|My first week in Parliament|
|Thursday, 19 May 2005 07:21|
The first week in Parliament has been extremely
exciting and humbling stuff. Despite having practised welcoming new members of
parliament for centuries, Parliament does not seem to have perfected how to
allow them to hit the ground running! Unfortunately, it may be anything between
4-6 weeks before us new members are given our office. This makes the task of
employing staff and dealing with the numerous phone calls, e-mails and letters
received from constituents and others an unenviable task.
At the moment many of us are having to hunch in the central lobby with a mobile phone in one hand and a pen in the other hand writing letters to constituents. There are desks and computers available for us to "hot desk" on but I'm afraid that I've not been able to master this effectively. Other teething problems include having to liaise with the appropriate department to organise stationery stock and booking surgeries. I think that I may have cracked this and will be able to post details of my surgeries on my website in the very, very near future. The last week has seen us new Labour MPs have a meeting with our Whips (all very, very nice and charming!), and our first Parliamentary Labour Party meeting (not at all as reported in the press) and I witnessed the Speaker being elected for the third time, Michael Martin MP.
The highlight of the week for me was on the afternoon of Thursday 12th May when I swore in. My friend, Keith Hill, Member of Parliament for Streatham, was there with me and swore in just before me. The Speaker was incredibly kind and stopped for some time to say a few encouraging words. Hopefully he will remember how nice I was in return whenever I have to speak in the Chamber.
On Thursday night, I was invited to what I thought would be a small dinner organised by members of the Tooting local community to celebrate a local boy being returned as Member of Parliament. In fact, more than 125 locals packed into a restaurant in Tooting High Street to celebrate our success on May 5th. The evening was fantastic as it encompassed all strands of the Tooting community coming together to celebrate the results of May 5th in Tooting. The former head of Ernest Bevin school, my former head of my secondary school, was the master of ceremonies. I am grateful to all who organised and all who came to enjoy a brilliant evening that I will never forget
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