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Page last updated at 10:51 GMT, Wednesday, 26 May 2010 11:51 UK
Pomp and ceremony as Somerset's two new MPs are sworn in

By Ruth Lovell
BBC Somerset Politics reporter

Arriving at the Houses of Parliament I have to get past three policemen before being sent to the bowels of the building for airport-style security checks.

Jacob Rees-Mogg sitting outside the Houses of Parliament
Jacob's father sits in the House of Lords

Jacob Rees-Mogg strolls straight through St Stephen's Gate. Well, he is an MP.

We reconvene in the central lobby, one of the few areas I'm allowed as an unaccompanied journalist, with its high pitched ceiling and paintings of the four patron saints of the UK.

Jacob, the Conservative MP for North East Somerset, admits to me he has already got lost.

"On my second or third day I appeared in a room that had four identical looking doors and had no idea which one to take, but fortunately there was someone who was able to guide me in the right direction."

But he manages to navigate our way to the House of Commons' canteen and then onto the terrace next to the River Thames where we catch up on the last two weeks since he was elected.

"It's been extremely exciting. First of all we didn't know who the government was going to be and now I think we've got a really good coalition with big areas of agreement."

I was able to slightly call over to him, quietly, discreetly, and say hello. I must say that was very nice, to see us at each end of the Palace of Westminster.
Jacob Rees-Mogg on his father, Baron Rees-Mogg

While senior party members were negotiating the coalition, the 227 new MPs were having a two-day induction and learning about practical things like how to employ researchers and set up an office.

"I'm going to a lecture later on about how to use the parliamentary order system to start debates and put down questions," Jacob tells me.

His father, Baron William Rees-Mogg, is a former editor-in-chief of The Times and sits in the House of Lords.

Jacob saw him when they were electing the speaker of the House of Commons.

"I was able to slightly call over to him, quietly, discreetly, and say hello. I must say that was very nice, to see us at each end of the Palace of Westminster."

But away from Westminster Jacob has already started on the casework that will take up most of his time as a constituency MP. He's held two surgeries and begun liaising with "other parts of the governmental system and the bureaucracy".

And he's already claiming one success: the green belt around Bath and Bristol.

"The regional spatial strategy has, within two weeks of us getting into government, been abolished so I think the green belt is going to be safe which is terrific news."

'Perched on Charles Kennedy'

Casework is also on Tessa Munt's mind when I see her. The new MP for Wells describes her "quite enormous postbag, which is coming in every day".

As she does not yet have an office her kitchen table is covered in paperwork, and in Westminster she's "perched on the end of Charles Kennedy's desk actually, to be precise".

Getting a constituency office is one of Tessa's priorities. She wants somewhere with good transport links, in the centre of her constituency which stretches from Wells to Burnham-on-Sea.

Tessa Munt in the House of Commons
Tessa has already been noticed for wanting to change the rules in the Commons

"There are people who sort of turn up unexpectedly," she tells me. "This weekend when I was out there, there was someone who came to the house with a problem."

The day before the Queen's Speech is the last day for MPs to be sworn in, and as "minnows" in the parliamentary order, Tessa and Jacob are towards the end.

I am admitted to the gallery above the House of Commons chamber for Tessa's swearing in. She pledges her allegiance to the Queen, signs the register to be officially made a member of parliament and shakes hands with the speaker of the commons.

"He clasps your hand and pats it a bit and makes you promise to be a very active and very energetic member of this parliament.

"So I was very happy to say to him of course I would be, and I was very sorry if I was too active and too energetic."

Unlike Tessa, I even get a wave from the speaker, John Bercow. The doormen tell me it is only the second wave he has dispensed to the gallery during the swearing in of more than 600 MPs.

And the doormen seem to know who Tessa is already. "The one who wants to change the rules," they call her, not unkindly, after she asked a series of questions during their induction.

Tessa says she is looking forward to her first speech in the commons, which she hopes to deliver during the days of Queen's Speech debates.

"I would like to make my maiden speech about the issue of pylons [which National Grid want to run from Hinkley Point to Avonmouth] because it's so critical to such a large part of my constituency.

"It will be my one opportunity to speak for up to 15 minutes without any interruption or barracking or anyone jumping up and down, so I'm going to make the most of that and give it some."




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