Members of Parliament are elected to the House of Commons to represent the interests and concerns of all the people who live in their constituency, whether they voted for them or not. This involves a large amount of casework. It is up to the individual MP if they choose to take on a particular case or not. There is no legal requirement to do so. However, Stuart takes the approach that he will respond to every constituent for casework and will do his best to solve the issues that they have.
Due to the social distancing measures regarding Coronavirus, Stuart has suspended all of his in-person surgeries until further notice. That said, Stuart and his team are still here and happy to help with any cases that you may have. Stuart holds regular surgery appointments via telephone and Microsoft Teams. Due to their popularity, these surgeries are by appointment only. Surgeries are intended to provide an opportunity to discuss the outline of your problem and to determine if Stuart can help in any way.
The best way to book an appointment is to email firstname.lastname@example.org. You will need to provide your full name, full postal address which includes door number, street name, city, and postcode, and a preferred telephone number and email address. This is due to a strict parliamentary protocol which means that Stuart can only make representations on behalf of constituents and businesses that are within the area that he has been elected to represent.
If you are unsure whether Stuart is your MP, please visit: https://members.parliament.uk/FindYourMP
If you are contacting Stuart on behalf of another constituent, you will need to make this clear and usually return a form of authority. If you email Stuart and his team, they will be able to send you a copy of this form.
Stuart and his team deal with a wide range of issues every day. This includes, but is not limited to, queries regarding housing, immigration, social security and pensions, and health. If your case is urgent, please contact Stuart and his team by email or telephone. You will often be asked to make your query in writing. This can be an email or a letter. This will allow you the opportunity to set out the case in your own words and would enable Stuart and his team to work through the points that you have raised. Stuart and his team may be able to assist you without needing to book an appointment to see him.
You may be able to find some further assistance via the Government's official website, https://www.gov.uk/. In particular you can find information about
Benefits - includes eligibility, appeals, tax credits and Universal Credit
Births, deaths, marriages and care - parenting, civil partnerships, divorce and Lasting Power of Attorney
Business and self-employed - tools and guidance for businesses
Childcare and parenting - includes giving birth, fostering, adopting, benefits for children, childcare and schools
Citizenship and living in the UK - voting, community participation, life in the UK, international projects
Crime, justice and the law - legal processes, courts and the police
Disabled people - includes carers, your rights, benefits and the Equality Act
Driving and transport - includes vehicle tax, MOT and driving licences
Education and learning - includes student loans, admissions and apprenticeships
Employing people - includes pay, contracts and hiring
Environment and countryside - includes flooding, recycling and wildlife
Housing and local services - owning or renting and council services
Money and tax - includes debt and Self Assessment
Passports, travel and living abroad - includes renewing passports and travel advice by country
Visas and immigration - visas, asylum and sponsorship
Working, jobs and pensions - includes holidays and finding a job
Problems with local authority services, such as waste collection, road maintenance, planning, school admissions, and housing allocations fall under the remit of the City of Wolverhampton Council and one or more of their Arms-Length Management Organisations, such as Wolverhampton Homes.
As a first port of call, you can raise your case with your local councillor, details for whom you can find at www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/your-council/councillors. Stuart is happy to make representations to the Council on behalf of individual constituents and ask them to investigate a case or reconsider an issue. While Stuart can provide general advice on local issues and request that your views are considered, he cannot instruct nor influence those who make these decision in Wolverhampton Council. There are strict rules which govern how these processes take place so that they can be as independent as possible.
MPs are not able to intervene in any legal proceedings or contract-related issues, such as private disputes with neighbours or employers, nor help to settle family arguments. Stuart and his team can signpost individuals to specific support agencies, such as Citizen’s Advice, Welfare Rights Service, and the national Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service which helps to resolve in-work disputes.
Where your case involves central government, Stuart has several options available to him:
- A letter or email to the relevant department or official can often provide a solution.
- Stuart may decide to take matters a stage further by writing to the relevant Minister.
- Your MP may make an appointment to see the Minister personally. These appointments are dependent upon the Minister’s diary commitments and are only for a limited number of MPs.
Many constituents’ problems can be solved in this way, but not all problems have an easy solution. The Minister may not be able to give you an answer that you wanted to hear. If the decision has been made in the correct way, there might be limited options available. If there has been any unnecessary delay, or if some essential procedure has been missed out, you may be able to take your case to the relevant Ombudsman. Most Ombudsman services have a self-referral mechanism.
All the methods described above can be kept confidential, which is often the best resolution. If Stuart feels that there is something that could be gained from making the case public, this may be done by raising it on the floor of the House of Commons in view of the press and public. The Leader of the House of Commons is a Government Minister whose main role is organising Government business in the Commons. Every sitting Thursday, the Leader of the House tells the Commons about the business scheduled for the following week and usually provisional business for the week after. There are some opportunities for backbench Members of Parliament to table Private Members' bills.
There are a range of different types of Private Members’ bills. Ballot bills often have the best chance of becoming law, as they get priority for the limited amount of debating time available. The names of Members applying for a bill are drawn in a ballot held on the second sitting Thursday of a parliamentary session. Normally, the first seven ballot bills are most likely to be debated. There are some parliamentary procedures which Stuart has recourse to, and his skill is in choosing the method to obtain the best outcome.
Whereas most people would prefer their issue to be raised at Prime Minister’s Questions, it might be case that the issue is raised in a debate or at another occasion, such as when specific Ministers appear before the House of Commons. Various methods can produce results. It is important to bear in mind that, even when matters are raised in the full glare of publicity, you may not get the answer that was hoped for. Stuart and his team are happy to discuss this with you to try to find a way forward.