AS MPs return to the House of Commons this week, following the Easter recess, we're taking a look at how they're contributing to the great wheels of our democracy.

With every question asked and every word spoken by our MPs meticulously captured for the public record in the House of Commons Library, there is a healthy amount of data out there to look at.

We've broken down the parliamentary activities of our north Cumbrian representatives by numbers; read on to see how your MP is doing by a number of different metrics, between the state opening of Parliament on December 16 2019 and March 7 this year...

Votes cast & participation rate

Of the 491 votes in this period:

  • John Stevenson (Carlisle): 408 ayes/noes; 83 no vote/abstentions - 83 per cent participation rate
  • Trudy Harrison (Copeland): 433 ayes/noes; 58 no vote/abstentions - 88 per cent participation rate
  • Neil Hudson (Penrith & The Border): 438 ayes/noes; 53 no vote/abstentions - 89 per cent participation rate
  • Mark Jenkinson (Workington): 430 ayes/noes; 61 no vote/abstentions - 88 per cent participation rate

The average participation rate for all UK politicians who have sat in the House of Commons since the last election (excluding the Speakers) is 81 per cent - so our MPs are all participating more than average!

Several MPs had participation rates as high as 95 per cent, while Tory MP Sir Christopher Chope voted in just 36 per cent of divisions.

The Conservatives had the highest average rate of 86 per cent, while Alba's two Scottish MPs had the lowest – just 51 per cent.

Meanwhile, Labour had an overall rate of 77 per cent.

The HoC Library said MPs may not vote because they are carrying out other work related to their parliamentary, government or opposition roles.

And participation rates may be affected by 'pairing arrangements', whereby MPs from different parties who cannot attend a division agree to cancel out one another’s vote.

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Debates participated in & words spoken

Before divisions, debates are held for Members to discuss government policy, new laws and topical issues of the day to help the House reach an informed decision.

  • John Stevenson (Carlisle): Taken part in 26 debates, speaking a total of 10,014 words
  • Trudy Harrison (Copeland): Taken part in 33 debates, speaking a total of 19,226 words
  • Neil Hudson (Penrith & The Border): Taken part in 83 debates, speaking a total of 23,773 words
  • Mark Jenkinson (Workington): Taken part in 68 debates, speaking a total of 15,647 words

The average MP has spoken 44,530 words over the same period. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said around 394,000 and Democratic Unionist Party MP Jim Shannon a whopping 560,000.

These include spoken contributions and oral questions in the House of Commons chamber and in Westminster Hall... but not those shorter than four words.

Questions asked

  • John Stevenson (Carlisle): 61 parliamentary questions
  • Trudy Harrison (Copeland): 2 parliamentary questions
  • Neil Hudson (Penrith & The Border): 97 parliamentary questions
  • Mark Jenkinson (Workington): 81 parliamentary questions

Questions are put formally to a government minister about a matter they are responsible for – to seek information or to press for action from the Government.

The figures above include those put to a government minister in person; those put in writing; and topical questions – those asked during the last 15 minutes of most ministerial question sessions - as well as questions asked during Prime Minister's Questions, the weekly session when the PM faces scrutiny in the House.

The HoC Library said Members with roles in Government – such as Trudy Harrison – tend to ask fewer parliamentary questions but speak relatively frequently on their portfolio subjects.

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