Graduates begin third Parliamentary Internship Scheme


Three young graduates, chosen to take part in the third Parliamentary Internship Scheme, started work this month at the House of Commons.

The Catholic Bishops' of England & Wales introduced the internship scheme in 2003 in order to support the work of Catholics in public life. The graduates will also be involved in a programme organized by the Conference , aimed at introducing interns to its work and those of its agencies.

Peter Smith, a Cambridge politics graduate will be working with Edward Leigh, Conservative MP for Gainsborough. Laura McCann has been assigned to Geraldine Smith, Labour MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale and Fergal McLoughlin will be working with Jim Dobbins MP for Heywood and Middleton.

Edward Leigh said he was keen to welcome Peter to his team. He said: "The Catholic point of view is under-represented in Parliament and I am looking forward to working with this young man who shares our values."

Jim Dobbin said: "There is a shortage of young people in politics. I've had a couple of interns from Salford university working with me as part of their degree work and one through this scheme and they all did very well. This is a wonderful opportunity for Catholic MPs."

Geraldine Smith, who was recently awarded the title Parliamentary campaigner of the year for her work on behalf of Chinese migrant workers in the UK, said: "Hopefully this scheme can be mutually beneficial. It's important that people realise there are many decent politicians working very hard in this country. A scheme like this can help people to be more aware of what really happens in politics."

The scheme was praised by Archbishop Peter Smith, who said: "The Conference's document the Common Good outlined very clearly the Catholic and Christian tradition of public service in all the major British political parties. Politics is an honourable vocation, which often exacts great personal cost from those who engage in it, and from their families. This scheme is a small step in encouraging Catholics to consider a vocation in public life and to encourage the political community to engage with us in this project."