An MP's first six months in Parliament...

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Conservative MP for Chichester and speaker at our last London workshop, Gillian Keegan shares her first 6 months in the job. "What’s it like when you finally make it to become an MP? Is it everything you thought it would be? I can categorically say NO….it is better than I ever imagined!

For any candidates reading this article, please carry on with all your hard work. The process to get to Parliament is so random and full of ups and downs that sometimes you will question whether it is worth it. It is.  

It is hard to describe the actual job as every day is different – this is one aspect that appeals to me as I like variety and learning new things. To try and describe it I would say the job breaks down into four areas. The constituency has two parts – the first is Party related – campaigning, association events, fundraising, super Saturdays, all the stuff we are familiar with as candidates. The second is your role in the community which is a huge source of fulfilment. I have experienced so many new things, visited lots of schools, charities, hospitals, care homes and businesses but also taught a class in a school and the local University, slept out with local homeless people, picked peppers, volunteered in a foodbank, got my first set of brownie badges for thirty years and even fed a pint of beer to a dray horse – all caught on camera – you get used to that!

Then there is Parliament. Once you get over the awe of the place – (I’m not sure when that happens as I’m still in awe) – there are two main things you do with your day. The first is the chamber itself, not for the faint hearted as it really does feel like a bear pit at times, and is louder in real life than the TV. It is fun though and there are many colleagues and the Speaker’s office to support you.

The second is the cross-party world of APPGs and select committees. I’m on the Public Accounts Committee which is a great place to learn the lessons from past and current Government mistakes – of course facilitated through the lens of hindsight. This is a great training ground and insightful into policy and its implementation. I’m also involved with more than 10 APPGs and co-chairing two - way too many but you are enthusiastic as a new MP!

I have worked in many jobs in many industries for 27 years prior to becoming the MP for Chichester but I can categorically say this is the most rewarding job I have ever had. I love being an MP and I simply wouldn’t be here without Women2Win (the Conservative internal programme to support female canddiates)"