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

This is a placement in the office of Labour and Co-operative MP (Member of Parliament) for Feltham and Heston, Seema Malhotra MP who since October 2016 has been a Member of the influential Select Committee for Exiting the European Union. In September 2015 she was appointed Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, number two in Labour's Treasury team - a post she held until June 2016.

Prior to that, in August 2014, she was appointed a Shadow Home Office Minister. She was formerly an Opposition Whip and Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party Business Interest Group. She is a former Chair of the national Fabian Society Executive and founder and President of the Fabian Women’s Network.

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, Research and Diary skills, and experience of front line politics in Westminster. For anyone interested in real politics in Britain, this is an incredible opportunity to view it up close and behind the scenes. The internship will mostly based in Westminster with some project work in the constituency.

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