Created: 18 May 2010
The first month at Westminster passed in a rush as the induction sessions were run and the various tasks carried out to set up shop were undertaken. Bob Blackman commented “The only way to compare arriving at Westminster is like the first day at University or setting up a small business from scratch. There is no office, no staff to help and a mountain of correspondence awaiting you!”
On Monday, the day was spent doing the necessary bureaucracy such as signing forms, obtaining security passes, a laptop, blackberry and being briefed on security. After being presented with a sack full of correspondence and the only facility being a hot desk and a small locker to store papers! The main problem being that the sack full of mail arrived each day with no office or desk to sort or store the post.
During the evening, we had the first Conservative Parliamentary Party Meeting with discussion centring on the progress of negotiations with the Liberal Democrats.
On Tuesday, the Conservative Party Whips ran a series of induction sessions covering the work of the Commons, external organisations that can help such as Citizens Advice Bureau, software for keeping a check on casework, the various Government Departments and the expense system.
In the evening, a reception was held for spouses of MPs and rumours spread about imminent announcements. The reception erupted on the announcement that Gordon Brown had resigned and David Cameron had been called to Buckingham Palace. A late night Conservative Parliamentary Party Meeting greeted David Cameron as Prime Minister. Bob Blackman commented, “The whole day was exciting with rumours spreading about the new arrangements with an eventual announcement of the new coalition Government.”
On Wednesday, we had our all party briefing in the House of Commons Chamber and the photo below is of all the new MPs in Westminster Hall.
Later that day, a thank you celebration was held for the various helpers in the Harrow East constituency.
Induction sessions continued to ensure that we were all brought up to speed with information required. On Tuesday 18th May, the Speaker was re-elected. Bob Blackman was fortunate to be sitting just behind Sir Malcolm Rifkind, who proposed that John Bercow be re-elected.
On Wednesday 19th May, Bob Blackman was formally sworn in as an MP, swearing the oath of allegiance to the Queen on the Bible.
On Tuesday 25th May was the State Opening of Parliament. An event of historic importance and celebrated with due pomp and circumstance. The first opportunity for the Prime Minister to address the new Parliament.