The week of Parliament before the summer recess had a very much end of term feel about it. One or two colleagues were already missing on long booked holidays and this together with the fact we were only meeting for the first two days of the week added to the general air of relaxation. It has been an exciting first few weeks for all the new members of Parliament.
Understandably the question everyone is now asking is ‘how I am finding it?’ A short question but a long answer and inevitably I rarely have enough time to answer fully as I pass someone briefly in the street. It is my intention to use the summer recess to try and expand on the short answer that “I’m very, very busy and it is has been a steep learning curve.” That is the quickest way I have found of summing up hundreds ( if not thousands) of separate little incidents which have illuminated the past three months.
For me the highlight of the last two sitting days was my appointment by the House of Commons to the House Procedure Committee. For the first time there have been Party elections to determine who will serve on the Select Committees and initially I took the view that as a new M.P. my time would be better served learning about the wider work of the House than spending many hours on monitoring the work of a particular department. There are only a few places on each Committee and on most of the select Committees the reality was that there were many others who either had more experience or more expertise or both than I had. But then the less well publicised Committees became available and as everything that happens in the House revolves around its procedures I saw this as a great opportunity both to be able to learn about the procedures and also contribute to the process of evolving the procedures of the House.
A good example of the way the House administration runs is that the motion to appoint the Committee was passed at about 10.15pm on the Monday evening and within an hour the Clerks had emailed the Members notifying us that the initial meeting was to take place the next day at 2pm.