On my first day of work experience, I was met outside the Houses of Parliament by Juliet, a member of Claire’s team. I was then taken up to the office where I was warmly welcomed by Claire and the rest of the team. This instantly made me feel like part of the team.
I was given my first task of opening the post that Claire had received, which became my first task of each morning. This was an insightful first task to have, as I was able to see what items Claire receives in the post but also how to sort and register these items.
I then was given the chance to watch Prime Minister’s Question from up in the public gallery which was an incredible experience. It was amazing to see something I had watched on TV many times unfolding out in front of me. I was able to see how the chamber worked in full and I also had the pleasure of seeing multiple politicians speak.
After returning from PMQs, I got to work on my next task of reading through casework, which contained issues raised by constituents, and I was able to draft up a response to multiple. This was a great task, as it gave me a look into what the constituency office did on a day-to-day basis.
In the afternoon, I began to study parliamentary briefs and how the team help Claire to prepare for any debates or statements in Parliament. I was given fantastic examples to look at that the team had written before, and I got the chance to write my own brief for a Private Members’ Bill that was in its final stages in the House of Commons. I really enjoyed this task as I got to heavily research the context behind the Bill and then use this to write speaking points that could be made during the reading.
On my final day, I was taken on a tour through the Houses of Parliament, which included going up to the terrace and the roof of the Palace of Westminster where I was met with breathtaking views. The tour was astonishing as I got to chance to see parts of Parliament that the public may not get the chance to view, so I was able to really see the true behind-the-scenes workings of our democracy.
After the tour, I was given a crash course in speechwriting by Jack from Claire's team, who attended specialist training with Simon Lancaster, one of the world’s top speechwriters. I found this so fascinating as I was able to see how certain key speeches had been articulated and had the opportunity to use one of the steps to write my own short snippet of a speech.
I was also able to have a chat with Claire about her work in Parliament and the work she did before becoming an MP. It was great to have this insight, especially as I move forward out of my third year of university and start looking towards the future.
I would like to thank Claire and the team - Juliet, Jack, and Matt - for accommodating me throughout the week. It was a busy time in Parliament, but they were still able to welcome me and make me feel part of the team.
I really learnt a great deal from this experience and have received a true insight into the hard work that goes on behind the scenes. I've loved every second.