Today parliament rises for summer recess. It marks the end of a torrid term for our democratic institutions and many people will no doubt be glad to see the back of MPs for a couple of months.
However I appreciate many people will also rightly be asking whether politicians deserve such a long break in the aftermath of the allowances scandal that has rocked to its core the public’s residual faith in parliamentary democracy and the conduct of MPs.
Cries from colleagues that we will be spending valuable time in our constituencies are likely to be met with an even greater degree of cynicism than usual.
I wish to reassure my Cities of London and Westminster constituents that my parliamentary office will remain busy throughout the recess and will be manned each and every working day. In an age of 24/7 media, however, the recess provides MPs with valuable time to reflect, read, learn and dispassionately assess – arguably a far better use of our working days than furious legislating without proper thought to the consequences. I shall be spending August researching future articles, speeches and debates and already have pieces planned on financial regulation; the relationship between the UK and Russia; mental health issues locally; and the promotion of small businesses.
The joys of broadband mean that whenever I am away, I am in daily contact by email and telephone with my office – indeed my private office team more often than not complain of my omnipresence! By the beginning of September, formal constituency engagements and meetings begin again. In fact my diary for that month already resembles the appearance of a battlefield. Later in September shall also be joining a small number of colleagues on a four-day parliamentary delegation to Turkey.
As always, my team here in Westminster will be on hand to help constituents as well as engaging in a number of long term projects. They intend to revamp the website over the recess, helping to make my private office even more efficient. We will also take the opportunity to visit a number of local people and places to learn more about the constituency.