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As your Member of Parliament, I am fully involved in a wide range of duties and responsibilities. When many people think about Parliament, the first thing that comes to mind is voting on laws and making speeches in the House of Commons chamber either for or against a Bill. Although MPs vote very often, sometimes several times a day, and aim to make regular speeches, interventions and oral questions every week (and you can find my most recent appearances here), there is much more to Parliament and my role as an MP.
A very considerable amount of work is done in Parliament by Committees. Small groups of MPs elected to form Committees which go into considerable detail on specific topic areas and scrutinise proposed laws (bills). During my time in Parliament, I have been a member of the Justice Committee (2010-2012), Draft Defamation Bill Joint Committee (2011) and the Environmental Audit Committee (2012-2014). Since 2015, I have been a member of the Public Accounts Committee which scrutinises how the government spends money and ensures taxpayers get the best value for money.
You can find out more about the committees I am, or have been, on here.
While MPs are first and foremost responsible for representing their constituents, many have specific areas of interest which they focus on. Groups of MPs from all political parties, with an interest in a particular issue or subject, come together to form All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs). Although APPGs have no formal status in Parliament, and are not officially involved in the process of scrutiny in the same way Committees are, they are often used for advocacy on a particular issue and can become influential in their specialist area. In the most recent listing in May 2017, there were 631 APPGs in existence on a range of subjects from Air Ambulances and Angling to Youth Employment and Zoos.
You can find out more about the APPGs I am on here.
Another way MPs can hold government ministers to account is by submitting Written Questions. Once submitted, ministers have a guideline to respond within seven days to an ordinary written question although it can sometimes take longer, and some questions are not answered if it is felt that answering them would be too costly. Written Questions are a good way for MPs to pursue answers and sometimes revelations contained in answers generate media interest. I table Written Questions regularly, including many as a result of questions raised by my constituents.
You can find a list of the most recent ministerial answers to my written questions here.