Members of Parliament are elected to the House of Commons to represent the interests and concerns of all the people who live in their constituency, whether they voted for them at the General Election or not. They are only able to deal with issues raised by people who live in their constituency. To check if you are one of John's constituents, please enter your postcode on the Parliament website .
There is no job description for an MP and each MP has to work out the best way to pursue the role for themselves. The main task is to consider and propose new laws as well as raise issues relating to the constituency or constituents. This is not always easy as contentious and divisive issues are often debated. It is always important to listen to different views and to weigh up arguments. In the end every MP has to make a judgement on what they say and how they vote on particular issues. An MP is not therefore a delegate and while constituents may ask for a course of action it is for the MP to decide.
On average, those who contact an MP account for about 0.1% of their electorate. The views of the remaining 99.9% cannot be ascertained in this way. That is the point of a General Election.
For the most part an MPs time is divided between working in Parliament or representing parliament elsewhere and working in their constituency.
When Parliament is sitting MPs are expected to be in Westminster from Monday to Thursday and so time in the constituency is limited. Outside of sitting weeks there is more time for constituency meetings and visits. A key constituency time for John is the September recess which is the only recess that does not coincide with school holidays and so John is able to meet with many more people at this time.
During the course of a week in Westminster there are many competing demands on an MP's time. Time is divided between scrutinising legislation, attending debates, ministerial question sessions, committees, briefings and other meetings, and also responding to correspondence. These competing demands mean that it is not always possible to attend a particular debate or drop-in session that a constituent may ask John to attend, although he does try to fit in as much as he can each week. MPs can raise questions relating to Parliament and the work of Government departments such as the NHS, HM Revenue and Customs, and the Department of Work and Pensions. These questions may arise from the MPs concerns or may be on behalf of individual or groups of constituents. Questions can be formal written or oral questions however many MPs also like to discuss issues privately with Ministers.
It is often thought that an MP sits at the top of a hierarchy of Government and has power to direct local councils. This is not the case. Although local councils have to respond and conform to central government policy within this they are fully autonomous and MPs do not have any jurisdiction over local council decisions. However MPs can write to the council on behalf of a constituent to ask them to look into a problem or to reconsider an issue. In the first instance though, constituents should contact their local council or councillor directly. For details of the local councils and other local organisations please see the useful contacts tab under the Constituency tab on this website.
If you want to find out more, and see if your issue is something I can help with, please click on the attached document published by Parliament.