Whitehaven's MP

Jamie Reed, grandson to the late well known union boss, Thompson Reed, is the Labour MP for the Copeland constituency, which after 2010 includes Keswick voters.
In 2010 the votes cast were as follows: Edward Caley-Knowles, UK Independence Party 994 votes; Frank Hollowell Liberal Democrat 4,365 ; Clive Jefferson BNP 1,474 ;Jill Perry
Green 389 ;Jamie Reed Labour 19,699 (46.0%); Chris Whiteside Conservative 15,866 .
Majority: 3,833; Turn-out: 67.6%

Mr Reed romped home in May 2005 with a 6,300 majority for Labour in the general election. He netted over 17,000 votes.
Tory Chris Whiteside came second with 10,713 votes, while Frank Hollowell took third place for the Liberal Democrats with 3,880. UKIP candidate Edward Caley-Knowles won 735 votes, just one ahead of Independent Brian Earley, who had 734. Alan Mossop was last with just 662 votes for the English Democrats. A proposed boundary change will see an extra 8,446 voters from Keswick brought into the geographically distant Copeland seat.
At the general election expectd next year 2010 Keswick will for some crackpot reason become part of Copeland. In Allerdale councillor voting for Keswick the LibDems have always topped the votes in recent years. In the last relevant poll in 2003 the Keswick electorate of 4323 cast votes as follows: LibDem 1076/Tory 696 and Labour 581/Independent 567. So good news for the LibDems but not enough votes to take Copeland from Labour?
To contact MP Jamie Reed....


Office address: House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA / or his constituency office: Phoenix House, Jacktrees Rd, Cleator Moor. 01946 816723.
Mr Reed's official website.
Jamie Reed
MP Jamie Reed comments below via Twitter
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A Day in the Life of Copeland's MP in 2006

