Journal: MP shadow Nicole Reece

Parliamentary Ambassador Nicole Reece is paired with Labour MP Meg Hillier. Here is Nichole's journal of her journey so far.

Ok - so I am sitting here still trying to catch by breath on what has been a whirlwind few months as I follow my path into the political world…

When I got confirmation that I had been selected to participate on the Parlamentary Shadowing Scheme I was ecstatic. I knew this was going to be an invaluable opportunity.

Why did I apply? Well I have always had a general interest in politics and have been an active trade unionist for the last few years but for me the point when I thought to myself I'm going to get involved in politics - I want to make a difference was after I had recovered from a serious illness. Forgive me for the cliché but through that journey made me see so much more clearly. It put things into perspective.

No longer was I prepared to sit on the sidelines and moan - I was ready to become active and be able to influence and more importantly be able to inspire, encourage and empower others.

If I inspire just one person to get more involved in politics and become active in their communities then for me that is success.

And so it begins…..

The scheme induction was held in Parliament. I was excited to be there and even more so when I met my fellow shadows. I remember the buzz, the positive energy and the encouraging words from all the speakers. I looked around the table and felt inspired by the wealth of talent and experience sitting around it. We each have something unique to bring and will make a valuable contribution in the future….


Yes, I was one of those who became completely immersed in the election. I ate, drank and slept politics. I started to get involved with my CLP (Constituency Labour Party) and had my first positive experience of canvassing a tower block though my poor feet would beg to differ.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and there was such a buzz locally. It was inspiring to be out in the community and listening to different experiences. It is only when you start to listen to people that you can begin to make a difference. It was invaluable to witness the realities of election campaigning. I also helped out on election day as a polling station teller - again it was great to be out and see democracy in action!


It was pretty full on - I attended strategy meetings with the local CLP and will continue to play a more active role as time goes on. It has also been a mix of attending various Leadership and Mayoral hustings, helping out on campaigns and just learning as much as I can.

This is really happening….

The launch of the scheme at Portcullis House, Westminster in July was inspiring! So many gifted and talented people in one room! Takes your breath away! I felt honoured and humbled to be a part of something that will contribute to change. It was great to see a number of MPs come down to show their support and to hear words from all the speakers which stirred something inside me.

The inner politician had been awakened….I was ready! What made my day though is that my Mentor Meg Hillier MP came to meet me just before the launch kicked off - it was so kind of her to do that. It was a good first meeting and we clicked straight away.

That afternoon I received a nice e-mail from Meg's Researcher and I was thrilled that they were keen to arrange dates for shadowing. They suggested it would be great to get some shadowing in prior to parliament recess and offered me dates to attend one of Meg's constituency surgeries.

July 22nd - Great minds…

I was delighted to be invited down for coffee (in my case hot chocolate) at Porticullis House and to have a good chat with Meg about what I want to get out of the scheme. It really was a brilliant meeting and I found her very supportive, genuine and down to earth. We discussed areas of policy which I am interested in and we have used that as a basis to shape what activities I can get involved in.

Meg gave me a realistic insight into the political world and lots of advice on a number of things e.g. enhancing my political CV. We have provisionally planned in shadowing dates in September which will include attending Prime Ministers Questions, Bill readings and attending roving surgeries.

I cannot wait to get involved and I am so pleased that Meg is really enthusiastic. I left that meeting uplifted and a lot of food for thought. I realised that it's time for me to look at those gaps in my political CV and actively work on those and also to look at myself with a critical eye. What can I do better? How should I develop? I am already gaining much from this experience.

Great Insight

So far my shadowing experience has been very interesting, insightful and realistic. Here's a quick snapshot:

I met Meg at Hackney Town Hall and was fortunate to sit in on a meeting with her, the Mayor of Hackney and Diane Abbott. It gave me a real flavour of the types of local issues MPs deal with and the processes they use to reach a resolution. After this I went with Meg to her Constituency Surgery.

I was struck by the amount of people who turned up - Meg prioritised seeing people with young children which I thought was an understanding gesture. For me being able to see the surgery in action totally nailed why I want to play an active role in politics - why I want to make a difference.

Meg kindly introduced me to every constituent that came in to see her and they were all were happy for me to be present. I sat there listening to real issues and seeing raw emotions. Meg truly cares about her constituents and works hard for them and this was so refreshing to see. There are so many people out there who just need a voice to speak on their behalf; someone to genuinely fight their corner and

Meg does this with sincerity and empathy. I am not interested in the rose-tinted pomp and ceremony of politics - this is grassroots and that is what captures my heart! Recently I have also attended a number of bill debates and question time sessions in Parliament.

I have been captivated by the theatrical nature of some of it but watching policy being shaped, democracy in action that will impact on so many lives was what really pulled me in.

One day I want to be a part of that, to make a real difference and be a voice for the many and not the few - that is my motivation.

How do I feel so far?

I feel that no matter the obstacles I will have my say and I will be heard. There are people out there who need a voice and if you are blessed to be that voice then use it!

I feel that this experience will equip me with the tools I need to continue towards achieving my own political ambitions but more importantly helping to make a difference - through inspiring and empowering. I believe we must be the best role models we can be by motivating, inspiring and empowering others to be the agents for positive change.

I am an optimistic realist and I am in no doubt that the road ahead will not be an easy one as I know what we are up against however I am certain that we can be the change we want to see. My part may be small but that small part can contribute towards big change.

I am optimistic - change is happening, progress is being made and you just have to look at the exciting changes to our political landscape since the election to see this. There is a great rise in the number of Black and Minority Ethnic MPs - in particular women.

Diane Abbott’s  Labour leadership bid really energised it; and Oona King’s attempt for Labour's London Mayoral candidacy was fantastic and helped to re-engage people too.

I am looking forward to what comes next…..

I would also like to say a massive thank you to OBV for giving me this unique and fantastic opportunity.

Nicole was diagnosed with Breast cancer 3 years ago, read about her campaign for breast awareness: Click here.