Well, what a weekend! Not only has Team GB had an emphatic start from Adam Peaty and Jazz Carlin in the chase for Olympic medals – but my former colleague and Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls, is named as the first “celebrity” for Strictly!!!
His footwork was always pretty nifty as a politician so if that translates to the dancefloor we could be in for some star performances! Bring on your rumba Ed and sorry for the bit of photoshop work!
A number of concerned constituents have contacted me about the British Steel Pension Review and it’s good to know from them that they appreciate the active support I’ve been giving them in this matter. I’m pleased that the Chair of Trustees has said that bringing increases for pre April 1997 service up to the level of post April 1997 service would be a priority for the Trustees if and when the service is in a financial position to do so safely.
I’ve arranged for other MPs to join me at a local meeting with British Steel on 19th August. I’m delighted to see the British Steel logo displayed so prominently along Brigg Road – it instils a real sense of optimism for the future.
It’s great to see that the free swimming sessions for children during summer holidays, introduced by the Labour Council many years ago, are still continuing. It is good to see young people queueing up outside The PODS each morning and, you never know, we might have a budding Adam Peaty or Jazz Carlin in the making!
Also, I’m pleased to see that the Tory Council plans to relocate the Scunthorpe Museum have not come to pass and that they listened to the Labour Party’s objections that this brilliant local facility, which provides a fabulous range of activities throughout the year, has stayed put!
There are still some appointments available for my surgeries on the 12th, 17th and 19th of August at my Scunthorpe Office. Phone 01724 842000 if you have anything you would like to discuss with me.
Well, what a weekend! Not only has Team GB had an emphatic start from Adam Peaty and Jazz Carlin in the chase for Olympic medals – but my former colleague...
Over the next few weeks I’ll be out and about in the constituency meeting local people in areas such as Messingham and Lakeside. Keep an eye open for a card through your door, I may be coming to your street and I’m happy to drop by for a chat.
I’ll also be visiting local businesses and employers such as British Steel and the Brigg Renewables Energy Plant and running several constituent surgeries.
The summer holidays can be a testing time for parents and, increasingly so, for grandparents who often have to take on the role of entertainment managers for the next few weeks.
There is a lot going on around the area: puppet making, becoming a Ghost Buster, the petting zoo at Normanby Hall, activities for under-fives at the museum and many more.
If you want the children more appreciative of their nice modern school when they have to go back at the end of the holidays, what about a visit to the Wilderspin School at Barton where they’ll be able to see what school life used to be like. Every Thursday during the summer holidays children aged 5-13 can try out one of the several crafts their parents or grandparents will recall – at school or in the home. It’s a very interesting experience, and perhaps a walk down memory lane, for the adults too.
All these activities and many more can be checked out at: http://www.northlincs.gov.uk/tourism-museums-and-the-arts/whats-on/whats-on-in-north-lincolnshire/
Jessica, who volunteers in my Scunthorpe office, has been doing some courses in Leeds on benefits. In spite of the vagaries of the transport system - delays, cancelled trains and bus replacements she seems to have enjoyed the experience and is looking forward to putting her new-found knowledge into practice. You can follow her blog at: http://www.nicdakin.com/young_people
Over the next few weeks I’ll be out and about in the constituency meeting local people in areas such as Messingham and Lakeside. Keep an eye open for a card...
Last week, as well holding a busy surgery, I met with Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner, Keith Hunter, just a couple of months into his post. I was impressed that he is taking local concerns seriously and has already met with retailers concerned about the policing of Scunthorpe Town Centre. Hopefully it won’t be long before his commitment to strengthen community policing shows dividends.
The Labour Leadership Election is now in full swing! Last week saw the hustings at the Parliamentary Labour Party where two candidates set out strong, positive agendas for the future whilst one – the current Leader - continually looked backwards to the 1980s. Both Angela Eagle and Owen Smith demonstrated that they have the verve and energy as well as the ideas to take the Labour Party and the country forward. They also clearly have the support of the people they will work closest with, Labour MPs.
