Web links: Chapter 18
Parliament’s website contains lots of useful databases which can be used to find out more about backbench MPs. You can find a list of all MPs which can be filtered by party, gender or constituency and which provides a brief profile of every MP. Current and former frontbench positions are listed so it is easy to tell if an MP is a frontbencher or a backbencher. Other databases which can be searched by MP include:
Hansard (for contributions to debates, oral questions etc)
Written Questions for answer
Register of Members’ Interests
Most MPs now have their own personal websites which provide information on their parliamentary and constituency work, as well as local campaigns which they are involved in. It is also useful to look at an MP’s Facebook or twitter profile to get a better understanding of their work. See for example Labour MP Hilary Benn’s personal website as well as his twitter feed and facebook page. Or subscribe to the list of all MPs tweets at Tweetminster.
The Backbench Business Committee
The Backbench Business committee’s website shows its membership and formal minutes of its meetings. Particularly useful is this information showing how MPs can request a debate in the chamber and the webcasts of its public meetings. There are also helpful lists showing all of the backbench debates granted in each session (see the 2016-17 session details here). Watch Maria Miller going before the committee to make an application for a debate on sexual harassment in schools.