Parliamentary Internship: Labour MP for Feltham and Heston, Seema Malhotra

Parliamentary Internship: Labour MP for Feltham and Heston, Seema Malhotra

***FINALIST APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS: All applicants are required to submit a resume (one page), statement of interest (one page), and two references by the application deadline on Sunday, February 7 at 11:59pm ET. If selected as a finalist, applicants to this host organization may be required to submit the following additional materials directly to the host organization after the application deadline: 

  • Letter of Recommendation
  • Writing Sample

INDUSTRY: Elected Officials 

ABOUT US: Seema Malhotra MP is a Labour and Cooperative Party Member of Parliament and the UK’s Shadow Minister for Work and Pensions. She has been the Member of Parliament for Feltham and Heston in West London since 2011.

Previous posts include:

  • Shadow Minister for Preventing Violence Against Women and Girls 2014-15;
  • Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury 2015-16;
  • Member, Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion 2017-19;
  • Shadow Minister for Work and Pensions (Employment) 2020-

Her constituency is located near Heathrow Airport and she has a strong interest in Aviation.

SPECIALIZED SKILLS:

  • Graphic Design
  • Statistical & Data Analysis
  • Knowledge of political, parliamentary, and legislative processes
  • A sound understanding of UK politics, economy and current affairs.

RESPONSIBILITIES & PROJECTS: 

  • Policy research and responding to policy questions from constituents (voters)
  • Data analysis
  • Writing articles, speeches and constituency communications
  • Supporting social media activity
  • A team player with excellent communication skills.

REMOTE WORK ENVIRONMENT: This is a fast paced team that often pivots to react to unfolding events. The team works closely using WhatsApp messaging and Microsoft Teams. There is a supportive team culture and a weekly all team meeting enables full understanding of current priorities and workloads.

TIME ZONE: GMT

WORKING HOURS: There is some flexibility regarding which hours the intern works but prefer to have the intern overlap as much as possible with 9:00am to 6:00pm GMT. 

EQUIPMENT & SOFTWARE:

  • Access to high-speed Wi-Fi 
  • Personal laptop
  • Laptop on loan from host organization (possibility)
  • Smart Phone
  • Web Camera
  • Microsoft Office (Word, Powerpoint, Excel)
  • Adobe Creative Suite (useful)

Recent Intern Reflection:

Interning in Seema’s office has been a truly transformative experience. From preparing Brexit Select Committee briefings and researching microgeneration to supporting diary management and events logistics, I engaged in a diverse array of tasks and honed critical skills in policy research and writing, while gaining insights into UK government in a unique political climate.

What I most appreciated about my experience was how Seema simultaneously supported me in exploring policy issues that aligned with my interest in the environment while also encouraging me to engage with issues that were entirely new to me, such as by drafting an op-ed on BAME representation in Parliament and PQs on leave to remain applications. Among the climate-related work I did was writing the press release for Seema signing the Divest Parliament pledge, researching and drafting an EDM around the UK’s fossil fuel subsidies, researching and tabling an EDM on providing tax incentives for electric vehicle purchases in high pollution areas, and examining the financial benefits of LED usage. Also, I did policy research into financial supports for microgeneration and arranged a meeting with constituents and industry members. Having the opportunity to do this work and to not only arrange but participate in this meeting with Seema was incredibly meaningful. It allowed me to see the intersection of policy work with the challenges facing everyday constituents and more clearly connect the broader goal of net zero emissions to daily consumer choices in terms of energy use. Furthermore, I learned a lot from doing constituency research for the Hounslow’s Promise Gala dinner. The experience helped me develop key skills in data collection, analysis, and presentation, as well as in translating data-driven insights into speechwriting.

Having the chance to attend the Brexit Select Committee every week was also an invaluable experience. It was fascinating to hear directly from industry and policy experts around the impact of Brexit, as well as to read the briefing guides beforehand and see how MPs from across the political spectrum framed questions. In addition to Select Committee, I really valued the chance to attend PMQs in person and accompany Seema to the media circus. I also always appreciated Seema’s efforts to get pictures of me with MPs and news media figures!

Moving forward, I hope to employ and deepen the skills I developed in new experiences with government and policymaking.

-Name not provided.