Unfortunately the current Leader has lost the support of those who know him best. In my view he should have had another year to prove himself but, in the light of his lamentable performance in the EU Referendum campaign, some colleagues weren’t as patient as I believe they should have been. As a consequence we’ve been plunged into a leadership election at a time when we should be scrutinising the new Prime Minister. Theresa May has certainly hit the ground running with a very impressive debut at Prime Minister’s Questions. This is good for the country as it will help breathe confidence into the economy after the shock of the Brexit decision. And at least by the end of the week we in the Labour Party now have just one competent contender for the Labour crown in Owen Smith MP.
Much of the rest of last week was focused on the work of the Steel All Party Parliamentary Group’s final evidence sessions before we pull our report together proposing a strategy for the steel industry. With the new Government putting ‘Industrial Strategy’ into the name of its new department hopefully we will be pushing at an open door!! Well it’s always good to live in hope.
I also met with the secretariat of the Pancreatic Cancer All Party Group to make sure that the work plan over the summer will deliver our ambitious schedule of work for the next parliamentary year.
Last week, as well holding a busy surgery, I met with Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner, Keith Hunter, just a couple of months into his post. I was impressed that...
We’ve had another exciting political week. Whilst all eyes were on the launch of Angela Eagle’s Labour leadership bid, Andrea Leadsom withdrew from the Conservative leadership race. That meant we suddenly had a new Prime Minister in Theresa May. Good news for the country in in bringing some stability to government which generally speaking is good for confidence, markets and jobs. She immediately set about a very radical reshuffle.
David Cameron’s last Prime Minister’s Questions came sooner than anyone of us would have imagined. I managed to get Jess – who’s been doing work experience in my office – a ticket for PMQs so she was really pleased!
My very strong view is that we have to get on with making things work for the benefit of the people we serve. This was the message I was strongly putting over in the debate on the challenges facing the steel industry following the EU Referendum.
We in Labour have to get our act together as quickly as possible. We now have two challengers to the current Leader. What we need is a robust debate about what sort of party we want to be – a party that brings about change through getting into government and passing laws to make people’s lives better or a protest movement that is not interested in power to change things. I am firmly of the former view and will campaign for the candidate who I believe is most likely to unite the membership, MPs and inspire Labour voters.
We’ve had another exciting political week. Whilst all eyes were on the launch of Angela Eagle’s Labour leadership bid, Andrea Leadsom withdrew from the Conservative leadership race. That meant we...
Well the political turbulence shows no sign of calming!! Now returning to the backbenches should mean I have less work to do. But it hasn't quite felt like that! At Education Questions I asked the government to publish its response to the Schoolteachers' Review Body report. It's taken almost as long for them to respond as it did for Sir John Chilcott to finish his report!!! In the end they sneaked their unsatisfactory response out later in the week.
I was granted an Urgent Question by the Speaker to call the Government to account for the teachers' strike - a direct result of their intransigence.
I was in the Chamber when the Prime Minister reported to parliament on the outcomes of Chilcott. An historic occasion. I have to say it didn't seem to tell us much we didn't already know. The reasons for going to war were genuinely believed by those taking the decisions, but those of us who were sceptical at the time have been proved more right than wrong. And the planning for the aftermath of war was woeful. What we don't know, of course, is what would have happened if an alternative path had been followed. We never can know that. We can only speculate; like the Kurds demonstrating even last week in favour of the war were speculating that they would have suffered further genocide if it had not gone ahead.
The Steel All Party Group are working at developing a forward political strategy to support the industry. It's clear from the witnesses we saw this week that Brexit makes this altogether far more challenging. But that means to have a strong strategy is even more important. The news that Tata will sell its speciality steel business based in Rotherham, Stocksbridge and Hartlepool but hang on for the moment to its strip business centred on Port Talbot is a reminder that things are continuing to rapidly change.
I was pleased to meet with the Stroke Association about their campaign to secure a new strategy for stroke and it was good to highlight the value of heart valve technology.
The week ended with me speaking at two quite different conferences. It's unusual for me to speak at conferences (I try to avoid it!) at all - but, like buses, two came along at once! As one of the Vice Chairs of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Mindfulness I spoke to a conference of yoga specialists about our work. I then nipped across the road to give the keynote speech at a conference focused on Access to HE courses full of the great practitioners whose work really does transform people's lives. Our local excellent example of this is in the access courses run by North Lindsey College.
Well the political turbulence shows no sign of calming!! Now returning to the backbenches should mean I have less work to do. But it hasn't quite felt like that! At...