Parliamentary Internship: Labour MP for Leeds West, Rachel Reeves

This Director's Internship offers a placement in the office of a Labour MP (Member of Parliament) for Leeds West, Rachel Reeves. Rachel is a member of the Treasury Select Committee and Labour's former shadow Work and Pensions Secretary and shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Before being elected to parliament Rachel worked as an economist at the Bank of England, British Embassy in Washington and at HBOS. This position offers the successful candidate the opportunity to work within a busy political office. The intern will learn how to deal with the day to day tasks of such an office including Parliamentary procedure, press, research and diary skills.

This is an incredible opportunity for anyone interested in real politics in Britain to view it up close and behind the scenes.

2015 Director's Intern Reflection:

Interning in the office of Rachel Reeves, Labour MP for Leeds West has presented a number of opportunities to learn and challenge myself. Mastering the Parliamentary system is a challenge in and of itself--although I had done research in advance of arriving, I still had a great time learning all of the terms and facets that comprise the UK Parliament and its proceedings. The office team has been incredibly supportive and helpful in orienting me to Parliament.

Rachel's office is especially large for an MP since she also holds a role as secretary of Work and Pensions within the Shadow Cabinet. Working with her team gave me great insight into how the Labour Party and its Department of Work and Pensions operate, and also some of the key differences between the US and the UK welfare systems.

Within the office, I worked on a variety of tasks. Responding to constituent casework, helping to prepare Parliamentary questions, and participating in media monitoring and communications efforts made up a large part of my daily routine, but I also worked to find longer term projects. For example, I have worked quite a bit on getting to know the capabilities of Rachel's website to better utilize its services and keep its content and design up to date. I also took point on an initiative to update and organize Rachel's contact database.

Mostly, Parliament is an incredibly exciting place to come to work everyday. My co-workers are so fun to talk to and learn from, the spaces are rich with history and meaning, and working in a government office can be very fast-paced and high-energy. Plus, the community here is huge, and I've felt lucky to get to know Parliamentary staff from many offices. Likely, the exact experience of this internship will change after the Labour Party Leadership election in the fall, but regardless, I would highly recommend this internship to anyone with a desire to learn about the British Parliament, an interest in hands-on government experience, and an appreciation for the history that is alive in Westminster!

Jessica Barzilay '16


2014 Director's Intern Reflection:

I had an excellent experience working for Rachel Reeves MP this summer. Rachel is certainly a major player in forming the Labour Party's policies and political strategy, and I learned a great amount about British politics through the internship. As Rachel is the Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, I was able to gain a better understanding, in particular, of the differences between the welfare systems of the UK and the US.

As an intern, one of my primary tasks was drafting letters to constituents regarding their public policy concerns. This letter-writing involved researching the policy issues addressed in constituent mail and often meant coordinating responses with the offices of fellow Labour MPs. This process acquainted me with the unique acronyms of various benefits and employment programs and gave me an understanding of the British public's political concerns. In addition to policy casework, I drafted event briefings for Rachel and was fortunate to help staff her for several of the events. One of my favorite weekly activities was attending the Work and Pensions Shadow Cabinet meeting where MPs and staff discussed policy initiatives and communications strategy related to work and pensions.

Rachel's office, like most parliamentary offices, is an intimate one -- all the staffers share the same room. Even Rachel works in the same space. This set-up created a friendly, and often fun, environment in which to work. Everyone works extremely hard, but the working hours are certainly manageable and allow for sightseeing and social time after work and on the weekends. I could not have asked for a better parliamentary office placement. I loved my time in Parliament and in London.

Ross Svenson '15

2013 Director's Intern Reflection:

Working for the parliamentary office of Rachel Reeves, the Labour Member of Parliament for Leeds West and the Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, was a uniquely challenging and rewarding experience. My time at the office exposed me to diverse political operations, both behind the scenes and on the frontlines, allowing me to expand the depth and breadth of my knowledge of parliamentary politics in the United Kingdom. Rachel and all of her staff were committed to ensuring that I not only learn from but also enjoy my experience at Westminster. Consequently, I was fortunate enough to have had a dynamic internship experience, observing and partaking in various aspects of parliamentary politics.

As an intern in an office comprised of a small but hardworking staff, I was treated as a valuable team member from day one onwards. My role was essentially twofold. Since Rachel Reeves is both an MP and a leading member of the economics team on the Shadow Cabinet, my primary duties were divided into constituency-based and economic policy work. On the constituency front, I helped to respond to policy casework from constituents, conducted research on constituency issues, and even got a chance to work for several days at the constituency office.  On the economic policy side, I conducted research on government expenditures to help with the analysis of the 2013 Spending Round, took notes on finance committee sessions, and assisted with correspondence with other government officials.

My summer of working for Rachel Reeves’s office was thoroughly enlightening and enjoyable. I would highly recommend this internship to anyone who has an interest in parliamentary politics and British current affairs; you will learn and grow extensively from this internship, and will have a wonderful time in doing so.

Eliza Pan '15


London, England