Deana Hassanein, a Croydon resident studying Politics with Applied Economics at Kingston University, completed her work experience with me over the summer. She has written about her experience and wanted me to share it on my website.
As a university student, I thought it was time to do something productive with my summer. I have always been interested in politics but not entirely sure about what I wanted to do for a career. Although I also study economics, I was more intrigued by the idea of a political internship. I always thought politics would be impossible to access without connections or wealth, but my mother encouraged me to take a chance, write to an MP and see if I could experience it firsthand. I wrote to Gavin in June and by July I had an internship confirmed. I would be working in the constituency office in Croydon and then spend a week shadowing Gavin in Parliament.
I began my internship in late August where I met Gavin's team, a wide variety of people who all had different political experiences. Whilst there I saw them resolve issues ranging from immigration to housing and much more. Being in the constituency office showed me how much work goes into being an MP. Not only were Gavin and his team talking to constituents, they were responding to their problems, researching information and fulfilling their promises to help the residents. From these two weeks I learnt the many different ways to be involved in politics locally as well as how campaigning and elections work in each constituency. Above all I learnt how much effort goes into being an MP – it’s not a glamorous occupation but one that requires commitment 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
In my final week I was based in Westminster where I watched debates, listened to committee meetings and observed firsthand the unpredictability of a MPs schedule. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and it gave me a true insight of what MPs duties are. I attended meetings with Gavin at Croydon Council where they discussed lots of local issues including planning for the Westfield and Hammerson Development of the town centre. I was also lucky enough to attend the opening of the Croydon Volunteer Centre where I met the Mayor of Croydon. All in all it was a busy, varied, but exciting week that emphasised to me how busy our MPs really are.
From this experience I have not only learnt about the demands on Gavin’s time, but all the different ways that we can all get involved in helping my area. Interestingly, I have never associated myself to a political party as I have focused my interest on international issues, but the time spent and ideas shared during my internship with Gavin encouraged me to think about where I am on the political compass and to see how I can help my community locally. I’ve been inspired to take an interest and very much look forward to getting involved in local politics at some point in the future.
Once again I would like to thank Gavin for this opportunity and to all the team for making me feel so welcome. You have all helped me broaden my perspective and rethink my career options – anything is now possible.