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...
What a horrible week! The tsunami unleashed by the Brexit vote has ruptured the UK's political world. The Prime Minister, just a year after achieving an historic victory, is now in his final few weeks of office. Boris Johnson, the favourite to succeed him has imploded, running away from his responsibility for the economic upheaval and security crisis that the Leave vote he encouraged has precipitated.
The country needs strong opposition to ensure that people's interests are protected in these turbulent times. Instead we, the Labour Party, are falling apart. We have a Leader who has lost the support of Labour MPs and Labour voters but still has significant support amongst Labour members. And therein lies the pickle! I went to see Jeremy first thing Monday morning to give him my support and my advice. I have loyally served him and defended him from the attacks of others. But I have been frustrated by how poorly he has managed people and processes, necessary leadership skills. I told him he had done a great job in shaking up the party - something that was needed. He'd brought good people on in an inclusive Shadow Cabinet. He stood at a crossroads. He could either step down gracefully and pass the baton on to someone else who could take the Party forward to a General Election. Or he could come to the PLP meeting and set our a clear vision and strategy for taking the Party forward himself and winning at the next election. Sadly he did neither. Worse still the PLP agreed to consider a vote of confidence in him by secret ballot the next day. Knowing I no longer had confidence in him I felt I had no choice but to resign my position from the Front Bench. Something I did with great sadness. I really wanted Jeremy to succeed but after working with him closely for many months I have come to the conclusion, despite having some excellent qualities, he doesn't have the necessary leadership skills to take Labour forward.
In other news I chaired a very good meeting of the Pancreatic Cancer All Party Parliamentary Group and joined local campaigners for the Women Against State Pension Injustice rally outside parliament. Back in Scunthorpe I was delighted to visit St Bede's School and learn more about the approaches they are using for improving diagnostic assessment and targetting students so that they achieve their potential. The school had a very happy feel to it. The best thing of the week was joining children, staff and friends of Oasis Academy Henderson Avenue for their official opening. It was a joyous, brilliant occasion and reminded me of what's really important in life.
What a horrible week! The tsunami unleashed by the Brexit vote has ruptured the UK's political world. The Prime Minister, just a year after achieving an historic victory, is...
It's been a very tough week. Beginning with the emotional recall of parliament to honour my murdered friend and colleague Jo Cox, it ended with the decision of the British people to leave the European Union. A decision that saddens me enormously but a decision I respect.
I'm particularly saddened by the way the views of the under 45s, who will feel most the impact of this decision and voted overwhelmingly in favour of remain, has been eclipsed. I'd predicted the greatest period of political and economic instability since the Second World War if we chose to leave the EU. Sadly my prediction is now coming to pass. The Prime Minister has resigned and the Leader of the Opposition's position is under threat. The markets have tumbled, the pound has fallen and businesses are reporting that they are putting any investments on hold.
Meanwhile the leaders of the Leave campaign are saying that they never promised that the £350 million a week they said the EU cost us would be spent on the NHS. Neither did they say that coming out of the EU would allow us to control immigration, the issue people understandably felt so strongly about! And anyway there's no rush to get on with leaving the EU - we can take our time. Amazing stuff! But if the Leave campaigners were thoroughly dishonest the Remain campaign is equally responsible for the outcome; failing to connect with the reasonable concerns of people and instead patronising them with exaggerated claims of the doom to come.
Our responsibility now is to carry out the will of the people which is what I, along with everyone else, will get on with doing.
In other news I enjoyed meeting adult learners at Ashby Link and spent a very enjoyable time at Bottesford Baptist Church's coffee morning.
I joined other community leaders at the Islamic centre Mosque to share in the end of day's fasting.
I caught up with the work of the Stroke Association locally and joined WASPI campaigners for their local meeting.
I dropped into Grange Lane Primary to see their fantastic new school and thank parents, pupils, staff and friends of the school for the great work they are doing.
As ever it was good to meet many local businesses at the Admin Centre's Open Day. And I was grateful to have the opportunity to meet many local British Steel Pension Scheme pensioners at the local meeting to share responses to the Government's consultation on the future of the scheme.
Finally, I capped off the week wandering round the beautiful gardens of Hibaldstow and seeing the imaginative scarecrows local people had made.
