Welcome to the new FAQs page, which has been designed to answer some of the most common questions I am asked. This page will be reviewed and updated regularly, but if there is something else you think should be added to it please let me know.
Is Catherine my MP?
You can easily check by using the FindYourMP tool at the website of Parliament. All you need to do is type your home postcode into the relevant box. The tool can be found here
Can Catherine help if she is not my MP?
No, even if the problem you experienced happened in Hornsey & Wood Green. Very strict rules dictate that MPs can only offer assistance to people who live in and businesses that are located in the constituency they represent. The FindYourMP tool will provide details for your MP and you should then make contact with him or her.
What problems can Catherine help me with?
Catherine can primarily offer assistance with matters that Parliament and Central Government are responsible for. She will also try and help when a private company has caused problems to you.
Catherine is not elected to Haringey Council and has no direct control over the decisions that it makes on the various issues for which it has responsibility. These include social housing, refuse collection, education and planning decisions. For those issues you should contact your locally elected councillors in the first instance as they will be best placed to offer assistance. You can find their details and information about their advice surgeries here.
Catherine cannot intervene in ongoing legal disputes.
How long will I usually have to wait for a reply?
Catherine receives many hundreds of requests for help by email, phone, letter and at her advice surgeries. Along with her caseworkers, she works to ensure that all enquiries are dealt with as quickly as possible but please allow up to 15 working days for a response. Sometimes, with very complex cases or at times of peak demand, it may take a little longer. Emails are treated with the same priority as all other forms of communication.
If, after that time, you have not had a response to an enquiry, please resend your email or call Catherine's office on 020 7219 6141.
How can I contact Catherine?
You can write to Catherine West MP, House of Commons, Westminster, SW1A 0AA, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call her office Monday-Friday on 0207 219 6141.
You can also come along to one of her regular drop-in advice surgeries. Full details are here.
How can I get a ticket for a tour of Parliament?
Catherine is always happy to try and help arrange a tour of Parliament for her constituents. Tours booked by MPs are free but are also very popular and booked up many months in advance. If you would like Catherine to try and arrange a tour of Parliament for you, please contact her via email. Be sure to include your full name and address in the constituency.
Commercial tours of Parliament are also run at weekends and when Parliament is in recess. The commercial tours can be personally guided as part of a group or with an audio headset. You can also book a commercial tour that includes an afternoon tea. Further details can be found here.
How can I get a ticket for a tour of Big Ben?
Catherine receives a large number of requests but is only able to apply for two tickets for Big Ben tours each month so she operates a waiting list. However, at the moment we aren't accepting any new applications. This is because Big Ben will be undergoing large scale repair works from December 2016 and there will be no tours for three years. The waiting list will re-open once tours start again.
Please note that Big Ben tours are only suitable for people who can climb a large amount of stairs. Children must also be at least eleven years old before going on the tour. Babes in arms cannot be taken on the tour.
How can I get a ticket for Prime Minister's Questions?
The Public Gallery for the House of Commons is very small. MPs receive three pairs of tickets for Prime Minister’s Questions in any one calendar year and can only apply for an additional two tickets each month. Catherine receives a large number of requests so she operates a waiting list for her tickets. This now exceeds the length of the Parliament so regrettably she is not able to add any further names at present.
If there is a particular date you want to attend, you can also queue up and try to get tickets on the day. You can find details here, but please note that you will only gain entrance if there is space after ticket holders.
Catherine can request tickets for the Public Gallery for a Parliamentary Question time session on an alternative day of the week. These take place on Mondays at 2.30pm, Tuesdays at 11.30am and Thursdays at 11.30am. If you would like to attend on any date, please contact her office directly. Be sure to include your full name and address in the constituency.
Can Catherine sign an Early Day Motion?
There is a Parliamentary convention that it is not appropriate for Government Ministers or Shadow Ministers to sign Early Day Motions (EDMs). As Catherine has been appointed to a Shadow Ministerial role in the Opposition's front bench team, it is no longer possible for her to sponsor or attach her name to EDMs in most circumstances. However, she will continue to monitor and raise issues that constituents contact her about in Parliament in the forthcoming session.