Although she has had to wait to make her Maiden Speech in the House of Commons, the first standard week of business of the new Parliament saw Bristol South MP Karin Smyth being called twice to ask questions of Government Ministers.
The Labour MP had aimed to make her first Commons speech in Wednesday’s debate about devolution and growth, but so many MPs – including a host of newly elected ones – had also wanted to speak, there was insufficient time for the Speaker to call all of them. Nonetheless, she attended the whole of the five hour debate.
On Tuesday 2 June, the following exchange is recorded by Hansard, during Health Questions
Karin Smyth (Bristol South) (Lab): What is the Minister’s plan to make GP premises fit for the 21st century?
Alistair Burt: I welcome the hon. Lady to her place. Briefly, there is a £1 billion fund to improve, over the next five years, GP surgeries and premises and access to GP practices. It is an important part of the process of improving access to GPs, which is good not only for patients but for GPs, who can feel fully engaged in their work without being overburdened. This support should certainly help.
Two days later, 4 June, Karin Smyth was called during an emergency question debate about NHS reorganisation:
Karin Smyth (Bristol South) (Lab): I congratulate the Minister on what is possibly the fastest reorganisation the NHS has ever seen. Which of those local organisations is in charge, and who will be accountable for deciding what constitutes success?
Ben Gummer: I welcome the hon. Lady to her place. We are now repeating discussions we had in the previous Parliament, because I am afraid that the Labour party still does not understand that these decisions are not being directed from Whitehall. I know that is uncomfortable for them, because what they want to do is pull a lever and hope that something happens at the other end, but that does not work. The only way to get success is by having local clinicians, supported by national bodies, providing the solutions that local people deserve.
“Unfortunately, neither question was answered properly by Ministers,” she said. “But the these are key issues of vital importance to my constituents, and I owe it to them to continue quizzing and challenging in various ways.”