Happy St George's Day. It was good to fly the flag for England as well as parliament running the London Marathon yesterday. What a fantastic festival of sport and generosity it has become. Thank you to everyone who has kindly cheered me on through encouragement and sponsorship. Together we are raising money to support the work of the 3 pancreatic cancer charities (Pancreatic Cancer Action, Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund, Pancreatic Cancer UK), Scunthorpe & District Mind and Scunthorpe Foodbank https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/NicholasDakin
All these organisations rely on the generosity of volunteers and generous donations. And from that generosity they can help transform people's lives. Such real gifts we should treasure.
Bottesford Football Club is yet another example of a great local organisation run by volunteers making a hugely positive impact. It was good to be briefed on their work and their plans for development. Running 30 + teams out of Birkdale Park is really impressive.
I was delighted to join residents and staff to officially open the amazing Sandhills Court Care Home. This attractive new building stands on the corner of Exeter Road and Doncaster Road - so long a neglected patch of land but now transformed. And inside the atmosphere was fantastic - wonderful residents and great staff. It was truly a pleasure to be there.
It was good to bang the drum for steel again in a debate about ensuring that when we leave the EU there are appropriate trade remedies in place to prevent unfair dumping of steel from China and elsewhere. No-one voted for that when we voted to Leave the EU!
And it was good to present the petition against the Conservative Council's desire to build on Scunthorpe's green spaces. The latest under threat is Quibell Park Fields. Meanwhile it turns out that the Conservative Council has been bidding over £1 million above the guide price for land next to Forest Pines Hotel & Golf Resort whilst insisting on remaining anonymous. This raises huge questions about what they are up to selling off green, open spaces to be built on and lost for ever in the urban area where green spaces are at a premium and paying over the odds for land elsewhere. It's at the best fishy!
Westminster was fully focused on holding the Government to account in relation to their controversial decision to join France and the United States in action against the Syrian regime without asking parliament first. The use of chemical weapons 100 years ago in the First World War led to a global ban on their use. So it is important that the nations of the world take strong action against those that use such weapons. That's why it's important that theUnited Nations (UN) and the chemical weapons inspectors are allowed to make their assessments. They did this last year and concluded that the Syrian regime was guilty so it has form. But that doesn't make it easy to take action against them. It's important to act in a way that draws a line in the sand but doesn't make things worse! That's why accounting to parliament in our democracy is so important.
Happy St George's Day. It was good to fly the flag for England as well as parliament running the London Marathon yesterday. What a fantastic festival of sport and generosity it has...
Sadly conflict and terror has centre stage again. The despicable use of poison gas against civilians in Syria should be universally and unequivocally condemned. Amongst the horrors in that war torn country this is the greatest of horrors and takes us back 100 years to the devastating use of chemical weapons in the First World War.
The United Nations should be strong and impartial enough to act against the aggressor. Sadly Russia's misuse of its veto makes that challenging to achieve. The UN investigated the attack a year ago in Khan Shiekhoun and concluded that the Assad regime had used sarin gas.
Whilst the brutal regime is sheltered from accountability by Russia it is very difficult for the UN to act. And with an American President who seems to shoot from the hip the world is an ever more dangerous place.
The ability for parliament to consider how the UK should respond to such a dire situation helped focus the nation's collective mind back in 2013 and 2016. On both occasions I agonised over the very difficult choice - because either action or no action carry risks. There is no risk free option. There is no magic wand to stop this killing and inhumanity.
In 2013 parliament said no to action and in 2016 it said yes. On both occasions I cast my vote against extending the UK's involvement because on both occasions I was not convinced that UK action would improve the situation. Having acted without parliamentary approval the PM now needs to act within the United Nations to support UN investigators in carrying out their work and all members of the UN including Russia and the US need to bring the perpetrators of chemical weapons violations to account.
Last week I was on a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association visit to New Zealand, which is a long way away!!! But as one of our key security allies through the Five Eyes alliance, that includes Australia, the United States and Canada as well, it was a reminder of how important working together and sharing information is to ensure our safety and security in an ever changing world.
With Anzac Day approaching it was a poignant reminder of the sacrifice made in two world wars from across the world to preserve our freedom and way of life when we laid tributes at the New Zealand war memorial. We met the wonderfully charismatic Kiwi PM, Jacinda Ardern who shared our view that it is better to resolve issues through diplomatic pressure if at all possible, whilst recognising that sometimes it isn't.
