or Common's Clerks are involved. These additional avenues include formal and informal meetings with Government Ministers and their opposition shadows, their own Party meetings including a wide range of back-bench committees, all-party and other groups on a range of topics, letters/emails to Ministers etc (normally on behalf of constituents) and a whole host of informal links to seek to advance their concerns. Such extra avenues are only possible, of course, because an MP has the normally unspoken threat in the background of raising their concerns via formal parliamentary procedures unless the informal avenues produce results. The hurdle they always need to overcome is the power of the Executive over back-bench MPs. This is why the work of the Backbench Business Committee which Natascha chairs is so important.

It should also be noted that the use of the above formal and informal parliamentary avenues only form part of an active MPs' work. Constituency work, campaigning and fact-finding are as significant and need to be added to the equation.

In my experience it is the MP who is active in parliament who is also active in their constituency.

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