Last week, I organised a Summer School for politics students from my constituency.
Pupils from Addington High, Archbishop Tenison’s, Coloma, Edenham, Oasis Shirley Park, Old Palace, Quest Academy, Shirley High, St Mary’s and Trinity plus several constituents studying politics at university spent Monday and Tuesday with me at Westminster and Friday with me in the constituency. They got to meet and question John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons; James Landale, the Deputy Political Editor of the BBC; Nathan Elvery, the Chief Executive of Croydon Council; Carolyn Kenney from Hammerson; the Advertiser’s own Gareth Davies and south London MPs from the three main parties, as well as having a tour of the Palace of Westminster, watching the House of Commons in action and taking part in a mock debate.
I hope they all enjoyed the week; I certainly enjoyed hosting them and I’ll be doing it again next summer. Welcoming constituents to Parliament is one of the bits of the job I enjoy most. It’s important to remember that it is your Parliament just as much as it is mine. MPs are elected to serve you (even if it doesn’t feel like that at times) so if you’d like to have a tour, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While I’m on the subject of public service, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) has just published a consultation paper recommending an increase in MPs’ pay in 2015/16. In the three years that I have been a MP, I have supported below inflation increases in public sector pay. I know that’s made life tougher for many of my constituents, but I believe our government has to start living within its means instead of piling more debt on our children each year and that means taking tough decisions. And up until now, MPs have been treated the same as everyone else in the public sector. For IPSA to suggest that in a year and a bit’s time we should get nearly a 10 per cent increase when everyone else is getting 1 per cent is plain wrong. What I do think they should look at is getting rid of a lot of the expenses and increasing the basic salary so that the cost to the taxpayer is no higher but you can see exactly what we are getting paid.
Finally, a big thank you to everyone who attended my public meeting on crime on 11th July. Getting feedback from my constituents helps me do a better job representing you in Parliament.
This was first printed in The Croydon Advertiser on Friday 19 July 2013