East MPs opt for fresh challenges in their summer break

MPs from the eastern region have chosen to put their time to good use during their seven-week break from Westminster.

So keep your eyes open if you're in a local cafe or paying a visit to hospital.

Michael Ellis is the MP for Northampton North but he's decided this summer to spend one day a week working with a local employer.

This week it's the coffee shop at Morrisons in Northampton.

Getting stuck in

Norman Lamb, MP for North Norfolk, has started a 1,300 mile bike ride to the Netherlands. He's hoping to raise thousands of pounds for four local charities.

"I hate the idea that MPs are off in Westminster in an ivory tower; it's important to get stuck in and work with local people," he said.

And one hospital has a new doctor in A&E this summer.

Dr Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, has already put his medical skills to good use in parliament (see previous blog: Doctor in the House).

This summer he's opted to go back to work at the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston as a doctor for most of August.

Dr Poulter, who was an NHS hospital specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology, said: "It's good to be back looking after patients.

"I think it's very important that we do have doctors and other people with front line experience of public services involved in politics and I think it's important that we have politicians who have worked in the real world."

Dr Poulter said the work at the hospital helped him as a constituency MP and that he would continue to work as a doctor after the summer break.

Making a difference

Brooks Newmark, MP for Braintree, has just returned from his pet project in Rwanda.

He first visited the Girubuntu School in Kigali in 2007 which now has 300 pupils - many of whom were orphaned in the 1994 genocide.

He established A Partner in Education project there to build and equip a modern school.

And the MP for South Norfolk, Richard Bacon, is visiting Africa later this month with the VSO on agricultural projects.

While he is there he will also be supporting his family's charity, helping children who have lost one or both legs.

Elizabeth's Legacy of Hope supports children who suffer with limb loss by providing low-cost artificial limbs and funding further technical research into prosthetics.

The charity was set up following the terrible accident that claimed the life of his mother-in- law, injured his wife's twin sister and in which his young niece lost her leg.