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New MP chooses constituents over Westminster ceremony

Chi Onwurah

As new MPs entered the House of Commons today to choose a new speaker, one new MP opted to spend time with her constituents.

Chi Onwurah, Labour’s new MP for Newcastle, reportedly asked Parliamentary bosses if she was absolutely required to be at today’s sitting as she already had somewhere to be; Onwurah had promised to join the Cruddas Park community association for a game of bingo.

She told a local newspaper: “We got to ask some questions [at a House of Commons welcome briefing] and one of the things is that the election of Speaker was going to take place on Tuesday. And on Tuesday I had said to Cruddas Park community association that I would come and play a game of bingo with them. I had visited them during the campaign and I didn’t have time to come and have a game with them.”

Marking a fresh approach to politics, Onwurah said: “I am not in Parliament for formality or ceremony. Much as I respect this country’s great ceremony and history, I want to be there to change things and make a difference. If the reason I am there as some ceremonial adjunct I would rather be in Newcastle. But when there are things to debate that really matter, I am going to be in Westminster.”

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