Investigation finds changes to MPs work life amidst the Coronavirus pandemic

A Leeds Now investigation finds that MPs are having to alter their work life to combat the issues posed by Covid-19 in Yorkshire.

An MP in Yorkshire has stated that ”every day is like a school day” as constituency leaders continue to deal with the effects of Covid-19.

Leeds Now investigated certain changes to MPs work life amidst the coronavirus pandemic, looking at patterns in the number of debates attended and the number of questions submitted.

How have Q+A submissions been affected during the pandemic?

One shift our data was able to show was the increase in MP questions submitted to parliament. The majority of Yorkshire MPs have seen a substantial rise in questions submitted since the beginning of the pandemic in March, with some increases as high as 962 submissions.

Jason McCartney, MP for Colne Valley, has said that ”my work has shifted from casework I was used to, to something no MP has ever had to experience – supporting constituents through a global pandemic”.

2018/19 written Q+A submissions2019/20 written Q+A submissionsOverall change
5,7287,328Increase by 1600
A table showing the overall change in Q+A submissions by MPs – Brett Poskett

A Leeds Now investigation showed that Yorkshire MPs have written 1600 more questions to parliament in 2020 than what they did in 2019. The effects of Covid-19 have made it increasingly difficult to attend parliament meaning MPs have submitted questions online from their constituencies.

These five MPs ranked highest for increases in questions submitted to parliament in 2020 compared to the 2019 total, all data correct up until 30th of November 2020 – Brett Poskett

Rachel Maskell, MP for York Central, stated ”In York, we have seen a significant increase in casework as a result of Covid-19, this had to start in January as the city had the first case in the country”.

Rachel Maskell, who is LeedsNow’s most active MP based off all constituencies three years running, has one of the biggest increases of questions submitted to parliament, with 546 more than the previous year.

She then goes onto claim ”I will do all I can in Westminister to effect change” and claims this has been done through working closely with her constituents and submitting questions to parliament as it has been difficult to attend debates due to restrictions.

How have debate attendances in parliament been affected during the pandemic?

As previously stated, Government restrictions have made it difficult to attend debates in parliament in 2020.

A Leeds Now investigation has shown that attendances have fallen amongst MPs in Yorkshire when compared to previous year figures.

Debates attended 2018/19Debates attended 2019/20Overall change
5,0334,917Decrease by 116
A table showing the number of debates attended by Yorkshire MP’s – Brett Poskett

Leeds Now journalists gathered data from all MPs in Yorkshire and this shows a decrease of 116 debates attended by MPs across the county.

These five MPs had the largest drop in parliamentary debates attended in 2020, all information correct up until 30th November 2020 – Brett Poskett

Rachel Maskell also has one of the largest decreases in debates attended in 2019/2020, with a drop of 151 compared to previous year figures.

Rachel Maskell has stated she has continued to work tirelessly in 2020, despite the number of attended debates decreasing. The MP for York Central cites various reasons for this where she explains ”I have carried out a number of inquiries over this period, not least into funerals during Covid-19, getting the regulations changed in care homes and working to enable visits, as well as working tirelessly with public health officials and other agencies on reducing the infection rate in York”.

This highlights a change in the way MPs are working, as debate attendances are decreasing and Q+A submissions are increasing.

About the Author

Brett Poskett & Vidit Mitra
Brett Poskett - A second year journalism student at Leeds Beckett University Vidit Mitra - A second year journalism student at Leeds Beckett University

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