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Catch up with news and views of Ann every Wednesday in her column in the Daily Express.

Junior: Houses of Parliament

I was a Member of Parliament. We call this MP for short. A Member of Parliament looks after a lot of people in an area which is called a constituency. My constituency stretched from Maidstone almost to Tunbridge Wells.

Members of Parliament, or MPs, take up any problems which their constituents have. For example, their constituents may have been waiting too long for an operation or may not have received their pension or may not be able to find a house. It is the duty of the Member of Parliament to help them.

It is also the duty of the Member of Parliament to stay in London and make laws. Laws are put forward by the Government but MPs have to vote on whether they are right or not. Therefore, I spend a lot of time from Mondays to Thursdays in Parliament voting on whether things should become law.

MPs also have to sit on Committees and discuss important issues, such as how well Government Departments are doing and how things could be done much better. For example there is a Committee which looks at the Health Service and makes recommendations as to how we can make the Health Service better for patients, doctors and nurses.

MPs can of course also make their own suggestions for changes in the law. These suggestions are called Bills. When a Bill is put before Parliament it has to go through four stages. There will first of all be a big debate (the Second Reading Debate) in which MPs discuss the suggestion. Then there will be a lot of detailed discussion which is called the Committee stage. This is only done by a small number of MPs but then it is returned to the whole House (646 MPs) for the report stage. When the Bill has been through all these it has a final discussion in the House and that is called the Third Reading.




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