DESPITE truly frenetic 16 hour working days, Jamie Reed clearly misses his young family back home in Whitehaven. Calls every evening to the children cannot make up for the Copeland MP’s working time in the ‘village’ of Westminster Palace.
When Jack – now Lord – Cunningham had risen to the top of the greasy pole at Westminster, his palatial offices on a prominent corner of Portcullis House were the envy of many colleagues. In contrast Mr Reed’s office at No 1 Parliament Street are a far more modest eight foot wide working unit, enlivened by a Haven RL shirt and finger-paintings by his children proudly on show.
Mr Reed points out, with a certain pride, that a previous tenant of his office was one Right Honourable Gordon Brown.
I chose to shadow our MP on what turned out to be a far from routine day. For it was the day in the July heat that he and his researcher Carl Carter saw as the culmination of over 12 months’ work – the announcement of the government’s pro-nuclear leaning energy review.
To say that the phones (two mobiles and one landline) never stopped ringing would be an understatement. Only one week in four can the MP have use of his researcher, so I cannot imagine how he copes when manning his Westminster base single-handed.
Jamie Reed with retiring MP Dr Jack Cunningham.
From his small flat in Islington, Jamie usually travels on the Tube in his shorts and tee-shirt in order to cope with the near tropical heat of a rush hour Underground in high summer. While still in his shorts he deals with that morning’s hundreds of emails and letters before change into suit and tie to research and take part in detailed debates on the Defra select committee he serves on.
“You have to spend time in advance researching the necessary fact and figures or you will not be able to make the contribution you have to,” he says.
At the back of every young MP’s mind must be the division bell. “When the bell goes, the whips expect MPs to drop everything and get themselves in eight minutes to cast their votes through the division lobbies.”
The urgency of this rule can be seen on every lift in the vast Westminster machine: Only for use by MPs when a division bell has rung.
The thousands of tourists walking past Big Ben are unaware of the underground tunnel connecting MPs’ offices in the new Portcullis House to Westminster. MPs are frequently seen sprinting along the passage to meet their obligations to cast their votes.
This underground passage is a constant hubbub of politicians. For my visit I felt like a trainspotter collecting sightings... there goes David Blunkett... isn’t that Michael Howard?... oh, and laughing in the corner over there, the Beast of Bolsover himself, Dennis Skinner.
It is the same wherever you go in the Westminster village: sitting to eat in the heavily subsidised MP restaurant (delicious meals for just £2 a sitting!) you glance across and there’s Charles Clarke, looking a bit more relaxed now he is no longer shouldering the Home Office job.
Aside from his committee work Mr Reed also has to try to get a chance to speak up on the floor of the House of Commons on behalf of Copeland.
We have all seen the seasoned pro’s such as Blair and Cameron hold forth in perhaps the toughest debating chamber in the world – but Jamie Reed is starting to find his feet after his maiden speech referring to himself as a Star Wars Jedi Knight didn’t quite hit the spot for some MPs.
He confesses to a justifiable weariness at the public schoolboy japes of some MPs.
“We are changing things here, but I am still among the minority of MPs that have come from a Northern comprehensive schooling,” he says.
In the agenda to modernise the way UK PLC is run, Jamie is proud to be the chairman of a group of Labour’s bright young MPs in the 05 Group. This is obviously nothing to do with the Stagecoach 05 route to Mirehouse, but a group of progressive MPs who are working towards their own progressive manifesto due to be published later this year.
Jamie provides another hint at his socialist leanings by his references to his admiration for Kier Hardie and the relish with which he showed me the original Westminster Hall where he pointed out “that is the spot where their tried King Charles I before sealing his fate.”
I sense that our MP leans towards the Labour Party as opposed to New Labour, which could perhaps hark back to Jamie’s late grandfather, Thompson Reed. Thompson Reed was the GMB union leader for Whitehaven regarded by many of his generation as the “best MP we never had”. Rumour has it Thompson Reed graciously stood aside to allow a certain Jack Cunningham to bid for the old Whitehaven seat back in 1970.
A tour of Westminster passes many areas where only MPs can pass, including the MPs cloakroom where there are pink ribbons dangling. “Those are for members to hang their swords up,” he says. A throwback to a previous age, perhaps, but perfectly true. In fact next time you see Messrs Blair and Cameron slug it out on the news you might notice red lines in the carpet in front of the two frontbenches. These lines are deliberately just over two sword lengths apart, to symbolise that arguments in the House are fought by words, not swords.
It is obvious that meeting key decision-makers at Westminster is a vital element in the MP’s job and while I am there Mr Reed has talks with academics from Lancaster University who are exploring the possibilities of having a medical faculty linked to the proposed new hospital for West Cumbria.
He explained afterwards: “Imagine how wonderful it would be in terms of recruiting and retaining staff if the new hospital were a teaching hospital. It may not come to fruition, but all these ideas have to be acted on and developed. The more irons in the fire, the greater the chances of success for Copeland.”
Amidst all these meetings, votes and number-crunching research, one of the few oases of calm for Mr Reed and the other MPs are the terrace gardens outside their offices: not the famous terrace overlooking the Thames but the small garden terraces outside the MP offices. The terrace overlooking the Thames is certainly a relaxing spot to enjoy the dramatic view across to the London Eye, but it is not necessarily a relaxing spot as MPs never miss a chance to cajole and press the flesh seeking votes or support.
It looks as if no working MPs needs a brief moments to recharge their batteries. I am sure it was not done for my benefit but I was impressed to see MP Reed and his researcher still hammering the emails out until 9pm that evening... just an hour’s down time till the Tube ride back to his flat. Just time for a pint at the Red Lion Inn where, yet again, the air is thick with MPs wheeling and dealing... Parliament never sleeps.
Oh and the question everyone wonders about, what is the salary for this demanding honour? £60,000. Would we begrudge it if just half the projects being pushed forward on our behalf come to fruition?


Lord Cunningham Cleared
In late 2013 the Privileges and Conduct Committee of the House of Lords has cleared Lord Cunningham of Felling (Whitehaven's former MP) and Lord O’Neill of Clackmannan of breaching their Code of Conduct relating to the allegations made in The Sunday Times and on BBC’s Panorama. Read the fascinating details here....
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