Right Steps & Poui Trees

How Often Did Your MP Attend Parliament in 2017 – 2018? Do You Care?

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Last week Thursday (February 15, 2018) saw the Ceremonial Opening of Parliament for the new Parliamentary year, with all the attendant pageantry. Opening of Parliament 2018 - Gordon House

This included the usual walk on Duke Street by Government and Opposition Members of Parliament, as they entered Gordon House for the first time for the 2018 – 2019 Parliamentary year.

The new year is always a good time to reflect on the performance of Parliament and its members in the past year. One easily tallied and basic marker is attendance. This is a very limited marker admittedly. It indicates nothing about other basic markers such as punctuality or length of stay at each sitting; it doesn’t indicate participation in debates or voting record. It doesn’t indicate whether or not MPs attended meetings of any Committees they were members of and whether they contributed anything useful during those meetings. There are many other aspects to an MP’s performance in Parliament. But attendance is a good starting point. So as I have for the past two years, I have compiled the attendance record for MPs and posted them on my blog.

TABLE SHOWING COMPILED ATTENDANCE RECORD FOR MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT 2017 – 2018 (link to pdf document)

2017-2018 Attendance in Parliament a2017-2018 Attendance in Parliament b

You can also access the actual records I got from Parliament, from which I compiled my table: Attendance Record of Members of Parliament for Period February 9, 2017 – February 13, 2018

There were 47 sittings of the House of Representatives in 2017 – 2018, including the Ceremonial Opening and the special sitting to honour retiring MP and former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller. This is an increase over the 41 sittings in 2016 – 2017, though that was a shorter year, beginning in March 2016 after the General Election that February. Four MPs attended all 47 sittings – Dave Hume Brown, Delroy Chuck, Morais Guy and Franklin Witter. It is interesting to note that MP Ian Hayles, who had the worst attendance record last year (having attended only 19 of the 41 sittings), improved his record this year, having attended 36 of the 47 sittings. And despite the requirement in 81(1) of the Standing Orders for the House of Representatives that MPs give apologies for their absences, very few seem to do so, according to these records.

81. Absence of Members – (1) Any member who is prevented from attending a meeting of the House shall acquaint the Speaker as early as possible of his inability to attend, such notices to be in writing.

Do you care, however, if your MP attends Parliament? Or do you think it doesn’t much matter? One way or the other, you can – if you want to – check to see what their record was for last year.

Related Posts

How Often Did Your MP Attend Parliament in 2016 – 2017?

How Many Times Did Your MP Attend Parliament in 2015?

 

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Author: rightpouitree

Navigating the real and virtual worlds and sometimes writing about what I observe...

12 thoughts on “How Often Did Your MP Attend Parliament in 2017 – 2018? Do You Care?

  1. Are they paid or should i rather state the question do they receive a stipend for attending?Frankly some will do anything beside visit their constituents or the constituency office….i really would like my MP to attend stay awake stay aware and relate through the constituency pipe line what the plans are for my community..

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    • You ask an interesting question…whether MPs receive a stipend for attendiing. I can’t give a definitive answer. We know they get a salary as an MP. The same section of the Standing Orders I mention in my post talks about circumstances in which stipends are withheld if MPs don’t give reasons for non-attendance. Another interesting question would be how much the stipend for attendance actually is. And it is a useful discussion for constituents to have…what do I want from my MP? Also worthwhile would be a job description for MPs…what exactly it is that they should be expected to do…

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      • Hi Sue and Saint Hill…. I can’t say I am certain but I don’t think they get any additional fund outside of their salary. Its considered a part of the job. (Still waiting on the Prime Minister’s campaign promise to provide a job description for MPs) But I did ask the Parliamentary Clerk last December if they are given any extra fund for ADDITIONAL work for sitting on Committees for eg PAC or PAAC but she said no. They are not paid extra. So I am assuming if they don’t get paid to work on parliamentary committees I suspect they are not for the general sittings. Gonna double check and letcha know.

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      • Jeanette, thanks for your comments on this. I will be interested in any further info you find. Have a look at 81(4) – (6) in the Standing Orders, which speaks to a subsistence allowance paid for attendance in Parliament. 81(4) says “Members shall be paid subsistence allowance at approved rates for their actual attendance at meetings of the House.” (5) & (6) mention circumstances in which they are deemed absent and would not receive the allowance. Interesting to find out more. I assume the allowance isn’t a vast sum, but it would be interesting to know what it is and if it is indeed paid. But that doesn’t sound as though it applies to committee meetings…

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  2. Susan truly grateful for this. It would help me alot to know how long it took you to get a response from the Parliament. You know the first thing I was planning to scroll for is Ian Hayles as I can’t forget the memorable record from last year. I then saw that you mentioned in the body of the blog 🙂 Woman after mi ownah heart. And glad to see the improvement….can’t see how it could have gotten worse though.

    Regarding the apologies….in writing…I dunno I might have been okay with any way of communicating it BUT in these days of email and whatsapp and texting any chance that could be an “in writing” option.? But I guess it’s hard to document if it comes in whatsapp or text. But anyway it can’t be that hard.

    My main issue is that if a rule is not being honoured then what’s the point of it? But they take such care to record and report on it that one would think it matters to the House. Hmmmm

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    • Jeanette, I have had positive experiences generally with getting info from Parliament. This year I requested the attendance records on a Thursday & got them the following Monday. The past two years, I made my first request in December, got the records in a short time and then asked for subsequent periods afterwards. This time, I waited till the Parliamentary year had ended and then made the request, and got the full year’s record all in one. I also get the records for the Senate, but have never done anything similar with tallying and posting them.
      My impression is that the record is kept up to date at Parliament, given how quickly they have been provided.
      I agree that the “in writing” aspect of providing apologies could be done via email, but you know that the Parliamentary changes have a time and a format, so who knows?! I also agree that if a rule isn’t being honoured, they should change it.

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  3. Reblogged this on Petchary's Blog and commented:
    Yes, I do care – and my Member of Parliament has a reasonable record. I note that the highest number of absences are among Opposition members. Also, why are so many absences without apology? I think perhaps MPs should remember who put them in the House, and make more effort. Messrs Kellier, Campbell and Buchanan… Please try to do better this year! For the sake of your constituents.

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