Parliamentary Internship: Labour MP for Leeds West, Rachel Reeves

This Director's Internship offers a placement in the office of Labour MP (Member of Parliament) for Leeds West, Rachel Reeves. Rachel chairs the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee and is 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, social media, 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.

2017 Intern Reflection:

I went into this summer internship with the full expectation that I was going to be involved in British politics at a very interesting time, with Brexit front and centre (using the British spelling of center because I am culturally immersed). However, weeks before my internship started the Prime Minister called a snap general election, meaning that all Members of Parliament including Rachel were given six weeks’ notice to campaign to retain their seats. As a result, I spent the first two weeks of my internship working on the ground campaign in Rachel’s constituency of Leeds West in the lead up to the election. The election resulted in a hung parliament, which then added an extra element to what was shaping up to be an already incredibly interesting summer. 

Being involved with campaigning in the constituency gave me a much greater understanding of the issues facing the people and area that Rachel represents, and also allowed me to learn the basics of the British political system with help from fellow staff and volunteers. This awareness for the constituency has been particularly useful in one of my main day to day jobs in her Parliament office, which is responding to constituent policy casework. 

Rachel’s office is always quite busy because in addition to being the MP for Leeds West, she is currently standing to chair a select committee, running a joint commission on loneliness with a conservative MP, and also is in the process of writing a book, among many other projects. Within the office, all of the staff work in one room, which has allowed me ample opportunities to get to know my fellow co-workers. Beyond constituent policy casework, my daily tasks vary greatly. At the moment, a sizeable amount of each day is spent helping with Rachel’s aforementioned campaign to chair a select committee, garnering support from fellow MPs.  

Working in Parliament is an experience in and of itself. The Palace of Westminster is an absolutely breath-taking space, and it has been amazing to get to explore different hidden features of it throughout the summer. 

I think this internship has been a great way to gain a greater understanding for the British political system, and to see the inner workings of a national government. I also have absolutely loved getting to spend the summer in London and experience the culture of such an incredible city. 

Scott DeAngelo '19

2016 Intern Reflection:

My internship with Rachel Reeves, Labour MP has been incredibly exciting and meaningful. Whilst I am originally from Rachel’s constituency of Leeds West, I have lived outside of England for the past decade and become fairly out-of-touch with the politics in my homeland. Since working here, I have become much better acquainted with the British parliamentary system and the current political climate. And in a broader sense, I have arguably learnt more about politics in the past few weeks than I have in my entire lifetime. This is largely due to the work environment. Although Rachel’s office is comparatively large for an MP (any given day there are typically five people working) it is still very intimate. I have been embraced as a key member of the team and fully immersed in the work. I genuinely feel like I am at the heart of politics.

The intimacy of Rachel’s office allows it to be personalized and I have largely been able to shape the kind of work that I do. After speaking with Rachel’s parliamentary assistant, I began to work out how my background could help the team. I’m passionate about media and communications, so we agreed that I could help with Rachel’s social media presence. In addition to drafting tweets and Facebook posts, I began creating short videos of Rachel that we could use on her Facebook and Twitter. I was then able to run weekly diagnostics about the impact of these efforts in order to maximize their success. In addition to this, on a daily basis I respond to constituency casework, campaign for local elections, attend Labour speeches and events, and conduct research for TV/radio appearances, debates, and parliamentary questions. I have always felt as though my work has not only been appreciated, but also trusted and acted upon.

Perhaps my favorite part of my internship was campaigning for “Remain” in the European Referendum: a cause I was incredibly passionate about. Our team travelled to Leeds West for three days to campaign in partnership with our constituency office and local members. There was a strong feeling of comradery and teamwork as we worked “on the ground”: door knocking, attending speeches and events. I loved seeing the contrast between politics in Parliament and politics on the doors and I truly enjoyed meeting thousands of constituents and discussing their vote. To me, this felt like democracy in action and I will always remember the dedicated individuals I met and worked beside. You can get an idea of this work in this following short film that I made:

My co-workers are incredibly hard working, but also know how to have a laugh and the office atmosphere is dynamic, upbeat, friendly and fun. I genuinely look forward to coming to work each day and I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Rachel (who is a rising star in the Labour party) and my other coworkers well, both on and off the job. They have not only been helpful throughout my learning process here, but also in adjusting to life in London. They have introduced me to interns and workers in other offices and shown me a healthy work-life balance. I am very pleased to consider them friends.

Overall, this has been an inordinately exciting and historical summer in British politics and I have been truly lucky to have such a unique insight into it. It is the only job I’ve had where workplace drama is national news, and where I’m (for once) even more ahead than Twitter! Only a few weeks in, you become used to the incredible architecture (some of which dates back to the 11th century) and your exclusive access to areas of the Palace of Westminster. You may even become used to running into world leaders as you grab your lunch, or walking by national news cameras and seeing the footage when you turn on a TV. But I assure you that you will never forget your time here!

Lauren Bromage '17

2015 Intern Reflection:

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


London, England
International, Elected Officials, Research