Guide to Parliament
Parliament examines what the Government is doing, makes new laws, holds the power to set taxes and debates the issues of the day. The House of Commons and House of Lords each play an important role in Parliament's work.
What do MPs do?
The UK public elects Members of Parliament (MPs) to represent their interests and concerns in the House of Commons. MPs are involved in considering and proposing new laws, and can use their position to ask government ministers questions about current issues.
MPs split their time between working in Parliament itself, working in the constituency that elected them and working for their political party. Some MPs from the governing party (or parties) become government ministers with specific responsibilities in certain areas, such as Health or Defence.
Working in Parliament
When Parliament is sitting (meeting), MPs generally spend their time working in the House of Commons. This can include raising issues affecting their constituents, attending debates and voting on new laws. Most MPs are also members of committees, which look at issues in detail, from government policy and new laws, to wider topics like human rights.
As a Government Minister, Alistair usually spends daytimes Monday-Thursday in his Government Office (at the FCO) and evenings in the House of Commons attending votes or working on constituency business. Minister's are not allowed to speak in debates, join 'All Party Parliamentary Groups' or sign Early Day Motions. They can still raise concerns on behalf of their constituents by writing to the respective Ministers or Government organisations.
Working in their constituency
In their constituency, MPs often hold a 'surgery' in their office, where local people can come along to discuss any matters that concern them. MPs also attend functions, visit schools and businesses and generally try to meet as many people as possible. This gives MPs further insight and context into issues they may discuss when they return to Westminster.
Alistair works in the constituency most Fridays and weekends where he holds local meetings, surgeries and visits schools and other local organisations. Do get in contact with us if you would like Alistair to visit your school or organisation.
For more information about the work of MPs and the function of Parliament, please see the Parliamentary website.