Off the record... Researchers' stories
The MP I work for is a bit ‘old school'. Indeed, my lasting legacy to his office when I leave will be teaching him how to Google and archive his old emails.
So imagine my surprise when he called me from the constituency on his brand new iPhone.
However, there was one slight problem. Although I could hear him, he was having difficulty hearing me.
From a landline later that afternoon, he assured me that he was receiving a full signal and had cleaned his ears the night before. He told me he would take it back to the shop over the weekend and update me on Monday.
Imagine his embarrassment when he went back to the shop to complain about his handset, only to be told that he'd forgotten to remove the scratch resistant film from the screen, which was covering the speaker!
Be careful who you kiss
Being the romantic that I am, I frequently text my girlfriend to see if she is okay. Normally I put a kiss at the end of my text, which just proves what a Romeo I am. However, sometimes I go on autopilot and stick a kiss at the end of my texts inadvertently. You can guess how embarrassed I was to receive a text from my MP saying: "Thanks [for the information]. By the way, I don't think that kiss was meant for me. If it was, I think we need to have a chat."
Yep, that's right - I sent my relatively old, married, female MP a kiss at the end of the text. It was never mentioned again.
Spider man frightens
I work in a constituency office which could double up as the set for the TV show Most Haunted. I am often in envy of my colleagues who sit in their plush Portcullis House offices in Westminster while I sit in my draughty cold office alongside the ghosts of past diary secretaries.
One thing I must contend with is spiders. Funnily enough, my MP is petrified of them. Feeling mischievous one day, I put a dead one on her seat before she came in one Friday evening for surgery. I think you could have heard the scream in London.
Plastic plant stumps work experience studentMost researchers know that work experience students are occasionally more trouble than they are worth. Admittedly some can be excellent, but most are a nightmare. I recall one girl (she was blonde) who told me one morning that while I was out she had watered the plants. I thought this rather strange as we don't have any plants or fl owers in the office apart from a fake one in the corner. That's right - she had watered a plastic plant! (Again, I remind you that she was blonde.)
Time to wage war on IPSA
And as per usual, the monthly update from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA)...
My colleague was not paid for his first month's work. After noticing this, he contacted IPSA, who then overpaid him. It took IPSA three months to fi nally pay him the correct wage. Given that he was getting married during the second month, neither he nor his now wife were very impressed!
It's not always good to talkOur party's annual staff drinks reception is usually famed for its combination of licentiousness and social awkwardness.
Last year was possibly my worst. I ended up talking to - horror of horrors - a researcher from ‘The Other Place', with all the conversation of a comatose gerbil.
It was so awkward I ended up giving him my card to curtail the conversation, but now he keeps calling for lunch dates! I will be leading calls to reform the second chamber from now on.
If you have a true story, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org