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!