Frequently Asked Questions
What is the role of a Member of Parliament (MP)?
The United Kingdom is currently divided into 650 parliamentary constituencies, each of which is represented by one Member of Parliament (MP) in the House of Commons. MPs represent all of those who live in their constituency irrespective of whether or how they vote.
MPs’ duties in Parliament include participating in debates and voting on legislation and other matters. They may also be members of committees examining new laws or the work of government departments. Some have a role as a minister in government or a spokesperson in opposition.
MPs can help their constituents by advising on problems (particularly those that arise from the work of government departments), representing the concerns of their constituents in Parliament and acting as a figurehead for the local area.
MPs also act as a representative for the party in their constituency.
How can my MP help?
Within the constituency, local people can go to their MP for help and advice on a range of issues, particularly those that arise from the work of government departments. These can include: healthcare, education, taxation and tax credits, social security and pensions, citizenship, immigration and passports, student finance and policing. You can also raise any policy-related concerns with me.
As your MP, I can try to help you get advice with problems you may be experiencing with Government departments and agencies, such as the Passport Office, HMRC, DWP, Jobcentre Plus or the Child Support Agency (CSA).
I will also try to help you, where possible, to get answers from private companies, However, please be aware that they are not obliged to respond to me.
If your issue or concern relates to services provided by your local council such as litter, bin collections, planning, schools, or roads it is usually best to contact your local councillor in the first instance. You can find out more about Kirklees councillors, including who your own councillors are, by following this link.
If you are unsure of whether I can help, call 01484 843068 or click Contact Thelma.
What I am unable to help with
I am not able to intervene in private disputes, such as those between neighbours, between an employer and employee, individual consumer complaints, or in outstanding legal matters or court decisions.
Neither I, nor my staff can provide any financial or legal advice. The Kirklees Citizens’ Advice and Law Centre may be better placed to help you on these issues.
What are ‘Surgeries’ and when are they held?
Surgeries are pre-arranged appointments where constituents can discuss personal issues face-to-face with me. My surgeries are usually held at Slaithwaite Civic Hall and appointments are for up to 20 minutes. I am always accompanied by a member of my office staff who will take notes of the discussion and any agreed actions. Attendance at surgeries is by appointment only. Please use the Contact Thelma page to request an appointment. You will be asked to provide an outline of the issues you want to raise with me, to my staff, prior to the appointment being agreed.
Other surgeries may be held throughout the constituency, details of which will be published on my website in advance.
Do I have to attend an advice surgery to get help?
No. Whilst there are some issues you would want to discuss in person with me, in most instances the fastest way I can help you is by asking my office staff, which include trained, specialist caseworkers, to support you directly.
Surgery appointments do tend to book up some time in advance.
How can I contact Thelma?
Please visit the Contact Thelma page of this website.
Can Thelma help if I do not live in the Colne Valley constituency?
No. There is a strict parliamentary protocol which dictates that MPs may only represent their own constituents on personal matters.
How can you invite Thelma to an event that you are holding?
You can either send me an invitation in the post or via email (see the Contact Thelma page for addresses). Please note, written information is required for an invitation to be considered. I am likely to be in Westminster Monday to Thursday and my diary gets booked up several months in advance.
When your booking is confirmed my office will send you a short engagement form for you to complete and return.
How can I find out what Thelma has done in Parliament?
The website: ‘They work for You’ is a good way of seeing how each MP has voted, and also keeps a history of their speeches and other contributions. My profile can be found here. You can also sign up to my newsletter to receive regular monthly updates direct from me.
Why should I vote?
People choose their MPs by voting in general elections. These elections are crucial because they decide who will be in government and give everyone a say in how the country will be run in the future. The party with the most MPs forms the government.
Elections work best when everyone takes part and votes. If you don’t vote, you are having no say on issues as important as the NHS, schools, how much tax you pay and how we look after the environment.
How do I register to vote?
Almost everyone in Britain aged 18 and over is qualified to vote. However, you must register before you can do so.
Can Thelma help with a tour of Parliament, or tickets for the House of Commons?
I can organise visits to Parliament for individuals who live in the Colne Valley constituency. However, a tour can never be guaranteed, tours book up at least six months to a year in advance and there is a strict ballot applied to the booking of tours, so if you want to organise one, please contact me as soon as possible.