It's been a very tough week. Beginning with the emotional recall of parliament to honour my murdered friend and colleague Jo Cox, it ended with the decision of the British...
The brutal murder of my friend and colleague Jo Cox - MP for Batley and Spen - shocked the nation. How could something like this happen in our country?
The tributes have been very accurate in recognising her fizzing energy and clear focus on making the world a better place. I hope that after all the exaggeration, hype and vitriol of the EU campaign the collective view of the British people is to embrace that idealism and vote for remaining in the EU.
I spoke in the final Commons debate on the EU explaining that I would be voting REMAIN for idealistic, practical and selfish reasons. Idealistic because I believe, for all its flaws, we've achieved more working together within the framework of the EU than we would outside it. Practical because we are interconnected with Europe and things like the European Health Insurance Card make travel in the EU easier, cheaper and safer. Selfish because everyone, including the leave campaigners, agree we will be much worse off if we come out of the EU.
I also had an online Ask Me Anything focused on the EU which was very good. There was no hype or abuse just good questions from constituents who wanted more information before making up their minds. Exactly the sort of debate we should have been having nationally! My Annual Report Meeting was similarly thoughtful. In another debate I spoke passionately about the value of parent governors as the Government seeks to limit their remit.
I've had a lot of British Steel pensioners contact me about the ongoing consultation on the future of their pension scheme so I was pleased to be with other steel MPs for a briefing from the BSPS trustees. The meeting tomorrow of local pensioners at Redbourn Club will be a useful opportunity for me to get more feedback from pensioners who will be directly affected by any changes.
It was good for me to pop into Lindsey Lodge to thank them for the great work they do on behalf of local people and be updated on their plans for the future. I also joined residents and staff of Rathside Residential Home in Scawby for their open day. And it was good to spend time with people from many local organisations at the Armed Forces Day held at Bottesford Football Club.
Finally I really enjoyed North Lindsey College's production of 'Women of Steel' at the Plowright - a reminder of how tough times were when Britain stood alone in the midst of the Second World War and how much better off we are today as a result of the peace, freedom and prosperity that the EU - for all its faults - has helped to bring.
The brutal murder of my friend and colleague Jo Cox - MP for Batley and Spen - shocked the nation. How could something like this happen in our country? The...
I've made it very clear I think that a vote to REMAIN in the EU is in the interests of local people. My reasons are firstly idealistic - the EU has helped deliver peace and freedom for the last 40 years. Secondly practical - we are interconnected with the countries of Europe and things like the European Health Insurance Card make it cheaper and safer to travel in the EU so why put that at risk? And thirdly I want to stay in the EU for selfish reasons - everyone agrees that we are more prosperous in the EU than outside it with even the out campaigners recognising there will be an economic shock if we leave.
These are the arguments I was able to put in the debate at North Lindsey College and my appearance on the Sunday Politics Show.
There have been many celebrations locally around the Queen's 90th birthday. It was great to drop in to Messingham Primary School and see everyone in Queen's 90th Birthday fancy dress! And Cadney and Howsham open gardens was, as ever, brilliant with a lot of patriotic bunting about!
The Friends of Queensway Playing Fields has an excellent event full of face painting, balloon modelling, games and cakes. Proof positive of the value of this green open space to local people.
I raised my concerns with the Local Government Minister at questions that North Lincolnshire Council shouldn't take away this amenity form local people. I was pleased with the Minister's response which confirmed that councils should not take away green open space without replacing it in a locality. Well the best solution for the Queensway Field would be to leave well alone.
Another great celebration I joined was the Prefect Celebration at St Lawrence's where next year's prefects took over from this years. It was good to join the RSPCA for the ten year anniversary celebration of the last Labour Government's groundbreaking Animal Welfare Bill (steered through the Commons by my immediate predecessor as Scunthorpe MP) - something to be really proud of.
We are now into Ramadan so it was good to join local people at Scunthorpe Central Mosque to share in the breaking of the day's fast at sundown.
The Shadow Schools' Minister brief continues to be busy with my speaking at two conferences - the GMB Conference in Bournemouth and the Northern Rocks Conference in Leeds.
I've made it very clear I think that a vote to REMAIN in the EU is in the interests of local people. My reasons are firstly idealistic - the EU...