Southampton MP is the Least Active in Parliament

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Tory MP for Southampton Itchen, Royston Smith, is the least active among all of Parliament’s new members.

 

Of the 177 MPs were elected for the first time in May, Royston Smith was the has been the least active according to a report in the Independent on Sunday yesterday. 

Royston Smith is the MP for Southampton Itchen – the constituency which contains Mayflower and Gately Halls, as well as Solent University. In the eight months since being elected, he has only made five speeches in Parliament and asked two questions.

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Image by Sam Bailey

Speaking to the Independent on Sunday, Mr Smith said:-

Being bottom of the list is not ideal, but I wouldn’t want to neglect my constituents just to push myself up the rankings.

You can’t just get up whenever you want in the House of Commons. In order to speak, you must first write to the Speaker and inform him (or her) you would like to catch his eye. You then need to sit throughout the debate, bobbing up and down, in the hope you will get called.

I have surgeries every week, often twice a week, and they are still full. I was expecting it to tail off. If and when it does, I will spend more time on the things that interest me and perhaps spend more time sitting in the Chamber in the hope of catching the Speaker’s eye.

Many constituents have taken to Twitter to show their disappointment, which Smith simply replied he was “having a Sprinkles”.

 

In contrast to Smith, Labour’s Louise Haigh MP for Sheffield Heeley has been the most active of newly elected politicians, making 90 speeches and asking 471 parliamentary questions.

Smith has also responded on Facebook, saying

The reason I am bringing the story in today’s newspaper to your attention is because I think it is important that you, the people I represent, get the chance to decide for yourselves.

If you would prefer me to spend my time in the House of Commons Chamber rather than focussing on my constituents locally, I am more than happy to oblige. It is, after all, a very enjoyable place to be.

The reality is simple. I can’t do everything. I could have a higher profile in the Houses of Parliament and in the media, or I could continue to work hard for those who have elected me.

As always, I am very happy to discuss this, and hear your view about this.

Southampton Itchen is a marginal seat which takes its name from the Itchen River to the east. In 2015 General Election it became a key battleground due to it being bellwether seat, and ultramarginal. The seat was held by former Southampton student and SUSU President John Denham from 1992 to 2015. However, Smith won against Labour’s Rowena Davis following Denham’s retirement.

Despite only being elected in May, Smith has been a big name in Southampton politics for decades – serving on  Southampton City Council since 2000.

Feature image by Seb Steele. 

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Editor 2015-16. Politics Editor 2014-15. Third year Politics and Economics student, I've written for every section but primarily write politics, opinion and news pieces. I also write for The Edge, Kettle Mag, The National Student, The Student Times and the Independent and do lots of work with Surge Radio.

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