As a new feature for 2011, I will be updating my constituents – and anybody else who might be interested – by e-mail on exactly what I have been up to on behalf of Hove and Portslade each month. As this is the first monthly bulletin that I am sending out, I hope to give some idea of what my work actually entails and how my office operates on a day-to-day basis.
I have three members of full-time staff based in Westminster – an assistant, a researcher and a secretary. Each is a Hove resident and University of Sussex graduate. A Member of Parliament with such a local team is quite a rarity in fact and I can’t emphasise enough the usefulness of the local knowledge which my team has. On top of my full-time staff, I have one part-time member of staff who works from both Hove and Westminster, and four part-time interns who assist with a number of extremely important administrative tasks.
I exist principally to represent the residents of Hove and Portslade (plus, funnily enough, a tiny slice of Brighton) in the House of Commons. This ultimately boils down to how I vote but there is so much more to it all than that.
Monday to Thursday is spent in Parliament. I tend to work from 9am to 10pm and an average day will include five or six appointments on top of my duties in the Chamber. Friday, Saturday and Sunday are spent in the constituency where I meet residents at my weekly surgery; visit charities and local businesses; and carry out my civic duties. It is also the time that I am able to see my family.
Knowing the views of my constituents is key to being able act on their behalf. I therefore read every letter and e-mail that is sent to me but, I have to say, my team is invaluable in helping me to prepare responses. Since my election in May last year, I have sent over 3,500 replies by letter and probably ten times that by e-mail.
My interests in Parliament are numerous but I bring some expertise in the areas of intellectual property, live music and business. I have taken part in debates on all sorts of subjects and have so far asked over 250 Parliamentary Questions on a range of topics.
Having listened to the concerns of residents of Hove and Portslade, I have become involved with several national campaigns which are of huge interest to my constituents. These include campaigns to keep fox hunting banned; raise awareness of HIV/AIDS; support independent retailers; and champion the community benefits of pubs.
The local issues are of greatest interest to me and I am always keen to see how I can assist my constituents with any problem, even if it is just to lend an ear or to point them in the right direction. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you feel that I can assist in any way.
I will be in touch again next month with an update but please see www.mikeweatherley.com if you can’t wait that long!
If you would like to automatically receive this bulletin each month, please let me know on firstname.lastname@example.org.