With the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London, United Kingdom this week it is a massive reminder of the power of nations working together for the common good. We learnt a lot about doing trade deals after we leave the EU from the Kiwis who have developed a huge expertise in doing trade deals over the last few decades. Indeed it is a New Zealander who has been appointed as our top trade negotiator. I came away with the very strong feeling we should be able to do a trade deal with New Zealand if we can do one with anyone. They are very like us. But they are a small country a long way away so the deal will be more symbolic than anything else.
The other thing that was clear to me is that UK agriculture is in for a shock post Brexit as it tries to compete in a world with fewer subsidies. And it might not be a world that people in agriculture voted for - but it is probably the right thing! All of these things will be buzzing round my head as I pound the streets of London to raise money for pancreatic cancer charities, Scunthorpe & District Mind and Scunthorpe Foodbank. A massive thank you to everyone who has kindly sponsored me onhttps://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/NicholasDakin
Sadly conflict and terror has centre stage again. The despicable use of poison gas against civilians in Syria should be universally and unequivocally condemned. Amongst the horrors in that...
It's good to see North Lincolnshire Council finally responding to my campaign with local residents for them to do something about fixing the potholes in our roads and pavements. There's still much more to do but it's good to see them finally getting on with the job.
Let's hope they listen to what people are saying about respecting and protecting our green, open spaces. Being an industrial garden town is Scunthorpe's heritage and identity. So I was really pleased to see the campaign to save Quibell Park Field from being built on gaining huge support in the petition launched by campaigners. If you haven't already signed there is still time to do so https://www.change.org/p/north-lincolnshire-council-stop-th…. We need to make the Conservative Council think again. After all if they were to crack on with the Lincolnshire Lakes development and using our brown field sites they wouldn't need to take away our green, open spaces from future generations. Let's hope they listen to local people and respect our heritage.
I've been talking to NHS England about the difficulties people are having seeing a dentist locally. I'm hoping that my representation will result in them taking action to improve access to dentists in our area. Good oral hygiene is so important and good teeth cleaning habits developed in children can make a real difference to their future lives.
I think North Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group were right to make the difficult decision to start the re-tendering process for the patient transport service after the ongoing problems with Thames Ambulance. But in all the complaints I've received - which are far more than there should be - constituents have always gone out of their way to say how good the staff are. So I was pleased to visit the staff team at the Scunthorpe depot and hear from them how things are going. Like everywhere else in the NHS there are some really great people doing their very best to give us a good service. There are already signs of improvement. Let's hope they continue.
One thing that isn't improving I'm sorry to say is the water flow of Bottesford Beck. With the deluge of rain we had over the bank holiday the water table is very high causing significant problems to landowners who abut the beck. When I visited a local farmer I could see for myself the problems it is causing.
I also visited was Excel Fisheries on Rowland Road where I was really impressed by how the new owner is developing the business.
My preparations for the London Marathon continue with me running along the Ridge Walk in all weathers.
I also dropped into catch up on the work that Scunthorpe & District Mind are doing to support local people. A third of the money raised will go to support them, a third to Scunthorpe Foodbank and a third to the national pancreatic cancer charities (Pancreatic Cancer Action, Pancreatic Cancer UK and Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund)
Thank you to everyone who has kindly donated to these good causes by sponsoring me. If you would like to but haven’t as yet then please do so by the following link, it would be very much appreciatedhttps://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/NicholasDakin
It's good to see North Lincolnshire Council finally responding to my campaign with local residents for them to do something about fixing the potholes in our roads and pavements. There's...
It is now less than 3 weeks before I’m running the London Marathon for a second time. So it was appropriate that we MPs went for a training run together in St James's Park and Green Park last week. I will be raising money a third each for Scunthorpe & District Mind, Scunthorpe Foodbankand the 3 national pancreatic cancer charities, Pancreatic Cancer UK, Pancreatic Cancer Action and Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund - all good causes. So I am now at the point when I just need to make sure that I get to the start line and then to the finish line, perhaps more easily said than done!
If anyone would be kind enough to donate, please do so by visiting the link at the bottom of the page.
