It was fantastic to be able to join other local Labour MPs meeting up with our new Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner Keith Hunter. After congratulating him we were keen to discuss how we can support him in providing strong leadership to our police force in ensuring it strengthens further its role in local communities reducing crime and the fear of crime.
No sooner have we got one election out the way than everyone's attention moves to the EU Referendum. Although there are strongly held views on all sides of the argument I am still finding a lot of people asking for more information to help them make up their minds. So it was good that the Labour In For Britain battlebus came to Scunthorpe's Tesco store this week. People were keen to chat and ask questions of myself, Labour MEP Linda McAvan and other activists.
Whilst in the store it was also good to see the great Stroke Association gang with their fantastic stall promoting stroke awareness.
Back in Parliament we had a rather empty Queen's Speech. Nothing much in it for us in Scunthorpe was my general view. No industrial strategy or actions to support our steel industry as it is about to move onto a new chapter of its history with the impending welcome re-launch of British Steel. And nothing to tackle the huge challenges facing our local health service. Thankfully it looks as though the Junior Doctors' dispute is close to being settled but, as I pointed out to the embattled Health Secretary, he could have got round the table in February and reached a settlement earlier if he'd listened to the urgings from colleagues cross-party. Instead he chose further confrontation leading to more anguish for patients that better leadership could have avoided. The earlier peace can break out in any conflict the better.
I was pleased to be able to join the Scunthorpe Town Team for the inauguration of the Peace Pole in Central Park. A very positive event supported by representatives of all our local faith communities.
I enjoyed my visit to Frederick Gough School which is doing so much excellent work, including becoming the first school in the region to be awarded Gold status for its Careers Information Advice and Guidance work. It was really useful to be updated on the issues on the front line of education. If I am to argue for what is best for pupils, students and parents I need to work hard to hear what the people who know best are saying.
The Tory Government could take a leaf out of my book as they blunder from crisis to crisis. This week the Schools' Minister was dragged to the House of Commons Chamber to answer an Urgent Question from one of his own backbenchers about the chaos they've allowed to develop in the policy on taking children on holiday in term times. Everyone agrees that there is a strong relationship between attendance and achievement and all children should aspire to 100% attendance. But the change in the advice to Headteachers in 2013 appears to have created unnecessary friction between parents and schools. We now have a court judgement that further confuses the picture. As I said, it's surely time for the Tory Government to focus on these bread and butter issues and sort them out rather than pursuing an ideological crusade to turn all schools into academies when there is no evidence that would be in the interests of children.
Sadly the evening with Dennis Skinner failed to go ahead as planned due to Dennis becoming ill and having to go to hospital. Thankfully after a weekend in Kensington and Chelsea Hospital he is now at home recovering. People enjoyed meeting Shadow Attorney General Karl Turner MP who gave us insights into his role within Labour's Shadow Cabinet.