The constituency work of MPs has increased enormously decade by decade over the past half-century. That is clear from the reported experience of MPs and of various surveys. However, getting hard data is not always easy, especially on the different forms of communications received by Members. I was therefore very interested in the figures given by Craig Whittaker, the new MP for Calder Valley, in his written submission to the Joint Committee on the Draft House of Lords Reform Bill, in which he writes:
“My experience shows that in my 10 months (full financial year) of Parliament as an MP, my office dealt with over 39,400 pieces of communication (c24,000 emails, 9,600 letters, and 4,800 telephone calls) as well as 2,183 constituents’ cases.”
This is valuable information, not least for showing the extent to which MPs’ offices are now inundated by e-mails. We have data on the number of letters received in the Palace of Westminster each year, but not on the number of e-mails received by Members. Electronic communication is growing and there is an issue as to whether MPs’ resources are such as to be able to cope. In the present environment, seeking additional resources for parliamentarians is not likely to be politically feasible.