Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson has paid tribute to The Speaker’s Scheme which gives people from disadvantaged backgrounds an opportunity of a paid internship.
Mr Stepehenson was one of 10 MPs selected to take part in the scheme which tackles the issue of unpaid internships and gives people who are at disadvantage an insight in to British politics.
Jasmine Storry (26) began as the Pendle MP’s intern in October 2015 and has been working in his Parliamentary office from Monday to Thursday, and in a range of different departments in the House of Commons on Fridays.
Jasmine wouldn’t normally get the opportunity to work in for MP due to committing a crime at the age of 18 which has led to a life-long criminal record. But she has gained first-hand experience as a Parliamentary assistant through the initiative.
Jasmine said: “I have never felt so accepted; I not once thought that a politician would ever have confidence to see past a conviction but Andrew has allowed me to take up a role in his Parliamentary office.
“Together we have worked on breaking down the life damaging prejudice, torn apart the systemic stigma and most importantly have proven to others that a conviction shouldn’t be disowned by society. Andrew has been the driving force behind my confidence, growth and experience to believing in myself. I am truly grateful”.
Mr Stephenson MP added: “I was delighted to have Jasmine as part of my Westminster office team for the past nine months.
“I have always believed in rehabilitation, but having Jasmine work for me has really opened my eyes to some of the barriers ex-offenders face.
“We all need to do more to help break the cycle of offending by helping those who have served their time into employment so they feel they have a real future in society.”