Guide for schools on what an MP does

I have been receiving a large number of individual emails from pupils at both primary and secondary schools wanting my views on issues, and wanting me to help them in their coursework on a range of topics.

I am of course happy to respond to sensible enquiries that relate to my views and duties as an MP where this cannot be easily discovered by normal research. Very often the issues raised are nothing to do with an MP, or are items which can easily be checked from accessible internet sources. It would be helpful if, for example, a student checked my website first, as very often I have written on the topic if it is one of relevance to an MP. If they are truly interested in my views, they will find plenty to be interested in on the website. I am happy for any student to quote from my website and take my comments there as a fair statement of my view. They might also like to get to know the Parliamentary website, as this gives a handy guide to what an MP has been doing and saying in recent debates.

Many of the queries relate to

Local planning
Local roads and cycleways
Local waste collection and recycling
Wokingham Town Centre redevelopment
Local schools
Caring for local people

These are all matters handled by Wokingham Borough Council. It would be courtesy to Councillors to ask them, as they are responsbile for these matters. They will have more detailed information available than I do. They also have access through their officers to the information of the whole Council.

Others write about a number of issues in poorer and developing countries. Whilst there are some things the UK government can do through aid programmes and diplomatic pressure, it is important that students understand that foreign countries usually do not welcome external interference or interventions. There are limits to what the UK government can and should do in other countries who may not live according to the style and standards we seek to uphold at home.

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2 Comments

  1. Rebecca Hanson
    Posted September 27, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    In Scotland children study democracy as part of their modern studies curriculum. Children go on trips to the Scottish Parliament to see how it works.

    I think it’s tragic we do nothing coherent.
    I’d like to see primary children meeting their local councillors and learning about what they do, secondary children engaging with county council issues in geography and learning about democracy at that level and MPs taking 6th for assemblies in all their local secondaries (every two years so each child meets them). There should be an agreed cross party format and resources MPs should use before they take questions.

    I sit on the committee of my local civic trust and we’ve just contacted our local secondary to see if any of their 6th formers would like support with locally based EPQs examining local infrastructure issues. For those who don’t know EPQs are Extended Project Qualifications equivalent to an AS which 6th formers complete with great autonomy over their two years on topics which will enhance their understanding of their subjects studied. From what I’ve seen the benefits to students of doing them are wonderful and the quality of work done inspirational.

    Reply Some schools do these things. I go annually to one of my local secondaries who want me to talk about the role of an MP. I was asked to teach a 6th form economics lesson on the Euro some years ago in another secondary school. I am regularly invited to give a guest lecture by one or another fee paying school.

  2. Mike Stallard
    Posted September 28, 2012 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    I think actually that this is a very generous offer to schools. Not everyone is able to stand by what they say in public and not everyone is able to be as open to what must quite often seem to be really lazy and, yes, insolent, requests.
    Actually visiting schools by an MP is a really good thing, so well done on that one too!

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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