Valerie chairs Westminster seminar on the ‘Role of an MP’

On Tuesday 1 December I chaired a session on the Role of an MP as part of the annual Westminster Seminar, CPA UK’s flagship capacity-building programme for first-term parliamentarians and newly appointed procedural/committee Clerks from across the Commonwealth. The programme provides a unique, international platform for its participants to meet their counterparts and explore parliamentary democracy, practice and procedure within a Westminster framework, and share experiences and challenges faced in their parliamentary work.


This years 64th Westminster Seminar was attended by 46 parliamentarians and 22 clerks from 32 legislatures from across the commonwealth. During the five-day programme, participants discussed a wide range of issues related to parliamentary practice and procedure, with sessions ranging from ‘What Gives Parliament its Power’ to ‘Devolution and Dispersed Parliaments’ and ‘The Role of the Media’. Delegates also saw Parliament in action with visits to the House of Commons, House of Lords and Committees.


The Westminster seminar which I presided over discussed how MPs balance their various commitments and prioritise their time between their constituencies, Westminster and other political and personal pressures. The session also discussed the relationship between the party and the MP, the difference between a list MP and a constituency MP and how the role of a backbencher differs from that of a frontbencher.