Several categories such as responsiveness, constituency mentions in parliament and rebellion were used in order to calculate the overall level of MP’s activity in the past year. Particularly, for each of the categories MPs were given a score based on their ranking. Their overall level of activity was calculated by combining the scores from each category.
Analysis of the data revealed several significant differences. Activity of MPs who had been in office for longer periods largely differed to those who were newer to the office.
The majority of MPs who have been in office for less than ten years appeared to have a higher activity average than those over ten years. However, the fact that MPs who have been in office for longer are more likely to have additional roles within parliament may influence these results. The reason being that roles such as chairmen, shadow ministers or whips are frequently given to the more experienced MPs.
Presuming the additional roles take up time in other areas, the average activity score of MPs with other roles could be affected. For example, shadow ministers may be more active due to them representing more than their constituency, speaking about various issues within parliament. For example, a shadow minister of health will engage in any activity related to health, representing the opposition.
Whereas, a chairman or member of a select committee may be more active outside of parliament. Working abroad or gathering evidence from the public and organisations outside of parliament could reduce their average activity score.
The data used to create the above graph revealed a consistent pattern in written Q&A responses. A gradual increase in responses was evident from newer to older MPs.
Higher activity in many areas is present across the data, suggesting that MPs learn the most effective ways to communicate with their constituencies over time in office. Building direct relationships with the constituents via question and answer responses appears to be a common practice, with Q&A responses being more frequent with the more experienced MPs.
The split categories in the data made room for calculating top and bottom performers in certain areas of activity. Sorting each column from lowest to highest made it possible to dissect the data and reveal details of the MP’s activity.
For example, the following graph shows the top 10 MPs who mentioned their constituency name the most in parliament.
Top 10 MPs of constituency mentions in parliament
This graph enables comparison between the MPs. For example, Rachel Maskell of York Central mentioned her constituency 137 times in parliament last year, compared with Clive Betts of Sheffield South East’s 27.
The data provides an insight into the specifics of MPs who represent thousands of people, allowing the constituents to learn about their MP in areas that may not be highlighted outside of a study of this nature.
By Chris Nicholls