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.