What your MP can do for you
This section is designed to answer any questions you may have about the role of John as your local Member of Parliament and how he can help you.
John Bercow MP speaking in the House of Commons
before he was elected Speaker
What is an MP?
The House of Commons is made up of 650 Members of Parliament (MPs), each representing one constituency.
The MP representing Buckingham is John Bercow.
How big is a constituency?
The average number of electors in an English constituency is 67,000.
What is the role of an MP?
John’s role as an MP is to represent his constituents at Westminster, regardless of whether or not they voted for him.
Members of Parliament can only deal with issues raised by their own constituents.
What can my MP do to help me?
John can help you with all matters for which Parliament or central government is responsible, such as:
- Tax problems involving the HM Revenue and Customs Department.
- Problems dealt with by the Department for Work and Pensions such as benefits, pensions and National Insurance.
- Problems dealt with by the Home Office, such as immigration.
- Problems dealt with by the Department of Health, such as hospitals and the National Health Service (NHS).
- Problems dealt with by the Department for Education, such as school closures and grants.
He is unable to settle private disputes with neighbours or employers, nor can he help in family arguments or consumer matters. He cannot interfere with decisions made in court.
If your problem concerns the Local Authority (for example it is connected with services such as refuse collection, housing repairs or public lavatories), you should contact your local Council or Councillor.
Local government can be either unitary or two-tier. Unitary Councils manage all local authority services in their area. Buckinghamshire is two-tier therefore the delivery of services is split between Buckinghamshire County Council and
Aylesbury Vale District Council.
The County Council manages services including schools, social services, strategic planning matters, highways, refuse and waste disposal sites, museums and libraries.
The District Council manages services including town planning, environmental health, housing, benefits, council tax collection, refuse collection and leisure facilities.
There are also parish and town councils. They are the most local level of government. They are independent but work closely with both us and district councils.
If you are unsure of who to go to or you have a problem of a more general nature then your nearest Citizens' Advice Bureau will be able to guide you.
How does my MP deal with my problem?
Ways John could deal with problems of his constituents would be:
- A letter to the relevant department or official.
- A letter to the Minister involved.
Many problems (but not all) can be solved in this way. The Minister may not be able to give the answer you want to hear but if the decision has been made in the correct way there may be little that he can do. If you feel there has been unnecessary delay or maladministration John may be able to take your case to the Parliamentary Ombudsman. The Ombudsman can only be approached through John; you cannot approach that office directly. The Health Service Ombudsman can provide similar help where the problem involves the NHS.
What else can my MP do?
Because of his role as Speaker, John does not speak in or stage debates, he does not table questions, sign Early Day Motions or present Private Member’s Bills or petitions.
John will continue to represent all his constituents by raising their concerns with the relevant agency or government department. As Speaker, he will receive ministerial replies, often from the Secretary of State, and on an expedited basis in recognition of the fact that the Speaker does not table questions or speak on the floor of the House. He will no longer address any issue in a party political manner in accordance with the convention that the Speaker remains impartial.
John will continue to attend events and undertake visits of a non-party political character throughout the constituency. Visiting schools, health services, local authorities, charities, voluntary groups and community gatherings has always represented the overwhelming proportion of John’s constituency work and he will continue to do it every bit as conscientiously as he has always done.