Edward Staite is an international communications consultant and campaign adviser. Follow Ed on Twitter.
This helpful summary of the best books on current affairs and their historical origins should hopefully be an integral part of an MP's time away from Westminster. I say "time away" - rather than "holiday" - deliberately, since (most) MPs use this extended time in their constituencies to rush between fetes and carnivals, fill their diaries with visits to businesses and hold regular surgeries. Summer is the time when MPs connect with their electorate to a degree not usually achievable when half the week is taken up by parliamentary business.
As a return to Westminster gets nearer, now is the time for MPs to begin their 'back to school' project and make sure they don't waste all these summer efforts. It is time to reinvigorate, refresh and, in some cases, completely rewrite their stump speech. With less than two years until the general election, and the European poll as well as local elections just nine months away, Tory MPs should be confidently putting the positive case for why people should vote Conservative.
Every MP should have a speech, formed of a standard set of paragraphs, to deploy at short notice whatever the occasion. If prepared well, these words can be the basis of an informal 'few words' at a WI coffee morning, or as a rousing call to action as a guest at a constituency dinner.
As ever with public speaking, it is the preparation that is so important. All too often MPs fall into the trap of saying what is expected rather than what is interesting or important. When an MP speaks, we expect them to be good - after all it is their job, isn’t it?