We don’t have an easier time over recess!

Cross-posted from Liberal Conspiracy:

Grrrrrrrrr – so cross listening to the radio on Wednesday morning with Andrew Pierce of the Telegraph opining on MPs going off on ‘82 days’ holiday. Holiday? My backside! If he thinks not being in Parliament equals being on holiday, then I trust he applies the same standards to himself – and any time he spends outside of the Telegraph offices he counts as holiday too!

The truth is that for both MPs and journalists the job can and should involve more than being in the main office. Getting out and meeting people, for example, is a major part of doing either job well. When Sunny asked me to write a short piece on what MPs do in recess I didn’t think I would have time before I go away. But I’m maddened by the hatred and vitriol from the radio towards the summer recess as if all MPs do no work during it.

Rant over.

I understand the anger at MPs – but as one of the MPs who was declared a ’saint’ by the Telegraph, ’squeaky clean’ by my local papers – and who works right throughout the recess (except when on actual holiday) I am beginning to think I am a mug. I didn’t take the opportunity to coin it by getting a second home (that I am ‘allowed’ within the rules) and I don’t bugger off for the summer doing nothing.

But given the ‘tarred with the same brush’ syndrome – I must just be stupid.

So – as I calm down – and remember that it is important that the good guys fight on and don’t leave the battlefield – here is a little picture of my recess occupation.

The best thing about recess is just working like an ordinary human being – basically 9 – 5pm and not at weekends. During term time – I work a seven day week – with Monday and Tuesday being 6am – 11.30pm, Wednesday and Thursday being 6am – 10pm, Friday usually 6am – 6pm plus evening engagements one or two out of every four weeks; and Saturday and Sunday are always working, emails, paperwork, constituency events, etc.

So – you can see why it feels fantastic to just work a normal working week.

Lots of meetings and visits that I haven’t managed to fit in during term time are scheduled for recess period – and obviously surgeries and casework, continue in usual fashion. I also use recess to write articles, prepare for (in this recess) the return of the Equality Bill to the floor of the House at Report Stage and prepare speeches. That time to think, research and learn is vital – as otherwise you are just at the mercy of others who tell you what you should be thinking. But the best thing is being able to do something for the constituents that I would never normally have time for.

The year before last I set off to visit every shop in the constituency on foot – from high street to tiny parade (over-ambitious – I only made it to about 60%). It was incredibly useful. The shops and small businesses were thrilled and I was able to raise their concerns both with the local council and in Parliament.

Last year I set out to visit every older persons residential home and sheltered housing (again over-ambitious – made it to about 70%) and it too was hugely useful for picking up the issues that older residents needed me to take up. It was also good to go to older people where they are as sometimes they find it difficult to get to public meetings, surgery or whatever.

This year I am aiming to spend one to two days walkabout in each of the ten wards that made up my constituency of Hornsey & Wood Green finding the issues on the ground and meeting and talking to local people.

So that’s what I do in recess – but I think I must be mad!

0 thoughts on “We don’t have an easier time over recess!

  1. Thanks Lynne, every other MP could write a similar review of their recess activities and this would settle the issue.