Web links: Chapter 26

Tools used in Parliament

MPs represent constituency issues in the House of Commons throughout their work in Parliament. They will often put questions to Ministers on matters relating to their constituency for instance including at Prime Minister’s Question Time. Watch, for instance, Melanie Onn MP raising an issue affecting one of her constituents to the PM.

Adjournment debates, the last half an hour of a sitting in the Chamber, are often used by MPs to discuss issues affecting their constituencies. This link shows which Adjournment debates are listed for each week – quite likely a few, if not all, of those listed focus on constituency issues.

Westminster Hall debates are also often used to raise constituency matters. MPs also often came together to address issues affecting different constituencies, applying for instance to a Backbench Business debate. Read for instance the transcript of a debate about fisheries in 2014 where Members from very different constituencies, but sharing a strong interest for this industry, came together.

Public petitions can be presented to Parliament to MPs on behalf of their constituents. Whilst on its own, a single public petition may achieve little, but when combined across different constituencies they can be an effective campaigning tool. Watch, for example, the presentation of petitions about transition arrangements affecting pensions of women born in the 1950s by 198 MPs across the House in the same session, reflecting a well concerted campaign by WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality).

But MPs take their constituency issues across the work they do in Parliament. Cheryl Gillan is a good example of an MP who has pursued her criticism of HS2 across different platforms, motivated by how this would affect her constituency. You can read several of her interventions here, here or here.

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