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Making the most of the summer recess

What you should be doing while the MPs are on their holidays

Parliament has broken up for summer, meaning we can expect to see more pictures of MPs tucking into ice creams, strolling along beach fronts and pointing at fish over the coming weeks. Theresa May's been soaking up the sunshine in Italy while Jeremy Corbyn's been spotted cycling in Croatia, and Giles Watling (MP for Clacton), has been enjoying a slightly less glamorous break 'at a rented beach hut in Frinton'.

The house usually returns on 5 September, but with a report in The Sunday Times suggesting that Conservative leaders may be planning to extend the recess until early October in order to prevent MPs from plotting to oust May, it could be an even longer summer holiday than normal.

If you're not lucky enough to enjoy a three-month break like our politicians, here's how you can make the best use of the summer period.

1. Do your research

During the general election in June, 26 MPs stood down and 70 seats changed hands, meaning there are a lot of new faces in Westminster that you need to get to know. Summer recess is a great time to do your research. Find out which MPs are passionate about the issues that matter to you and identify some potential advocates for your cause. This is also a great time to start prepping your next campaign, bringing together all the key stats and messages that will help you grab the attention of UK policymakers, and think about the kind of assets you can create that will help you to do this.

2. Prepare for conference

The tumultuous events of the past year mean that the 2017 conference season is set to be one of the busiest and most interesting yet, as the parties set out their visions for Brexit and other important issues. It's also a chance to suss out the key players in the shadow cabinet (now with a real chance at power) and get a better idea of how the new Lib Dem leader, Vince Cable, plans to steer the ship. Having a presence at conference means you can communicate directly with the policymakers who matter, so it's worth using the summer recess to make your plans and set your messaging.

3. Catch MPs during their downtime

Despite the recess, parliamentary work will still continue. MPs often use the break to look over committee papers and read up on future business, while some will even launch a new pet project, such as a campaign or a private members’ bill. Take advantage of this by contacting an MP during recess and putting your message on their agenda. Politicians are busy people, and once their normal schedule resumes in the autumn, it'll be much harder to get their attention – or their support.

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