It was an honour to have the opportunity to meet some of the professional firefighters who do such invaluable, challenging work at the FBU Love Your Firefighters event last night. The maintenance of a world class, professional fire and rescue service is something I strongly support. All members of Parliament should support our fire and rescue services, in the interests of both public and firefighter safety. Two films were shown at the event. ‘Operator’ (bit.ly/2dtilVA) won the Bafta short film award last year (2016) for its depiction of a control room operator taking an emergency fire call. ‘The Firefighters’ Dilemma’ (bit.ly/2sek2dr) was made this year to convey the stress fire crews are under when they turn out to a fire if they have to wait for a second fire engine before entering the premises due to service cuts. If you are interested I'd encourage you to have a watch.
Today I joined hundreds of teachers, school leaders and parents in their mass lobby of parliament. Because of shortfalls in funding, 88% of schools are still facing real-terms cuts despite Government announcements about more money going into the system. That means: - less for our children and young people- bigger classes- fewer teachers and staff- a reduced curriculum- parents plugging the gaps. Our schools and our children deserve fair-funding.
On Friday I got the chance to give a guest lecture to the University of Nottingham's contemporary British politics students. The hall was packed out and I really enjoyed myself. We covered a huge variety of topics from what being an MP is like to how to win in a marginal seat like Gedling. There were some great questions from students. It was so rewarding to see so many young people politically engaged.
On Sunday I appeared on BBC One’s East Midland Sunday Politics. A lively debate was had by all. If you didn't get a chance to see it here is the Iplayer link
Today is #wearitpink day which raises money to make life-saving research happen. Find out more & join in https://wearitpink.org/
Universal credit has already caused real hardship for many in Gedling. The Government must act on the will of Parliament & pause & fix the roll out of Universal Credit. My speech in Parliament.
Today is Anti-Slavery Day. The Home Office estimates that there are approximately 13,000 people in the UK who are slaves - living in domestic servitude, forced labour or sexual exploitation. We need to accept that modern slavery is something that is happening in towns and cities across the country and work together to do something about it. I am chair of the APPG on Modern Day Slavery and am committed to its abolition. Last month at the UN general assembly meeting, Theresa May pledged to end modern slavery and human trafficking across the world by 2030 which I fully support. I believe, however, for it to be achievable, we need strong international partnerships and internationally agreed legislation. We also need the government to deliver a package of support and protection for victims without delay. Key to prevention is prosecution and conviction of those that profit from slavery - many victims do not feel adequately supported to testify - this must change.
Today, I will vote for the motion that calls on the Government to pause the roll-out of Universal Credit. It has already caused real hardship for many in Gedling - the Government must pause and fix the roll out of Universal Credit - before it drives more people into poverty, debt & homelessness.
I had an absolutely brilliant and busy weekend in Gedling. Here are some of the highlights: The Gedling GC meeting in Netherfield was packed, great discussions were had by all. On Friday I had the pleasure of being invited to Christ The King Catholic Voluntary Academy to take part in a Philosophy & Ethics debate with Year 11 alongside Colette Powers, Mike Hall, Dr Martin Von Fragstein & Father David Palmer. We discussed poverty, abortion, assisted dying and euthanasia, the NHS amongst others. It was a fantastic morning, I thoroughly enjoyed hearing the views of year 11. I also met with the Palestinian Christians along with my colleague Lillian Greenwood and Ken Clarke MP. We had a really thought-provoking discussion. I was at the Phoenix Methodist Church for the brilliant Big Breakfast followed by campaigning in Arnold. It was great to hear of all the Labour support amongst the community.
Huge congratulations to the Council for listening to local residents, and taking this difficult decision in the face of huge Tory government cuts to their grant. We are, together, doing all we can to campaign against the failed austerity of this Government and the consequences this Tory policy brings for local Councils and communities like Gedling. It will now be an exciting time for us all working together to make the most of this new opportunity.