How much do you give approximately?
A lot of my work is to do with charitable objectives. The reason I am in politics is because I want to improve lives for my constituents. It's hard to decide what is giving time and what is part of your work. About 10 per cent of work that takes place in Parliament involves charities.
Are there any particular causes you support?
Human rights and development because I feel these are common to my socialist principles. I also support mental health organisations because my father suffered from schizophrenia. I know how debilitating mental illness is not only for the sufferer but also for those around them.
Do you consider approaches from charitable organisations?
We get a lot of enquiries. Unless it comes into a category I'm interested in it tends not to get read. You get some heart-rending appeals but you have to whittle it down to a small number of things you can actually do something about.
What is a good way to approach you?
I always tell charities not to inundate an MP with lots of information.
Sometimes you get communications and can't find out what they want because the information is buried. I prefer to receive a skeleton of the argument and then if it grabs my interest, I'll follow it up.
What is the most annoying thing about being approached?
Using a circular or giving the impression that you're approaching everyone.
This type of approach causes confusion and shows a complete lack of thought.