Jo has published her responses to a survey by 38 Degrees on the summer plans of Members of Parliament.
38 Degrees is a new organisations which uses online tools to bring people together around campaigns on important political issues. Their survey aims to find out how MPs are spending the 82 day summer recess.
Commenting, Jo said:
“Political engagement and involvement by the public is not only the best way to hold MPs to account, it is vital for a healthy democracy. It’s great to see 38 Degrees trying to build a movement of civic-minded people who want to create a positive political culture. Openness and transparency are a key part of that reform. During the recess I have taken a holiday to recharge my batteries – but I’ve also been continuing to knock on doors, talk to local people and visit local organisations to listen to their concerns and ideas.”
Jo’s answers to the survey appear below:
ï’§ How much time will you be spending in the following locations during the summer recess?
Constituency – 8 weeks
Westminster – 0 weeks
Elsewhere – 4 weeks
ï’§ Where else will you be spending time over the recess?
One week on holiday in Greece, one week on holiday walking in the Highlands, 5 days at party conference, possibly a 4-day fact-finding trip to Chechnya, a day trip to Auschwitz with local schoolchildren and a few days here and there for friends’ weddings, family celebrations etc.
ï’§ How many days work will you be devoting to the following areas during the summer recess?
Constituency casework 6-10 days
Research and fact-finding 6-10 days
Constituency visits and surgeries 16-20 days
Local party business and electioneering 16-20 days
National party business 6-10 days
Other Westminster business 1-5 days
ï’§ Do you have other paid work?
ï’§ Will you be doing any voluntary work during the summer?
Yes. Training for and running the Glasgow half-marathon in aid of The Pebble Appeal, a campaign to raise £10million for a new cancer research facility in my constituency. 2 days (in lots of short bursts – doubt I will run for more than 48 hours in total).
ï’§ Where are you going on holiday?
One week in Greece
One week walking in the Highlands.
ï’§ Have you got any planned holiday reading or listening you’d recommend to your constituents?
Malcolm Gladwell – Outliers
Mark Lynas – Six Degrees
Last year I read A Thousand Splendid Suns which I wholeheartedly recommend, and I also just finished Asne Seierstad’s book Angel of Grozny, in preparation for my possible trip to Chechnya, and it is also excellent. I also hope to devour several novels over the summer, titles TBC depending what takes my fancy in Oxfam.
ï’§ What are your views on the Parliamentary summer recess?
MPs need to recharge their batteries, and it is very refreshing to (mostly) get weekends off during the recess, and work a more sensible week of around 40 hours. It’s also great to be able to visit those groups and local organisations that meet on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, as this is impossible when Westminster is sitting given the distance of my constituency from Parliament. I also love the break from the constant travelling. However I have real concerns about the lack of scrutiny of the Government during the long time away from Westminster, and I would like to see two things: Parliamentary Questions answered regularly (perhaps not as quickly as usual but it shouldn’t be restricted to a few named days), and Parliament returning for a week or two in early September before the Party Conferences, so that there is only 6 weeks at any one time without Parliamentary scrutiny. Of course in emergencies Parliament should be recalled.
ï’§ If someone comes to visit your constituency this summer, what do you recommend they see and do?
1. Walk the West Highland Way, the internationally reknowned 95-mile walk which starts in Milngavie in my constituency and finishes at the foot of Ben Nevis.
2. Explore Britain’s Roman history at one of the newest UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Antonine Wall. Bearsden also has a fine example of a Roman bathhouse.
3. Visit Kirkintilloch, the Canal Capital of Scotland, which has a bustling Canal Festival on 29th & 30th August.