My Week’s Work experience with Paul Maynard Conservative MP, By William Pounder, Maths Undergraduate at Queen Mary University of London Monday 13th June 2011 First day of work experience, I arrived at Central Lobby at 10.00am feeling a mixture of apprehension and an underlying eagerness to impress.
My Week’s Work experience with Paul Maynard Conservative MP,
By William Pounder, Maths Undergraduate at Queen Mary University of London
Monday 13th June 2011
First day of work experience, I arrived at Central Lobby at 10.00am feeling a mixture of apprehension and an underlying eagerness to impress. While absorbing the stunning architecture of the Central Lobby I was very surprised by the hustle and bustle around me. It was only later I found out that Mr Cameron was briefing the new intake of Tory MPs on the controversial NHS reforms. Having met Paul Maynard’s researcher, to my great delight I was taken on a tour of the Houses of Parliament, which was an amazing architectural experience. I saw the House of Commons and I stood next to the iconic dispatch box. This was fascinating, not only in terms of its importance to the shaping of the British identity, but also its history in which memories of past MPs are invoked. I met Mr Maynard; I was very intrigued by his political views. It was fascinating to listen to his personal narrative which included his journey to become the Conservative MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys. The rest of the day was devoted to business; hence I did some administrative work in the office. There is certainly, a great deal of it and some of it can be mundane; for instance, I obtained the phone numbers required and I sorted out some correspondence.
Tuesday 14th June 2011
Day two started with my familiar by now arrival at Central Lobby at 10.00 am and I was escorted directly to Mr Maynard office. After about an hour of doing administrative tasks I was lucky to be able to see the Select Committee on Transport at work. Mr Maynard’s concerns regarding the needs of people with physical disabilities became apparent when he asked a succession of questions relating to the improvements of access and to the support given to these individuals. Mr Maynard’s care for the vulnerable members of society and willingness to help them was also evident when I had the opportunity to accompany him to meet a family from the Midlands whose son had epilepsy. I was impressed by his compassion, support and understanding of the difficulties that an adult with such a condition experiences especially in connection with finding a job. Subsequently, in the public gallery I listened to Mr Andrew Lansley who presented his health care reforms speech to the House of Commons. It was an unexpected surprise to see several familiar faces of politicians, among them that of the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osbourne and Chris Huhne, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. By the end of the second day, my nervousness had gone and I was totally engrossed in the atmosphere of the House of Commons.
Wednesday 15th June 2011
On the third day, Mr Maynard whom now I called Paul, had arranged a meeting at Portcullis House with an organization called the Young Adult Manifesto. This forum provides a thoughtful approach on how to support young adults in the criminal justice system in order to reduce recidivism. I was impressed with how forward thinking were some of the ideas and proposals which they put forward. Social problems of this nature are an issue of grave concern to Mr Maynard and the research conducted by this organization will be included in his presentation in a Parliamentary debate at a later stage. I also accompanied Mr Maynard when he met some of his constituents, who were visiting Parliament for the day. His hectic schedule that day included presence at Prime Minister’s Questions followed by yet another meeting. The aim of the latter was to gather evidence for the all Party Parliamentary Group for Young Disabled People an issue of major importance to Mr Maynard. It is at such moments that one sees the very human side of what it entails to be an MP.
Thursday 16th June 2011
On my fourth day I arrived at Central Lobby at 10.00am. Having done some administrative tasks, I was able to observe the work of the All Party Transport Parliamentary Committee which Mr Maynard chairs. It was very interesting to listen in equal measure to the discussion and to the concerns and views of the disabled; they presented a variety of problems which they encounter while travelling on the network. Several chief executives of the major train companies replied to questions; they also discussed the improvements already implemented and the plans for the future; all these measures should improve access to transport for the most vulnerable members of society. However, despite all such improvements, unfortunately in the press one still reads articles, such as, “Disabled face rising levels of abuse”.(The Times, Saturday June 11th 2011), which makes one realise that improvements in transport infrastructure have to be accompanied by changes in attitudes in society. This reminds one how far society has already come, at the same time; however, there is still a long way to go. This was the message that Mr Maynard conveyed strongly throughout the debate.
Friday 17th June 2011
Mr Maynard visits his constituency on Fridays, which meant that I was unable to shadow him.
It was a real eye opener to see how hectic and busy a day in the life of an MP is. So much is done in 24 hours! At the same time, it is the dedication and hard work of MPs like Mr Maynard who one has to appreciate. It is the understanding, empathy and involvement in issues which capture the essence of what an MP does. Hence by helping and supporting their constituents in various ways, it is a truism to say that they can make a real difference to society.