This is because of summer recess, the period when parliaments shut down for the school holidays. In Westminster, this reflects the English school break of mid-July to the start of September. It’s a holiday from political debate on the Green Benches, from Bill Committees, from Select Committee business and from the weekly commute to and, the much more enjoyable commute from, London.
What this allows is my favourite part of this exceptional job that I am forever privileged to have been asked to do – constituency work. For me, the constituency comes first every time and casework in particular is the principal measure by which I judge how things are going in the constituency. That’s why I am pleased to have, in three years and nine months, assisted Angus constituents with over 10,000 separate enquiries.
So, what changes during recess? Well, I continue to focus unabated on supporting my constituents looking for assistance, but I also have the opportunity to visit far more local businesses, organisations and charities doing amazing things in and for our communities, whereas when parliament is in session these visits are confined to Fridays.
So far, I have hosted our SNP Leader Stephen Flynn MP on a visit to Montrose Port, and the Caledonian Railway before a Q&A session in Brechin City Hall; I have met with or visited: Under One Rainbow & Spotlights, Don & Low Textiles, Hillcrest Futures, Wiltshire Farm Foods, Go Fibre Broadband to discuss their plans in Angus, and Angus Independent Advocacy. I have knocked on constituents’ doors in Finavon and Seaton Estate, held surgeries in Carmyllie, Auchmithie, Tannadice and Guthrie, sponsored a fair providing support for people aged 50+ in Arbroath, and caught up meeting with the Chief Executive of Angus Council. I am nevertheless pleased though that once I have finished this article, I will be taking some time off with my wife and trying hard to stay away from the emails for a couple of weeks. That will be a holiday!