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John Howell MP Writes - March 2016

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A look back at recent key issues in Westminster and the Constituency.

Last month my newsletter explained more of the role of an MP particularly in relation to the work in Westminster and the Constituency. I mentioned that MPs divide their time between working in Parliament or representing parliament elsewhere and working in their constituency. This month I will expand a little on the part of the role that involves representing parliament elsewhere.

In many cases it is the Government that attends key international meetings. In addition to this there are times when other MPs represent the Government and also many different ways in which British MPs across the political parties represent our views. The underlying purpose for all of this work is to ensure that British interests are represented and that we play our part in global issues.

The negotiations with the EU and representation at the Paris Climate Change Conference are two recent examples of the Prime Minister working abroad. Last autumn the Chancellor spent time in China seeking to strengthen UK-China relations which was a concerted effort to strengthen ties with the one of the world’s largest economies. Beyond these very public meetings many MPs are also engaged in international affairs.

For my part I am part of the UK delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). This delegation is made up of representatives of different political parties. It debates current social problems and aspects of international politics and makes recommendations to governments for action. One of its key roles is to appoint judges to the International Court of Human Rights. PACE meets for a week four times a year in Strasbourg.

Another example of international work is that of Trade Envoys. These are a network of MPs appointed by the Prime Minster from across the political spectrum. Trade Envoys engage with emerging markets where UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) has identified substantial opportunities to promote British trade and investment. The work supports the drive for economic growth by building relations with these markets and generating long term benefits for the UK. There are currently 24 Trade Envoys covering around 50 markets. I have been appointed as the Prime Minsters Trade Envoy to Nigeria which is the largest market in Africa. This will involve working with UKTI in the UK and in Nigeria working to ensure that the Government is on track to develop policies to grow their own economy and to promote two-way investment with the UK.

There are many different roles that MPs undertake on behalf of the government and, as mentioned, many are cross party. All of the work contributes to the whole in making sure that British interests are represented on the world stage in a whole variety of ways. In fulfilling these roles MPs are working for everyone in the UK. This work augments the work in Parliament and has to be worked into the overall schedule of work in Westminster and in the constituency.

Further details of the work of Parliament including this international work is available on the parliament website at www.parliament.uk.

If you would like to receive more information on my work I send out a regular general e-newsletter and also special briefings on an occasional basis on specific issues. If you would like to be on my circulation list for these bulletins please email me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .