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What can your MP do for you?

The House of Commons Information Office publishes guides to what MPs do, including advice about surgeries. Some sections from this document are reproduced below. You can view the factsheet here: http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-information-office/m01.pdf

MPs can assist their constituents in a variety of ways, from making private enquiries on your behalf, to raising matters publicly in the House of Commons.

Jenny can help you on issues relating to:

  • Tax (but not council tax as this is set and paid to your local authority).
  • Hospitals and the National Health Service (not local social services).
  • Benefits, pensions, national insurance.
  • Immigration.
  • School closures and grants (not day-to-day school problems like governors or the local education authority).

Jenny is not able to help with:

  • Settling private disputes with neighbours or employers, family arguments or consumer matters. She cannot interfere with decisions made in court.
  • If your problem concerns the Local Authority (for example it is connected with services such as refuse collection, housing repairs or public lavatories), you should contact your local Council or Councillor.

How does my MP deal with my problem?

Jenny can deal with problems of her constituents by:

  • Writing to the relevant department or official.
  • Sending a letter to the appropriate Minister
  • Making a personal appointment to discuss the issue.

These steps can often go a long way to providing a solution.

All the methods covered so far allow your problems to be kept confidential. If Jenny is not satisfied with the answers she receives she may raise the issue in the House of Commons in front of the public and press. This can be done through:

  • Oral / written questions

Ministers answer questions from MPs at the Dispatch Box during Departmental Question Time but there is a limit to the number of questions that can be asked. Jenny may also table a written question to the relevant Government department.

  • Adjournment Debates

Jenny may also try to raise your problem in the half‐hour Adjournment Debate, which is usually the last business of the day, although again there will be competition amongst MPs for the right to raise matters on adjournment and she must be successful in a ballot or have her subject chosen by the Speaker.

  • Westminter Hall Debates

A Westminster Hall debate is similar to an adjournment debate but does not take place in the main chamber but in a large committee room. A Deputy Speaker presides over proceedings and no votes take place.

  • Early Day Motions

At other times Jenny may prefer to draw attention to the matter in what is called an Early Day Motion, which is a written record of Jenny's opinion on the subject. This can then be used to gauge the support of her fellow MPs.

  • Private Member's Bill

If Jenny becomes aware that your problem is a common one she may try to introduce a Private Member's Bill which is a Bill put forward by an individual MP, as opposed to a Government Minister. Only a small number of Private Member's Bills are successful but publicity is drawn to the issue and the Minister may be persuaded to make changes in the future.

  • Petition

If you and other people feel very strongly about a certain issue you may decide to organise a petition to the House of Commons. Your petition can only be presented by Jenny as your MP and must be arranged in a particular format.

Outside Parliament

Please contact Jenny if you would like her to speak at an event, pledge her support to a campaign, write to the local media on your behalf or visit your organisation.

How can you contact Jenny?

  • Visit Jenny at her weekly advice surgery - every Friday, 2.30pm until 4pm at 38 The Parade, Roath, Cardiff, CF24 3AD. No appointment necessary.
  • Write to Jenny in Westminster or at her Cardiff office:

o Jenny Willott MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

o Jenny Willott MP, 38 The Parade, Roath, Cardiff, CF24 3AD