Summer is time for an MP to get out and about locally

Cat Smith
Cat Smith

Politicians, like teachers, are often accused of having long summer holidays. But, like the many teachers in our area, I too have spent the summer months working.

When Parliament sits the majority of my week is spent in Westminster. I go down on a Monday, and return late on Thursday evening, or sometimes Friday morning, depending on the time of the last vote. In contrast, the summer recess provides the opportunity to spend whole weeks in the constituency.

The activities of the summer recess are varied, from working on casework and meeting individual constituents through my surgeries, to attending community events, and meeting groups in the community.

My casework highlights how many people in our community are suffering under the Tories’ cuts agenda. Struggling to live on inadequate income support, being humiliated by incomprehensible decisions about capacity to work, and struggling to afford housing.

I’ve been back in Westminster a couple of weeks and it was an inspiration to meet Jan Shorrock from Lancaster who was in Parliament highlighting the importance of organ donation.

Jan is an altruistic living donor of one of her kidneys and was raising awareness of signing up to the organ donor register and speaking about this with your family. I’m a registered organ donor and believe that after my death if I can save the lives of others with my organs that would be the right thing to happen.

Many of you were in touch about issues debated in the first week back in parliament – particularly the refugee crisis and the Assisted Dying Bill. Thank you for taking the time to write and email with your concerns.

People keep asking me how I’m enjoying being an MP, and I reply this is the best job I’ve ever had, but I must say I’ve enjoyed sleeping in my own bed and not having to pack to go to Westminster every week over the summer recess.