Announcing the ‘Parliamentary Staffer of the Year’ finalists for the Pagefield Parliamentarian Awards with Dods

Monday 26th February

While it’s usually MPs and Peers you see on the airwaves or standing up to speak in Parliament, at Pagefield we know our politicians couldn’t carry out their important work without the people who work for them. From researchers getting to grips with complex issues and drafting speeches, to caseworkers helping local constituents and communications officers preparing press releases, to office managers essentially running MPs’ entire operations, it is the staffers whose often unsung work behind the scenes ultimately oils the machinery of Westminster and constituency offices. 

For this year’s Pagefield Parliamentarian Awards, supported by Dods, we have given MPs and those who work for them the chance to nominate staffers for the inaugural ‘Parliamentary Staffer of the Year’ award and highlight the role they play. The calibre of nominees was fierce, with these individuals going above and beyond to not only support their individual MP but to also have a profound effect on the constituency or even country at large. 

Rebecca Natton, Senior Parliamentary Researcher to Emma Lewell-Buck MP (Labour) 

Rebecca was nominated for her work helping to run the Child of the North APPG, the purpose of which is to create a fairer future for children across the North of England. She led on a Ten Minute Rule Bill attempting to amend the Healthy Start Scheme to ensure that families eligible for the scheme are registered to receive it. 

She was also nominated for her work to add in an amendment to the Victims Bill allowing families of those killed in mass casualty events to sign their names on the certificate of death, working alongside bereaved families of the Manchester Arena attacks.  

Martina Williamson, Senior Research Assistant to Pauline Latham (Conservative) 

Martina was nominated for her dedicated work in the Mid Derbyshire constituency and within the local community, balanced with her home life as a mother to four children. 

She has championed the elderly community through national awareness days and campaigns to help end loneliness, encouraging local schools to make time for the older generation in the community. 

She was also nominated for her work following the unprecedented flooding that hit Derbyshire, helping to organise her neighbours to help her redirect busy traffic to prevent cars driving through flood waters. 

She has been described as “passionate about recognising local people and the positive impact they have on the community” and “committed to ensuring that local people know how valued they are and the difference their actions make to the lives of others.”   

Sally Donald, Constituency Manager to Drew Hendry MP (SNP) 

Sally was nominated for her work for women’s safety and inclusion, including campaigning for greater support and systemic change for women working in Parliament. 

She has been described as a “tireless campaigner and advocate for women’s safety and women’s inclusion in the political sphere” and has been invited to join the ParliGender committee to continue her work on gender equality. 

In her spare time, Sally has dedicated her time to campaigning for women’s safety, co-founding a campaign to make Public Sexual Harassment illegal in Scotland, hosting a parliamentary reception on International Women’s Day, hosting a protest rally to mark the one-year anniversary of the murder of Sarah Everard, and speaking to national media outlets to further her cause. 

Mark Hudson, Senior Researcher to Tulip Siddiq MP (Labour)  

Mark was nominated for his work supporting Tulip Siddiq’s shadow ministerial brief as Shadow City Minister, balancing a demanding role in an MP’s office alongside his duties as a new father.  

He has worked on issues such as utilising finance to support green infrastructure and expanding banking hubs across the UK, focusing on creating policy with tangible benefits for communities across the UK. 

He was described as “one of the most proactive, hard-working and widely respected members of staff in Parliament.” 

Ellie Varley, Head of Communications to Dehenna Davison MP (Conservative) 

Ellie was nominated for her important work to raise awareness of, and better schemes to deal with, sexual misconduct in Parliament. 

She has spoken to BBC Newsnight about sexual misconduct, saying the problem “transcends party politics” and that staff in Westminster do not feel safe to report issues because of a lack of trust in the system. 

She has said: This is something that everyone will have a story of. Every staffer will know someone who has experienced this [sexual misconduct] and that’s thousands of people who are employed here. I think it comes down to culture and you can’t fix the culture overnight…Until these people have repercussions for their actions, and until the victims have faith in the reporting process, I don’t think anything’s going to change.” 

Maisha Begum, Executive Assistant to Sam Tarry (Independent)  

Maisha was nominated for her passionate efforts in tackling violence against women and girls, particularly within South Asian communities, using her platform to raise awareness and advocate for policy changes aimed at protecting vulnerable individuals. 

She was nominated for her role supporting the family of Zara Aleena, who tragically lost her life in a horrific incident of violence in Ilford, working “tirelessly to amplify their voices, navigate through bureaucratic hurdles, and provide them with the necessary resources and support during their time of immense grief and loss.”

Her work has seen her nominated for the UN Women Awards for her contributions in the fight against violence against women and girls. 

Michael Bannister, Senior Parliamentary Researcher to Anne McLaughlin MP (SNP) 

Michael was nominated for his tireless work for the APPG for Prepayment Meters, a group aiming to find solutions to the inequitable treatment of customers on prepayment meters. 

He was also nominated for his organisation of events to help constituents find the right support during the cost-of-living crisis, putting them in contact with relevant agencies. 

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