Following the 2010 General Election, David Cameron appointed me to the Government as a Government Whip and Lord Commissioner. Within this role I have worked within the Department of Education, Foreign Office and the Home Office.
As a Government Whip you are unable to speak in the Chamber, write written questions, oral questions or speak in debates in Westminster Hall. Government Whips liaise directly with Departmental Ministers away from the Chamber to tackle issues directly with the Ministers responsible. I have had to explain my role to constituents as they haven’t seen me speak in the Chamber and I was often asked why I wasn’t seemingly active in debates and at departmental questions. Despite not being visible in the chamber I have of course been working effectively behind the scenes in Parliament and working out and about within the constituency. That said some constituents feel more reassured that you are working in Parliament if you are recorded in Hansard or seen on the Parliament channel.
However, my role has now changed and following the recent reshuffle I have returned to the back benches. A backbencher is an MP who is not a minister in the government and sits on the back benches of the Chamber within the House. It has been a number of years since I was at the back benches but I am positive about my return. I jumped at the opportunity of speaking in the Chamber yesterday when I asked a question to the Leader of the House.
I am really looking forward to the coming months and for my constituents to see my activity and representing them in Parliament. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Whips office but I am looking forward and looking ahead to the visible work that I can carry out for the constituents of Rochford and Southend East.
I am now looking down at the members of the Government from the benches behind them and I can assure my constituents that I will take every opportunity to speak in the Chamber and in Westminster Hall. You will certainly be able to see and hear more from me now!