Disclaimer: The contents of the following article are entirely fictitious and were written to meet the criteria of an Journalism AS module.
What does it mean to be an MP? And what work they actually do, besides bicker and holler during endless sessions at the House of Commons? Janet Greenfield, MP for Leicester, is on hand to answer your questions.
Compass: You’re an MP. What does that mean?
Janet Greenfield: Well, it means that as Leicester’s elected Minster of Parliament, my job’s to be their voice in government decisions which could heavily influence their daily lives.
C: What compelled you to campaign to become an MP for the Labour party?
JG: After college , I worked as a nurse at Leicester’s Glenfield hospital and was appalled by the conditions experienced by both patient and medical practitioner. Since I had some political experience at a college debater’s club, I decided in 2008 to organise a campaign to improve the conditions of Leicester hospitals. Labour supported me, and I decided that their polices were practically bespoke to my beliefs.
C: How successful has your campaign been?
JG: I’ve made a good start with reducing MRSA cases. There’s still important work left to do, such as expand the number of available beds.
C: The Leicester election was incredibly close. How did it feel when you learnt that for the next five years you would representing Leicester?
JG: I was ecstatic for the first five seconds before feeling unbearably inadequate. Looking after a family of four was difficult enough. Now I was accountable for the welfare of 300,000 citizens. How could I ever be good enough?
C: But you overcame those anxieties?
JG: Eventually, yes, but no without difficulty. Luckily, I have a great team to help me serve Leicester as well as humanly possible.
C: You obviously had to get into the swing of things pretty swiftly. Could you briefly describe your daily working routine?
JG: I’m afraid there’s nothing routine about this job! When I’m not at Parliament, I’m probably walking somewhere in Leicester, frankly because I believe that talking to a person reveals more about them than any statistical study.
C: When would you need to attend a session at the House of Commons?
JG: Whenever you can, if you ask me. You owe it to your constituents. They pay your wages and your exorbitant travel fees. The very least you can do is your actual job.
C: Many members of the public would say that these Parliamentary sessions are often pointless. What would you say to that?
JG: That I’m not surprised they receive such an unflattering impression watching Newsnight. Our government often squabbles as if Parliament was another Eaton common room. However, I think the shockwaves from last year’s election are introducing a new efficiency to Parliament.
C: What advice would you give to any readers considering a career in party politics?
JG: Politics in its purest form is about people helping people. I’d encourage anyone interested in politics to take that to heart, because if you’re in it for any other reason you might as well give up now.