Members of Parliament are elected to the House of Commons to represent the interests and concerns of all the people who live in their constituency, whether they voted for them at the General Election or not. However, there is a strict convention that they only deal with issues on behalf of residents in their own constituency. To check if you are one of my constituents, please enter your postcode on the Parliament website.
MPs consider and vote on legislation and use their position to ask government ministers questions about current issues.
We split our time between working in Parliament and working in the constituency. In Parliament, I spend my time fighting for the interests of all my constituents, attending debates, scrutinising and voting on legislation, and attending meetings. Additionally, as a member of the Environmental Audit Select Committee, I have a particular focus in Westminster on supporting the objectives of this Committee as we work to better conserve and protect the environment. In Broadland, I hold advice surgeries for residents (where they can come and talk to me about any local issues and problems), attend meetings and community events, as well as visit local organisations and businesses across the constituency.
When a constituent writes to me, I will write to the relevant department or official or the Minister involved. Many problems are solved in this way and I always aim to respond within 5 working days although sometimes more complex cases may take slightly longer.
Alternatively, if a resident is happy for the issue to be made public, I can ask an oral or written question, secure a debate or even petition Parliament itself.
Oral or Written Questions
Once a month each minister from each government department answers questions from MPs at the Despatch Box in the Chamber of the House. There is a limit to the number of questions that can be asked but I can also table a written question to the relevant government department, which are published in Hansard.
MPs may be able to raise a constituent’s issue in a half-hour Adjournment Debate. To get an Adjournment Debate, MPs must be successful in a ballot of Members of Parliament or have the subject chosen by the Speaker. The debates are usually the last business of the day and a government minister responds at the end of the debate.
Members of Parliament can present a petition to Parliament on behalf of their constituents. The format and wording of the petition need to be in a particular way. For more information or guidance, please contact:
Clerk of Public Petitions
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
What I cannot do, however, is have any jurisdiction over local Council decisions including planning. I can write to the council on your behalf and ask them to look into a problem or to reconsider an issue. In the first instance though, constituents should contact their local council or councillor directly.