- What is an MP?
- What is the role of an MP?
- What does a Member of Parliament actually do?
- So what sort of issues do you help people with?
- Where can I find out more information about how Parliament works?
- How can I contact Alun?
- Can Alun help me even if I do not live in his constituency?
- How can I invite Alun to an event I am holding?
- How can I find out how Alun has voted?
- How does my MP deal with my problem?
- What else can my MP do?
What is an MP?
The House of Commons is made up of 650 Members of Parliament (MPs), each representing one constituency.
The MP representing the Vale of Glamorgan is Alun Cairns.
What is the role of an MP?
Alun’s role as an MP is to represent his constituents at Westminster, regardless of whether or not they voted for him.
Members of Parliament can only deal with issues raised by their own constituents.
What does a Member of Parliament actually do?
For an MP, no two days are ever the same.
When Parliament is sitting, Alun generally spends Monday to Thursday in Westminster on Parliamentary business. (During recess, most of his time is spent in the constituency, apart from occasional trips to London for important meetings).
Usually Fridays and weekends are spent visiting people and places within the Vale of Glamorgan. Alun holds regular surgeries, in a variety of locations across the constituency. Much of his time is taken up with casework, helping local people with any issues or problems they may have.
When in Westminster, Alun is working on behalf of constituents, taking part in vital votes that help shape the laws of this country as well as speaking in debates and asking Parliamentary questions. He receives a huge number of letters and emails each week from constituents raising policy issues, which all receive a response. His work often involves writing to Ministers on behalf of constituents, or he will research an issue for them, with help from his team, Charles, Catrin and Linda.
Alun also frequently meets with various campaign groups to learn more about their work.
So what sort of issues do you help people with?
People contact the constituency office every day with a range of problems – some personal, where people are seeking advice and support, and some with a wider impact on the local community.
The individual casework involves things like housing, help with benefits and tax credits, Child Support Agency queries or issues with local agencies. Alun is often approached by groups of residents or local organisations for support, for example, in opposing planning applications or lobbying for better broadband provision.
Where can I find out more information about how Parliament works?
Why not take a look at the excellent ‘About Parliament’ pages here.
A 360 virtual tour of Parliament and the Clock Tower of Big Ben is now available here.
How can I contact Alun?
The Contact page of this website has a full list of contact details.
Can Alun help me even if I do not live in his constituency?
There is a strict parliamentary protocol which dictates that MPs may only represent their constituents on personal matters. However if you have a policy-related concern, Alun may be able to write to you.
How can I invite Alun to an event I am holding?
You can either send an invitation in the post or via email (see the Contact page for addresses). Please note, written information is required for an invitation to be considered.
How can I find out how Alun has voted?
The website Public Whip is a good way of seeing how each MP and Lord/Baroness has voted. Alun’s record can be found here.
How does my MP deal with my problem?
Some of the ways Alun may deal with problems of his constituents would be:
- A letter to the relevant department or official
- A letter to the Minister involved
- Making an appointment to see the Minister personally
Many problems (but not all) can be solved in this way. The Minister may not be able to give the answer you want to hear but if the decision has been made in the correct way there may be little that he can do.
What else can my MP do?
All the methods noted in the responses above allow your problems to be kept confidential. If Alun is not satisfied with the answers he receives he may raise the issue in the House of Commons in front of the public and press. This can be done through:
Oral / written questions
Ministers answer questions from MPs at the Dispatch Box during Departmental Question Time but there is a limit to the number of questions that can be asked. Alun may also table a written question to the relevant Government department, the answers to which are published in Hansard and can be viewed on this here.
Alun may be able to raise your problem in a half-hour Adjournment Debate which is usually the last business of the day, although to raise a matter, he must be successful in a ballot or have the subject chosen by the Speaker.
Westminster Hall Debates
A Westminster Hall debate is similar to an adjournment debate but does not take place in the main chamber but in a large committee room. The seating plan is a horseshoe arrangement and therefore less confrontational than the main chamber. A Deputy Speaker presides over proceedings and no votes take place.
Private Member’s Bill
If Alun becomes aware that your problem is a common one he may try to introduce a Private Member’s Bill which is a Bill put forward by an individual MP, as opposed to a Government Minister. Only a small number of Private Member’s Bills are successful but publicity is drawn to the issue and the Minister may be persuaded to make changes in the future.
If you and other people feel very strongly about a certain issue you may decide to organise a petition to the House of Commons. Your petition can only be presented by Alun as your MP and must be arranged in a particular format.
You can obtain advice on petitions by writing to:
Clerk of Public Petitions
House of Commons