What is an MP?

In the UK, citizens elect other citizens to represent their views and make decisions about how the country should be governed. This is called representative democracy as it isn’t practical for every single person in the country to have a say on every decision that is made.

The people that citizens elect are called MPs, which is short for Members of Parliament. They win their place in the Parliament by winning an election in an area of the country called a constituency – the citizens who voted for them are called constituents.

MPs are usually members of a Political Party and must balance the various areas of their role. In the Parliament, this includes representing constituents, supporting the goals of their party whether in government or in opposition and working on issues that are important to them personally. MPs also split their time between working in Parliament to attend activities like voting and taking part in debates and in their constituency. Constituency casework is one of the most important areas of an MP’s role – a constituent approaches their MP with a personal issue and the MP attempts to resolve it. Constituency work takes up over half of the time of the average MP, according to Hansard.

Did you know? You can use the TheyWorkForYou.com and the Parliament.uk website to find out exactly how your MP has voted in debates.

Contacting your MP

You can contact your MP for a number of reasons whether it is for a personal constituency case, lobbying them on an issue that they are due to vote on or asking them about their work in government or opposition.

MPs are only able to help with matters for which the Parliament is responsible for. If you live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland then members of your national parliament have to be contacted on devolved issues. Your local council can sometimes be a more appropriate organisation to contact on local issues. Find out more about Local Councils here.

MPs are able to give help or advice and can raise your issue with another politician who may be more knowledgeable on the subject you are inquiring about. There have been many instances where a constituency issue has been raised in Parliament, during both debates and even Prime Minister’s Questions.

Be patient when contacting your MP! They are very busy people and usually have around 90,000 other constituents to look after.

This video from UK Parliament gives an insight into how you can find your MP.


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