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Page last updated at 11:46 GMT, Friday, 20 August 2010 12:46 UK
Wells MP Tessa Munt's "raid" for furniture

By Ruth Lovell
BBC Somerset politics reporter

Tessa Munt in office
Tessa Munt was elected as MP for Wells in May's general election

I do not know whether to come armed with a sledgehammer when going to visit the new offices of Wells MP Tessa Munt.

I have been warned the office is still a work in progress, and walls may be knocked down around me.

In fact the wall has been demolished four days before my visit, leaving a partition-shaped gap in the carpet of her one-room office in Wedmore.

Dodging fire extinguishers and boxes I am allowed to sit on the "smart chair" while she pulls up a chair from her medley of second hand and reclaimed office furniture.

"I did actually do a raid on some of the outgoing MPs offices," she admits. "There was a lot of stuff in the corridors at Portcullis House. It was clearly going to be binned."

"I literally loaded my car on about three Thursdays running. I don't frankly mind if my box files are second hand."

'Absolutely fabulous'

Tessa Munt in office
Tessa Munt chose Wedmore as she says it is in the middle of her constituency

Sitting around a large cardboard box, which doubles as a table, she points out the office printer, borrowed from her caseworker.

As a new MP, and the first Liberal Democrat MP for Wells since World War II, there was nowhere for Tessa Munt to work from after her election in May, so she went office-hunting.

"The most important thing for me was making sure we were actually accessible from ever single part of the constituency," she says.

"Wedmore is one of the only places where you can get easily to the north, to Street and Glastonbury, Cheddar, Rowberrow, Highbridge, Burnham, and you can get across through into Wells, to Shepton Mallet and the other parts of the constituency."

The five week parliamentary recess is the first opportunity she has had to settle into her new office, as well as having a holiday, and conducting 'tours' of the constituency holding surgeries for local people.

In the next few weeks she is due to visit around 25 towns and villages meeting constituents, before returning to Westminster on 6 September.

Tessa Munt was elected as an MP at her fourth time of trying, and says so far it is all she expected.

"It's a very serious job, but I'm having a ball. It's absolutely fabulous... I learn several new things every day. I'm really enjoying it."




SEE ALSO
Lib Dems take Wells from Tories
07 May 10 |  England
Life as a House of Commons "minnow"
26 May 10 |  People & Places

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