Chris Green MP: An insight into the work of an MP

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How MPs spend their time is a regular question that people ask.

Prime Minister’s Questions is the big weekly event in routine politics but it can give a misleading impression.

It is normally quite polarised and is used to attack or defend the Government position.

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Too infrequently, it is used to highlight events of global significance but is frequently used to champion a constituency cause.

Bolton West MP Chris Green Bolton West MP Chris Green
Bolton West MP Chris Green

The departmental questions to Secretaries of State and their ministerial team often take on a similar feel to PMQs but are more likely to be used to challenge Government policies and agendas directly, champion local causes or promote a good cause.

Far more of an MP’s time in Parliament is taken up with research, casework, campaign groups and various Parliamentary organisations. Votes for a variety of positions are a fairly regular feature as well.

Constituency work is normally completely different to that in Westminster though, for those MPs based in and around London, their two distinct roles become entwined.

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Just last week, we had a vote on the chairmanship, deputy chairmanship and numerous other positions in the Inter Parliamentary Union.

Over the preceding weeks, we had elections for the chairmanship of several select committees to replenish the membership of almost if not all of them.

Whenever a new Parliament is formed, a Prime Minister is replaced or a significant reshuffle is required, there is a huge cascade effect on all of the other organisations that operate in Parliament as backbenchers become ministers and others are freed of their burden of office.

Some of the roles have a high status amongst MPs so the potential successors mount quite sustained campaigns within Westminster to win them.

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Select committee chairmanships are the most sought after positions because of the authority that the House gives them but also because they can deal with some of the most important issues and can call Secretaries of State to answer for them.

Each department of government has a select committee following it and the chairmanships are divided between the political parties according to size. With the recent political turmoil, as can be imagined, there has been a significant turn over of positions.

I took one of the vacancies on the Health and Care Select Committee. Having worked in the life science sector for many years before entering politics, I developed my interest in the wider health sector and have joined colleagues with a huge breadth of experience.

Our inquiries cover everything from the lessons that we need to learn from the series of Covid lockdowns, to cancer treatment and the Integrated Care Systems that have recently been put on a statutory footing.

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Each select committee has a team of officials to organise our inquires, do research and support the members.

Each of the inquiry MPs take on requires a huge amount of preparation and reading up to make sure that the reports we produce have an effect and can sometimes push the Government into taking action.

We are kept rather busy indeed.