Sunday, May 31, 2015

Settling in

The blisters I got in the first week have just about healed now.  I walked 9km on Monday which gives you some idea as to why we have 8 minutes to get to the voting lobby when the division bell rings, we have not had to vote yet but I am getting prepared.  I am trying to learn some of the shortcuts and now have an office which is real progress.

Planning is holding up the constituency office search, but I have no doubt we will get there eventually.  Casework and visits in the Constituency are progressing with a visit on Friday to NWF a large diversified business employing over 600 people.  On Monday I will be with Graham Evans MP who has raised significant funds for St Luke's Hospice in his London Marathon run, and we will both be at the opening of the new warehouse for St Luke's, and Graham will be driving the St Luke's bus which is a big red London Bus which tours around the Constituency selling beautiful vintage clothing in aid of the Hospice.

I will need to do a timed run this week from my Westminster office to the voting lobby so I know exactly how long it takes - that won't factor in 650 other MPs all rushing to get to the same place so I expect it will be an interesting experience!

Meanwhile I have been drawn for my first question on health, I have also put my name forward for the 1922  Committee which will require an election on Wednesday, it will be interesting to see the outcome of that election.  Three new MPs have put their names forward and this is in proportion to the numbers that we are on the back benches.  I was one of a number of AMs in Cardiff to argue that Committee chairs should be elected, as they are in Westminster.  Lord Elis Thomas supported those of us pushing for the change but the Party Leaders in Cardiff preferred the system of Patronage that currently exists.  By contrast letters from Committee Chair hopefuls have been arriving by the dozen in Westminster and I will be sitting down to sort through them on Monday.

On Tuesday I will be taking part in the Macmillan Tug of War which raises funds for a great cause.

Its going to be a good week....roll on Monday.

Saturday, May 23, 2015


Normally I am a reasonably accomplished speaker - as my blog information shows. However since my election on the 8th May I have found myself a bag of nerves.  With my background as a Barrister and then as an Assembly Member I find myself questioning why I have been reduced to knee shaking rubble!  Nothing brought this home to me more than my recent appearance at the Bishop Heber school on Friday in front of year group 11 - who were lovely, but for some inexplicable reason I suddenly got an attack of the nerves.

I can only think that having been elected as the MP for Eddisbury, I am suddenly feeling a bit like the new girl at a very big and rather imposing "school", except that it is no school it is the "Mother of all Parliaments".  The moment of walking through the doors last Monday rather unexpectedly has caused a minor crisis of confidence.  Why that should be is perhaps a reflection of the enormity of the trust that the electorate have placed in me.

I know that I have the skills to do my constituents proud, I know that I have worked for this for 10 years and even though I am constantly getting lost down corridors that I will work hard, am proficient and could shine.  I am a people person and perhaps the institution is what is playing on my mind.  Over 20 years ago I was the most junior of junior lawyers in the opening of the legal year, walking into the old Westminster Parliament was something that was so incredibly special and humbling that I felt it then, it feels very much like that now.

Given time I am sure that the awe that I feel will abate a little and that I will get over seeing people who I normally only see on Question Time who are now my colleagues and fellow MPs.  For the time being though I want to enjoy my nerves as it shows that I care, and that I am taking my role seriously.  The best thing about the last two weeks has been the staff at the House of Commons who have absolutely gone out of their way to make me and other MPs feel welcome, help settle us in, stopped us getting endlessly lost and allowed us to ask the stupid questions, and the not so stupid ones.  The door keepers and library staff are a delight - a special mention to Kelvin and Alison.  So roll on those nerves, but don't last too long!