The last few weeks of parliament before recess are extremely busy. All business must be concluded before recess or it falls. Debates get rescheduled, urgent questions become even more urgent and the day get even longer to squeeze in all the work. And there is a flat in London to get in order before leaving it for the summer. Bedding needs washed and dried, the kitchen needs cleaned and emptied and, if I am very organised, I will get all my ironing up to date.
So by the time we stagger into recess MP’s are rapidly approaching exhaustion. The bad news for me is that recess is not holidays. The six weeks that coincide with the English school holidays are time spent working in my constituency. The Scottish MPs often ask if recess can be adjusted to accommodate the Scottish school holidays as many MPs have school aged children but that is not going to happen. During the time I spent at Westminster I am very fortunate to have a great team working in Inverclyde. My challenge during recess is to slip seamlessly into that team and help them continue in their good work.
MPs with constituencies that cover large geographic areas often take the opportunity to go on a tour around the highways and byways, visiting the small villages and hamlets that may not have been visited during the rest of the year. Fortunately for me Inverclyde is compact and I do not need to go on the road. Instead I get the opportunity to sleep in my own bed for more than three nights in a row. I use recess to visit as many local businesses and organisations as I can. It’s an opportunity to catch up with folk and hear their issues. Working with my team, day in day out, allows us to take on projects with more continuity than the rest of the year affords. This year we are focusing on regeneration and as I write this, in the week before recess, there are multiple meetings in my diary on that topic. So business continues, too often it drags me away from home but when I am there I attempt to utilise every conceivable moment in as constructive a fashion as possible. Inverclyde deserves nothing less.
But it’s not all work and I look forward to being able to visit my favourite eateries more frequently, catch a few more Morton games and enjoy my constituency. We all know the old adage ‘absence makes the hear grow fonder’ and I cherish the sunsets and sunrises, the wind, the rain and the rolling clouds that epitomises Inverclyde. I shall take the opportunity to nip over to Millport and relive my childhoods summer holidays and if I have time I may even make it up to Portmahomack where I have not been since 1966. This time I will not be watching England winning the World Cup.