Parliamentary Internship: Labour MP for Leeds West, Rachel Reeves

Parliamentary Internship: Labour MP for Leeds West, Rachel Reeves

LOCATION: London, United Kingdom

INDUSTRY: Elected Officials

ABOUT US: Rachel Reeves is the Labour Member of Parliament for Leeds West and Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office. She is a senior and high-profile figure in the opposition Labour Party. Rachel is the former Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 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.

RESPONSIBILITIES & PROJECTS: 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 briefing, diary and correspondence skills.


REMOTE WORK ENVIRONMENT: The office has adapted to remote working during the past year, with all staff currently working predominantly or entirely from home. We have team meetings via Zoom at least once per day, plus other virtual meetings as required. An intern will have regular one-to-one virtual meetings with Rachel's Head of Office, in addition to remote time with Rachel.

There are also opportunities for 'virtual networking' beyond Rachel's office. In particular, there are regular virtual meetings for staff of all Labour MPs and virtual meetings for staff of the Shadow Cabinet Office team. We are also able to facilitate virtual introductions to other figures within parliament and the party.

TIME ZONE: GMT

WORKING HOURS: There is flexibility regarding which hours the intern works.

EQUIPMENT & SOFTWARE: 

  • Access to high-speed Wi-Fi
  • Personal laptop
  • Web Camera
  • Microsoft Office (Word, Powerpoint, Excel)

2020 Intern Reflection:

Rachel and her team have been absolutely great to work with, and her position in the Shadow Cabinet has made the work more rewarding and broadened its impact. Early in the summer, her Head of Office met with me to discuss my goals, the tasks I am interested in, and what I hope to get out of the internship. Her team then actively ensured I was doing projects I cared about and was invested in. Over the course of the summer, I have researched and written various niche briefings on topics from domestic violence, to manufacturing and trade bodies, to the legacy of slavery in Leeds, which were used as a basis for speeches and requests to leading government ministers. I helped organize and plan visits to her constituency, and I researched and created a comprehensive social media strategy for each of her accounts that was then implemented throughout June. I also sift through local news several times a week to compile press reviews, research policy topics (especially Covid-19 and economic support scheme related issues), liaise with staff of other Shadow Cabinet ministers, and assist/respond to constituents' questions and concerns with policy casework.

I have quickly learned a lot about the structure of the UK government, their policies, and their coronavirus response. Working in Rachel's office has been an invaluable learning experience, and I feel like a valued contributor to the team.

-Julia Manso '23

2019 Intern Reflection:

Working in Rachel's office is such an incredible experience! The work changes daily, but you have the opportunity to work on projects that make a difference. Because the office is small, the work that you do will make it into the House of Commons chamber, be used in one of Rachel's speeches, or be a part of a select committee report. One of my favorite projects I worked on this summer was developing a framework to help the UK implement a net-zero carbon emissions strategy, which Rachel was key in passing. I got to work with people throughout Parliament and from different industries in the UK about what changes could me made to make net-zero a reality. Other day to day work includes policy casework - responding to constituent questions about Rachel's stances on a variety of issues - and managing Rachel's calendar, both of which are great opportunities to learn about British politics. Rachel is a fantastic person to work with, and the two other staff members are equally as amazing. All three made me feel welcome in the office and a valued member of staff. There's plenty of laughing and banter that goes around, making the office a lively place to work in. Interning in Parliament is an unparalleled opportunity and one that I have gained so much from!

Lauren Anderson '21

2018 Intern Reflection:

Everyday with Rachel Reeves’ office is different. There are two other full time staffers in our one-room office, and the mood will switch from intense concentration on work to laughing and "banter" in seconds. Because the team is small, as an intern I get a lot of responsibility both in terms of projects and the day-to-day operations in the office. I help answer phones, receive guests, prepare briefings, filter mail, and draft content for social media. One of my major tasks is communicating with constituents about their policy concerns and Rachel's positions. I enjoy this "policy casework" not only because it allows me to learn more about the issues, but also because it connects me back to the reason I was first drawn to public service: serving the people.

Rachel is an incredible politician and an even better person. She has gone out of her way to make me feel a part of the team, even scheduling time to sit one-on-one and learn more about my career goals. It is important to her that this internship be meaningful for me, and she invites me to meetings and events that she thinks would be of interest. The growth-focus of the office has allowed me to improve as an employee. Beyond learning how to make a proper cup of tea, I've had the opportunity to build on my communication skills and sharpen my information synthesis abilities.

Abby Bloomfield ‘20

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

London, England