LIKE everyone else, MPs are having to find new ways to work.

One of my favourite parts of the job is constituency surgeries. I'm a journalist by profession, and some of the skills can be transferred to my new job as a parliamentarian.

MPs are often constituents' last port of call. They'll have been given the runaround by utility companies or UK Government departments, or perhaps are just being made miserable by a bad neighbour or a cruel boss.

MPs can't always solve their problems, but I always try. And as a former Watchdog reporter, I love to take on Goliath on behalf of David.

Covid has seen my office deluged by mail with some tough cases. But I've missed holding in-person surgeries. That's why I'm so delighted my team have devised bookable remote surgeries.

Ours was the first parliamentary office in the UK to do so, and the system works well. Older constituents tend to prefer the phone, and younger voters zoom.

Over the last few weeks, we managed to get returned one constituent's life savings stolen by a telephone con man – the bank, having initially refused to help, eventually returned more than £10,000.

And we got a rare climb-down from TV Licensing for another constituent. She'd been harassed for payment of her dead mother's licence. She got £30 in compensation and a written apology.

Parliamentarians are changing the way we work in other ways too. We no longer have to vote in person in the Commons.

The Westminster authorities devised an electronic system which takes seconds to record each vote. Needless to say, it was unpopular with traditionalists who prefer lengthy queues in the lobbies. And so, Mr Speaker has developed a hybrid compromise: voting in person for those who want to, and proxy votes for everyone else.

In parliament, I sit on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee. Last week we had the new boss of the BBC in front of us and I got the chance to cross examine him for an uncomfortable thirty minutes.

Four years ago, I'd persuaded the government to require the publication of BBC presenters' pay. A stooshie ensued as we all discovered how overpaid many were, and how underpaid women staff were compared with their male colleagues.

I was keen to see how much had changed, and invited staff to e-mail me in confidence.

I put the evidence to the new director general: "Of all the cases brought by women and fought by the BBC, how many had the BBC won?", I asked. The answer: "None".

"How much have you spent on lawyers fighting equal pay cases?" The answer: "I will get back to you."

"Is it true your own salary will rise by £25,000 next year and is already more than £500,000?" The answer: "Yes."

I will get back to you, dear readers, when I get some more answers. It's our licence fee money after all.

If you wish to book a one-to-one surgery with me, please visit and pick a time and date of your convenience and your preferred method of contact and I'll be in touch.