They speak for you – but how loud are Calderdale MP's voices in Parliament?

Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker and halifax MP Holly Lynch
Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker and halifax MP Holly Lynch

They are paid to be your voice in Parliament - and it seems Calderdale's MP’s aren’t afraid to make theirs heard.

A new analysis of parliamentary performance of West Yorkshire MP’s by the Courier has revealed that Craig Whittaker (Con, Calder Valley) and Holly Lynch (Lab, Halifax) are outperforming most of their regional contemporaries when it comes to the number of times they have spoken in debates, received written answers to questions and voted in the House of Commons in the past 12 months.

Mr Whittaker spoke in 12 debates in the last 12 months, according to the They Work For You website, well below the average among MP’s.

But he has voted in 94.19 per cent of votes, well above the average.

He has received answers to 31 written questions in the last year, average among MPs.

“I was promoted to the ministerial position of assistant whip in June after the General Election. This position, as is the case for all whips, precludes me from speaking in the Chamber,” he said.

“However it does give me unfettered access to other ministers and secretaries of state with whom I often discuss issues affecting the Calder Valley. The same applies to Parliamentary written questions to ministers which government whips do not by protocol submit.”

Ms Lynch has spoken in 29 debates in the last year, about average among MPs. She has voted in 88.33 per cent of votes, which is above the average.

She has received answers to 71 written questions in the last year, above average among MPs.

Ms Lynch has taken part in Parliamentary debates about protecting emergency service personnel from attacks by members of the public and opposing court closures over the last 12 months.

“I am glad that these figures highlight some of my work representing Halifax in Parliament,” she sad.

“Much of my job takes place outside Westminster and involves meeting with local organisations and dealing with thousands of pieces of casework.

“Into the New Year I will be continuing my focus on defending our vital public services, promoting our town, and holding the Government to account through my position as Labour’s shadow minister for flooding.”

The figures may be skewed if an MP holds a cabinet or shadow cabinet position, or is a whip or select committee chair, which means they could be restricted from taking part in some votes or debates.

Dr Ruth Fox, from the Hansard Society, said: “Speaking or asking questions in the House of Commons is just one aspect of an MP’s complex role and is heavily dependent on their position in the House.

“For example, if they get a frontbench job, a minister or their equivalent in the official opposition can’t just take part in any debate that interests them, only those that concern their policy brief.”

Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett, who is Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office, said his department is not one of those subject to many debates.

However he stressed that he and other MPs work extremely hard in their constituencies, and he has an “open door policy” and 330 live cases at the moment.

“When you are wanting to project ideas there are other ways to do it,” he said of his proclivity for asking questions instead.

However he stressed it was “not a competition”.

Morley MP Andrea Jenkyns said: “Due to being on maternity leave in the constituency some of my participation statistics in Westminster are not where I would like them to be, but because of my circumstances, I made the decision to place more of an emphasis on my crucial constituency work, which can help people when they are at their most vulnerable. This year I have still worked with hundreds of constituents on 1,403 cases.

“I have also made sure I attend vital Brexit votes, such as triggering Article 50 and passing the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill in Parliament.”

Leeds North East MP Fabian Hamilton said: “Modern politics is not just about making speeches in the House of Commons – it is about casework and engaging with your local constituency and local people at home.

“This is why I, with the help of my office, have dealt with thousands of cases in Leeds North East during this year.”