Last week was the first week back in Parliament after the summer recess. Whilst the time away was not all rest and recuperation -the majority was spent getting up to date with casework and constituency matters – I was able to get my head cleared after a long 2.5 year campaign and a couple of months living in the organised chaos of the whirlwind that followed the election. My first week back was about as varied as it comes:-
Monday: I heard from the Prime Minister about the UK response to the Syrian refugee crisis and the news that the UK had launched a missile strike on a known terrorist; helped deal with the remaining stages of the EU Referendum Bill including the controversial Purdah period (what the government can and can’t do in the weeks leading up to the referendum which may sway the result); joined London Conservative MPs to speak to Boris’ housing adviser and sat with a whip and a DWP minister to learn about the procedures of the Welfare Reform Bill Committee to which I had been appointed. The last vote came at about 12.30am.
Tuesday: Another long day well past midnight where I voted on the detail of the Finance Bill and sat in my first Petitions Committee. This weekly committee meeting decides on what happens to the e-petitions on the government website that have received popular support. My Tuesday afternoon was spent deciding on whether to have a vote of no confidence in David Cameron, Iain Duncan Smith and Jeremy Hunt; arrest Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel; legalise cannabis and ban fracking among other petitions. We did none of this things but have scheduled debates on consultant contracts, which was the substantive concern of the Jeremy Hunt petition and legislation around cannabis.
Wednesday: hearing about progress on investigation into war crimes during the civil war in Sri Lanka, the last Prime Minister’s Questions with Harriet Harman, being briefed about a forthcoming trip to Bangladesh, joining London MPs at an all party parliamentary group for London to discuss housing in the capital with a panel of experts and listening to the Conservative Party Chairman outlining progress on the Party organisational review that is underway.
Thursday: starting the first session of the Welfare Reform Bill Committee, voting for a couple of procedural motions before running off to a hotel in Piccadilly to hear Benjamin Netanyahu (I refrained from satisfying Tuesday’s petitioners by performing a citizen’s arrest) tell a room of politicians and members of London’s Jewish community that he was prepared to re-enter talks with President Abbas without any preconditions before dashing back to the Bill Committee where we heard evidence from a number of charity leaders and welfare experts. In the evening I spoke at the Sutton Housing Society AGM, updating residents on local issues.
I’ve not been in Parliament long enough to know if this is a typical week. The time spent before recess was spent getting to know people and procedures. Now it’s about learning how to do justice to such a range of important subjects in such a short space of time. Life in Parliament can be quite exhilarating but I never forget that I’m here to do an important job, representing residents of Sutton, Cheam and Worcester Park to the best of my ability, repaying the trust put in me