2019 Intern Reflection:

Despite my American accent and repeatedly failed attempts to navigate the winding halls of Westminster, I have never encountered a more simultaneously welcoming and dynamic work environment than that of the UK Parliament. Having the opportunity to engage so intimately with British politics, as well as to compare the British governmental system to the U.S. governmental system in all of its function and disfunction, is incredible. Working with MP Seema Malhotra is also a true privilege. Our office is a tight-knit community and Seema never hesitates to bring her staff right into the heart of complex policy and constituency casework as it manifests, which makes every day a unique experience. Over the course of my internship, I have developed a detailed profile of Seema’s constituency, worked on long-term policy projects such as around incentivizing electric vehicle use, written press releases and speeches, developed parliamentary questions, and managed Seema’s diary as well as social media accounts. Every week, I also sit in on the Select Committee for Exiting the European Union, which gives me a front-row seat to the discussions around Brexit as they unfold. I have also started giving tours to visiting students and constituents — from suffragette protests to secret toilets, I have quite literally learned the odds and ends of Westminster. For political and historical enthusiasts alike, this internship never ceases to amaze.

Ilana Cohen '22

2018 Intern Reflection: 

I arrived in Seema Malhotra’s office at what was obviously a very exciting moment in British politics, with a dramatic parliamentary fight over a bill that would shape Britain’s future relationship with the EU looming. But what has surprised me has been the extent to which every week the drama keeps on building. It seems like every day that some government minister is rumoured to be on their way out, or some bill is on the edge of being defeated – and I am lucky to be in Parliament, right in the middle of all the action, where I can hear the bells that call Members of Parliament to the chamber for votes from my desk.

On a day-to-day basis, my responsibilities have included researching and writing policy briefs, articles, and parliamentary questions on issues from immigration to the rights of people with disabilities. I have also sat in on meetings with stakeholders, testimony in committee, and debates between parliamentarians. I even had the opportunity to draft a speech for Seema to deliver on the floor of the House of Commons on the controversial plans for the expansion of Heathrow Airport.

Everyone in the office has been incredibly kind and supportive – it helps that British parliamentary offices only have a few staffers each, which has made it feel comfortable more or less from the beginning. I have been amazed by the degree to which everyone, up to the Member of Parliament herself, has taken an interest in me and my work, and helped me to grow in the process. In the fast-paced world of British politics and the cosmopolitan bubble that is London, I feel very lucky just to be along for the ride.

Aidan Langston '19

2017 Intern Reflection: 

My experience in the office of Seema Malhotra MP has been an incredibly rewarding whirlwind thus far. When I first arrived in London, I was thrown into the last stretches of an unanticipated campaign season ahead of the June 8th General Election. This gave me an intimate perspective both of Seema’s constituency in Greater London, and of how campaigns are run in the UK (quite differently from campaigns in the U.S.). Staying with Seema and her staff members in the constituency until 4 AM on election day to take part in the “count,” I witnessed a Labour party, fractured in light of the 2016 Brexit referendum and Jeremy Corbyn’s controversial leadership, gain sufficient seats from the Conservatives to yield a “hung parliament.”

Returning to Westminster, I learned about the many quirks and formalities of the two houses, how a bill becomes a law, how debates take place, how questions are tabled, and how different MPs interact, within and cross party. My day-to-day tasks have included researching and writing questions for weekly debates (on issues including international development, Israel/Palestine, the effect of Brexit on women, and productivity), event-planning, writing research briefs and writing/preparing policy articles for publication, conducting constituent casework, and performing ad-hoc political tasks. I also accompanied Seema for several interviews at the BBC and Sky News, located in Westminister just around Parliament Square, and conducted pre-interview preparation. 

I truly feel immersed within British politics, and have experienced a real breadth of British politics. Working out of Hounslow during the campaign provided me an excellent background for my work at Westminster.  Seema and each member of the office could hardly have been more welcoming, instructive, intelligent, and ready to offer me real experience writing and performing research-based tasks. Even the necessary administrative tasks that accompany any political job (stuffing envelopes, writing thank you letters) were enjoyable, and involved participation from all other staff members. I experienced something new each day, saw my writing in published form on several occasions, and now understand the daily tasks and unique level of dedication required of any political job.

Sunaina Danziger '19

London, England