We take a look into what a typical day of MEP for West Midlands Daniel Dalton looks like. Daniel has been an MEP since January 2015 and is a member of a number of committees including the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the Committee of Inquiry into Emission Measurements in the Automotive Sector.
There is no such thing as a typical day as an MEP and I often wake up not entirely sure which city, or even country I’m in.
However when I’m in Brussels each day is fairly similar. It starts around 7:00 when I get my son up and get him ready for school, followed normally by a mad dash in our car to drop him off at school and then a slow crawl in the Brussels traffic to the Parliament. Mornings are always a bit hectic but with a bit of luck I make it into the Parliament for 9.00am.
I am a member of four committees, but my main role is as Coordinator for the ECR group on the Internal Market Committee. On a committee day we typically have votes first thing in the morning so my preparation for that will have taken place late into the night before when my office and I are working with our ECR group advisers to finalise our voting position. The advisers really are the unsung heroes of the parliament.
After votes I will normally remain in committee if I can, as Coordinator I like to try to be present for as many committee discussions as possible. If it is one of the many days when my other three committees are also taking place I may have to leave for another voting session or an item of interest. Keeping abreast of all four committees and making sure I’m where I need to be at the right time takes a lot of work from my office.
I have many meeting requests from stakeholders and my view has always been that I should try to meet as many people from all sides of the spectrum as possible on legislation going through the parliament.
Issues can range from those affecting local businesses who are worried about the often unintentional impact of EU legislation on their businesses to pan-European industry coalitions lobbying on issues such as the Digital Single Market proposals.
Of late I have been very busy working on the new type approval regulations in the wake of the emissions scandal so I normally end up holding several meetings in between morning and afternoon committee meetings. I try to grab a quick cooked meal in the canteen, but some days there just is not time and I end up snacking whenever I can. Like many of my colleagues I have found the MEP lifestyle is not exactly healthy.
In the afternoon I may be hosting a visitors group from the constituency and showing them around the building. Often I will be mixing attending committee items with speaking engagements at events in and around the parliament. These panel discussions usually bring together experts from various sectors and can prove useful both in increasing my understanding of issues and for publicly highlighting my positions.
I normally try and make time later in the day to deal with the raft of current casework issues that have come in via email. UK MEPs receive a lot of constituency mail and I aim to answer all of this mail as quickly as possible.
The referendum in the UK has increased public awareness of MEPs and we are now receiving more enquiries than ever before. There has also been a spike in local media interest in what is happening in Brussels and quite often I get an inquiry a couple of hours before to see if I’m available to speak to local radio during the evening news programmes, which I have to juggle around picking up my son from school when I can.
I will try to get my son from school at 6, sometimes I will rush back to pick him up, and then go back into the Parliament for evening receptions or events. If I can, I will spend a bit of family time in the early evening and then I normally spend the last couple of hours of the day writing articles requested by UK websites or updating the blog on my own website (www.danieldaltonmep.co.uk).