Insight into the life of politics

Kitty Thompson and MP Mark Simmonds in Portcullis House. Photo supplied.
Kitty Thompson and MP Mark Simmonds in Portcullis House. Photo supplied.

Here in her own words Skegness Grammar School pupil Kitty Thompson, 16, gives an insight into work experience with MP Mark Simmonds...

Prior to my work experience, real Westminster politics only existed on a television screen and in my school textbooks, I was a spectator who was outside looking in - I knew the information and events but did not really know about the finer details and actually having a life that revolves around politics. Oh how this changed.

On my first day, I met Hannah Daniel, the political researcher for Mark Simmonds, the MP for Skegness and Boston.

I had read the job description of a political researcher but it was only from meeting Hannah that I realised the importance of her job role.

Throughout the week I completed many different tasks of a political researcher, most of which were incredibly new to me - specific research, press releases, sorting emails, summaries, articles, organising paperwork and even using a letter opener!

I knew I was no longer at school and I was actually doing real life work. From talking to Hannah, Rose, the case study worker, and Mark, it became clear that you never know what to expect when you come into work each day and I think the complete variation of topics that I worked on throughout the week really made that clear.

During the week I also attended two select committee meetings which had topics that interested me - tourism and the environment.

In the meetings I listened to various MPs and industry professionals talk about these two issues.

I really enjoyed listening to people talking about my specific interests, knowing that they shared these interests, and the ways that they are trying to improve them both nationally and internationally.

I had only a vague idea of what being an MP involved at the start of the week, but from talking to Mark and being in his political environment I got a real insight.

It became clear how much hard work and dedication being an MP requires as well how rewarding it is.

He knows so much more about the constituency and the needs of the people that live there than I do.

Listening to Mark talk about his job and the many adventures it has given him has really inspired me to find a job that enthuses me in that same way, as well as it making me even more interested in politics.

Without a doubt, the highlight of my week was watching a live debate in the House of Commons.

Just seeing the Prime Minister along with other famous politicians was so surreal. No longer was I watching the MPs through the television screen, I was actually sat on the green leather benches in the same room as them, watching them debate real issues - the real issues that I had been researching earlier that day.

I have had a truly fantastic week and it has really made politics come alive for me. I cannot thank Mark enough for allowing me to come to Westminster and experience real politics for myself.