MPs in constituencies


Visiting the constituency was once an annual affair for some MPs. It was possible to pass nearly all problems to local councillors.  But with the intense media scrutiny and public disenchantment with politicians, MPs’ relationships with their constituents have changed out of all recognition. One  constituency office accumulated over 9,500 cases on the database between 2005 and last month; and a constituent emailed his MP at 2 am asking for help and again at 6 am saying, “why haven’t you answered yet?”



After the purifying fire of the expenses scandal, as Bernard Jenkin (MP) put it in a recent debate, something had to be done to restore the reputation of parliament. In 2009 Tony Wright (former LabourMP) wrote to PM Gordon Brown withsome suggestions. On 10th June Dr Wright was sitting in the chamber and Jack Straw came up to him and asked, “Did you know that the PM is about to announce the establishment of a committee on reform and you will be Chair?” He didn’t. The Wright Committee, as it came to be known, worked at lightening speed. Their recommendations were all passed and the Coalition government established the Backbench Business Committee. MPs elected not only the chairs and members of this committee but all select committees in the House of Commons. What effect has this had?


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