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...
My Diary Week Ending 18th March 2018
It was completely right for the British Government to make it crystal clear that we will not tolerate attacks on people living in the UK by foreign agents. Sadly it looks as though Russia is returning to former Soviet behaviour.
The Salisbury, Wiltshire attack has rather overshadowed everything else and meant that the very poor Spring Budget Statement has not got the level of scrutiny it might otherwise have done.
After years of unnecessary austerity our public services are still struggling under this Conservative Government. It is time to do more. Lack of clear Government policy has meant that our steel industry is less well supported than it should be. Two weeks on the Secretary of State for Trade finally came to Parliament to explain what the Government will do in the face of the US threat to impose huge steel tariffs. He reluctantly accepted that the best way of doing this is through the robust response of the EU. But he still refuses to commit to maintaining strong steel trade defence instruments when we are outside the EU. A reminder that there is still a big job to do to ensure steel is properly supported by this Conservative Government.
Another industry needing more consistent Government support is that producing bioethanol fuel like Vivergo. We had a good meeting of cross-party MPs to work out a way to argue the case for introducing E10 fuel into the UK - a move that would improve air quality, reduce carbon emissions and support the industry.
The humanitarian crisis in Burma is of huge concern to local people, particularly due to the pressures it is putting on Bangladesh. I was pleased to speak up for the persecuted Rohingya minority to encourage the Government to continue its international efforts to support Bangladesh and put pressure on Burma.
I had a very busy Kirton in Lindsey surgery where the issues around the need for investment in public transport, school places and local health services to support the projected housing growth was on a number of residents' minds. I will carry on working with the Town Council to try to ensure that North Lincolnshire Council plans any future development in a sustainable way.
Finally it was good to trudge through the snow and get into the warmth of West Common Sports Hall to see another impressive performance from John Leggott College's Basketball Academy Team (see picture below). A reminder that we have lots to be proud of locally.
My Diary Week Ending 18th March 2018 It was completely right for the British Government to make it crystal clear that we will not tolerate attacks on people living in...