The Houses of Parliament broke up for the summer on Thursday 25 July and deputy speaker Dame Eleanor Laing sent the MPs on their way wishing them “a busy but peaceful recess—not a holiday.” They will return on 3 September.
The exceptional two year session to “fully consider the laws required to make Britain reading for Brexit” started after the June 2017 general election which re-elected Alok Sharma as Conservative MP for Reading West and returned Labour candidate Matt Rodda for Reading East in place of the previous Conservative incumbent, Rob Wilson.
New prime minister Boris Johnson promoted Alok Sharma on 24 July to Secretary of State for International Development. This meant that the next day, Alok Sharma was responding to written questions in this capacity.
Alok Sharma had previously served as minister of state in the department of work and pensions (DWP) from January 2018, and before that as minister for housing in the department for communities and local government.
While at the DWP, he regularly answered written and oral questions from MPs about Universal Credit. On Wednesday 5 June he spoke in the House of Commons debate on Universal Credit and Debt which had been called by Labour MP Ruth George. In this debate he summarised the situation and set out imminent changes to be made to the scheme.
The Whitley Pump reported on two of his contributions as minister for housing in debates about new build leasehold and new housing schemes. He also made a statement for the Government on banning estate agent’s fees charged to tenants who rent accommodation.
You can see Alok Sharma being sworn in on 12 June 2017, at the beginning of the session, on Parliament TV.
Despite being elected MP in June 2017, Matt Rodda remained as local councillor representing Katesgrove ward until the 2018 local elections when he stood down and Gurvinder Kaur was elected in his place.
Matt Rodda was appointed shadow minister for transport (buses) in January 2018. Many of his speeches in debates have been about transport in all its forms, including the recent Active Travel debate about cycling and walking.
We interviewed Matt Rodda in December 2017 and he told us about his priorities as Reading East MP. He said that he was pushing for things in Parliament that local people wanted and his top three priorities were to fight austerity, fight against hard Brexit and provide more affordable housing.
As Readingas, we have been very pleased to hear our town mentioned on many occasions in Parliament. In particular in Matt Rodda’s opening speech, to which James Duddridge MP responded by mentioning his student days at Reading Unversity that included some time spent in local hostelry ‘The Nob’.
Matt Rodda has also spoken about the negative impact of Brexit on Reading, in particular on the NHS and Royal Berkshire Hospital.
You can see Matt Rodda being sworn in on 12 June 2017, at the beginning of the session, on Parliament TV.
The voting records of Matt Rodda and Alok Sharma
In the Brexit debates which dominated the parliamentary session, Matt Rodda and Alok Sharma generally voted in opposite directions, although there have been a few occasions when they have shuffled through the same division lobby.
- Government to confirm two year parliament to deliver Brexit and beyond
- 2017 General election results for Reading
- Alok Sharma appointed Secretary of State for International Development
- Whitley MP Alok Sharma says new build leasehold ‘has got to stop’
- Local people hear about new housing developments too late says Reading West MP Alok Sharma
- “All fees on tenants should be banned” says Reading West MP Alok Sharma
- Matt Rodda interview: My priorities as Reading East MP
- The Nob mentioned in Parliament
- Reading MP Matt Rodda says “Cycling should be for the many, not just the brave”
- Matt Rodda speaks in Parliament about NHS staff and Brexit
- Reading MPs Matt Rodda and Alok Sharma shuffle through the same division lobby twice on the night of 3 April!
- Alok Sharma on the Whitley Pump
- Matt Rodda on the Whitley Pump
- Hansard Online
- Parliament Online
- Register of members interests
- MP expenses at the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
- Matt Rodda home page, at Hansard and They Work For You
- Alok Sharma home page, Twitter page, at Hansard and They Work For You