THERE is often an assumption that all the work of Parliament is conducted in the Chamber of the House of Commons.

Indeed, if you went by news reports alone you would be forgiven in thinking that Prime Minister’s Questions was the only thing going on in Parliament every week!

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, of course, the business of the Chamber matters. It is where the noise and heat of British politics plays out – and it is nothing short of the engine room of the nation.

It is in the Chamber where the big events take place – the King’s Speech debate, Budget Day, and of course, Prime Minister’s Questions.

However, most of the Parliamentary work done by me and my colleagues is elsewhere. Meeting ministers is a vital part of this, but so is the committee work of Parliament.

I sit on the Public Administration Constitutional Affairs Select Committee (PACAC). The responsibility of this committee is to follow the Cabinet Office, which is a Government department that cuts across the whole of the civil service and Whitehall. In many respects, it is the department that supports the Prime Minister and No. 10 itself.

As a committee we also carry out enquiries, and one of the most recent ones was on international treaties and how there can be proper scrutiny by Parliament of such treaties.

Within an ever more complex world, these treaties have become far more important and deserving of review and challenge by MPs. Right now the committee is looking at the relationship between ministers and civil servants.

To help understand this issue, we are comparing our system with those of comparable countries such as Australia and New Zealand, as well as slightly more different systems in Germany and France.

Committee work is often undervalued and overlooked but it is one of the key aspects of our parliamentary democracy. Committee members are from all the different parties of the House, and the work done together is very different from the adversarial way the business of the Chamber operates.

I am also presently chairing a small select committee on the proposal to build a Holocaust Memorial in Victoria Gardens in London, right next to Parliament. The topic is an extremely emotive and sensitive one, and is sadly still very topical given what is going on in Israel and Palestine and in regards to the various protests in London.

It is an unusual committee, as it deals with a bill which covers both public and private aspects – known as a hybrid bill. There are special procedures for such committees and they are in fact very rare.

Finally, I am also about to sit on a bill committee relating to reform of building societies. Again, this is a slightly unusual committee because it is from a private members bill that was initiated by a Labour MP but with Government and Conservative MP support (including myself).

It is an opportunity to upgrade legislation relating to the functions and powers of building societies, and I think it will undoubtedly have a direct impact and benefit to these institutions – including to the Cumberland Building Society.

The House of Commons chamber is world famous and it is the most iconic room in British politics – but it is always important to remember that, as is frequently the case, it is the work that is done away from the limelight that can often be more important as well as actually more impactful.