Over the past few weeks I have been able to settle more into the office and I am beginning to feel more confident in what I’m doing and little more at home in the environment and patterns of Westminster. Each day is consumed by a variety of projects and tasks, some big and some small, some straight forward and others some less so, but all integral. There is a great sense of team work in the office and everyone is keen to muck in and help out with anything and everything. Whilst there is no such thing as a usual day it would not be unusual to find yourself perhaps working on research for the tabling of a parliamentary question in the morning and then perhaps helping to stuff some letters in the afternoon.
A fair amount of my time is spent managing Nic’s diary. This is daily task which and can often feel like solving a complex jigsaw puzzle whilst juggling. Among a variety of other projects the whole team has been working hard to put together the ‘Small business Saturday awards’ which have been a huge success in celebrating some of the great work done by small businesses in the constituency.
Outside of the day to day office stuff working at Westminster provides the opportunity to be at events which constantly amaze and enlighten. Off the top of my head, in recent weeks I have observed a Westminster Hall debate on the future of the UK steel industry in which Nic pointed out the government’s poor record on procurement of UK steel for public infrastructure projects. Nic also praised the leadership shown by the community, workforce, unions and management team in making Scunthorpe’s long products business a success.
I went along to a Joint Committee which discussed the implications for Human Rights as we navigate our way through the Brexit process. Evidence at this debate was given by a selection of respected experts in this area. Whilst the arguments of those who gave evidence was sometimes conflicting it was always very carefully considered and impartial. This, for me, is where Parliament is at its best. When cross party representatives from both houses ask questions, listen and absorb evidence. All with the goal of finding a route through a complex issue which will affect us all.
And finally, I attended the reception for the Columbian President Juan Manuel Santos. The president had recently been awarded the Noble Prize for peace for his work towards a lasting ceasefire between the Columbian Government and the FARC, a revolutionary people’s army who have been at conflict with the Columbian government since 1964. This was quite an experience and was attended by many big names from UK politics, both past and present. Simply finding myself in the room for this and any of the other events I have outlined above is something I’m not sure I will ever completely get used to.