The Scunthorpe parkrun is always a very supportive way of getting used to running with others. So a big thank you to fellow runners and the amazing team of volunteers that make it all happen. On Saturday I kept running until I notched up 17 miles. That will be the longest run I do before the 26.2 that constitutes the marathon length on the 22nd April. And hopefully this year there will be no General Election to follow. One race is quite enough for me!
I joined other steel MPs for a meeting with the International Trade Secretary Liam Fox for an update on how the UK is responding to the US Government’s action on steel tariffs. I followed up the discussion with a question in the UK House of Commons. It’s positive that the US is delaying imposing tariffs on the UK until the 1st May by which time it will hopefully have abandoned the idea. But the real threat to UK jobs is the impact of diversionary steel dumping into UK markets. I was pleased that the Trade Secretary recognised the need to work with our EU partners to take action to prevent this happening.
It was good to hear Scunthorpe Speedway spoken so highly of at the All Party meeting. A recognition nationally for the excellent work they do bringing on young riders. I chaired a meeting where the Skills Minister was quizzed on the Government’s progress in improving Careers Information Advice and Guidance. The general view is that there is still a long way to go.
It was good to drop into events that celebrated the contribution of Sikhs to British Society and the 47th anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence. There remain very serious concerns about the refugee crisis on Bangladesh’s border with Burma caused by human rights violations there. It was good to hear the Foreign Minister make clear that the UK Government will continue to put maximum pressure on the Burmese government. I also met with him to raise concerns about the treatment of Christian and other minorities in Nepal. And the British ambassador to Sudan briefed us about the humanitarian crisis there. Prejudice and discrimination must not be tolerated anywhere. That’s why the The Labour Party movement should have no truck with any behaviour that is not true to our values of tolerance and respect.
Such prejudice, including anti-Semitism, has no place in Labour. Or words and our actions need to make that crystal clear to everyone. I hope that from now on there will be no doubt that is what we stand for.
It is now less than 3 weeks before I’m running the London Marathon for a second time. So it was appropriate that we MPs went for a training run together in St James's...
I am still getting complaints about Thames Ambulance who provide our patient transport service locally. So it was good to meet with the Health Minister and other northern Lincolnshire Members of Parliament to air our concerns. We are meeting with Thames themselves today so hopefully they will start to give us some answers.
I chaired a meeting of the All Party Group on Pancreatic Cancer Action to consider implications of the very first NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidelines for this disease. A significant, welcome milestone. Continuing the health theme it was good to mark World TB Day with increased global pressure to up our game on fighting the world's biggest infectious killer.
I was delighted to meet up with the extremely brave local woman, Lisa Beardsley, campaigning to make people more aware of the devastating impact of facial palsy.
Scunthorpe Market is a thriving community of shoppers and traders. It is good that North Lincolnshire Council have finally shared their ideas about where the market might be in the future - the old British Home Stores (BHS) site. The question is whether this will work for traders and customers. So I went round the market to get feedback. People are not against change but they are wary of it. They need the Council to act in a way that builds trust. Not in a way that says they know how to run these small businesses. I will continue to campaign for the voices of customers and traders to shape the Market's future.
Another area where the Council are playing catch up is sorting out our roads and pavements. But it's good to see them finally responding positively to my campaign to fix their potholes. Let's hope they do a good job!
It was good to celebrate the excellent work being done nationally on Higher Education Access by hosting the 7th Keith Fletcher Memorial Awards in Parliament. Continuing the education theme I had a fantastic visit to Bottesford Infant School to learn about the amazing work they have been doing learning about London, United Kingdom. Great stuff!
Someone else who has been doing great stuff is the team at Ongo UK. I was delighted to join the outgoing Chief Executive Andy Orrey and his successor to look at the fantastic job their team have done installing sprinkler systems into the high rise flats and redeveloping Westcliff Precinct (pictured below centre). Wonderful work.
I was delighted to open Sycamore Tree - the bar at Sycamore Lodge Care Home - with Peter (pictured below left).
Finally I visited UKPowerReserve site in Immingham (pictured below right) to see the state of the art generators at work as they cranked up in almost no time to supply power to the grid.
I am still getting complaints about Thames Ambulance who provide our patient transport service locally. So it was good to meet with the Health Minister and other northern Lincolnshire Members...