Post by: @JulieForBurnley
Last night I joined with parliamentary colleagues and the Labour frontbench to vote in favour of the 2nd reading of the Bill to trigger Article 50 and begin the process for Britain to negotiate exiting the European Union. I said the following:
“Since the vote nearly seven months ago, a shadow has been cast across this country. The decision to leave the EU has weighed heavy on us all. It has divided communities, workplaces, families and political parties. The campaigns were not our finest hour. I campaigned to remain in the EU not because I thought the EU was perfect but because I did not want the UK to close its doors and shut itself off from the rest of the world.
Like many people my heart sank when Donald Trump was unexpectedly elected President of the United States in November last year. He is a man who has shown in the months campaigning for the presidency and his first week in office that he is completely unsuited to one of the most powerful positions in the world. Trump campaigned on a platform of division and fear with racism and misogyny at its foundation, calling Mexicans “rapists and murderers”, openly bragging about sexually assaulting women and calling for a permanent ban on Muslims in America.
Last week I spoke in the House of Commons regarding school funding. The Government proposals will drastically impact on schools in Burnley and Padiham which will be some of the worst hit by this plan. In my speech I said the following:
“As a former teacher, experienced school governor and parent, I fully understand the value of providing every child with an excellent education. Education changes lives, it empowers individuals, it increases social mobility, and it is the single biggest driver of economic success for a nation. It is right that we pursue high standards and seek to provide the very best education for all the children of this country.
The last few weeks have been especially busy with the NHS featuring large in my life both in terms of my public role and my private life. I was contacted repeatedly over the festive period by the various national media raising concerns over a struggling NHS. Queues at A & E and growing waiting lists have now become a feature of everyday life in the UK but until recently we didn’t hear much about the problems in GP surgeries. Getting an appointment to see a GP is often difficult and patients regularly wait over a week and in some cases longer for an appointment.
This week I participated in a Westminster Hall debate on community pharmacies. I once again raised the Oppositions deep concerns about the long term impact of the Government’s cuts to the pharmacy budget, which will inevitably lead to a greater stain on A & E and GPs. In my speech I discussed the following:
“It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Bailey. I thank Mrs Main for securing this debate on a very important subject. It is pleasing to hear so much agreement around the room; I hope that the Minister is listening.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a peaceful new year.
Christmas means different things to different people. For me Christmas is a time for faith and for fellowship; a time for family; a time of togetherness and goodwill to all. For some people who don’t celebrate, Christmas represents only a welcome break from work, for others Christmas means extra work: longer hours for retail workers and for restaurant staff. And of course for some who work in our vital public services it will be business as usual.
Aleppo, a UNESCO world heritage centre, Syria’s second city and formerly home to 2.3 million people is now close to total obliteration. Syria’s bitter civil war has consigned this great city to a battleground since 2012 and as so often in civil war situations civilians are paying the price of a political battle that shows no signs of abating. The 100,000 men, women and children trapped in eastern Aleppo are struggling to survive in what can only described as a hell on earth. The city is bombed every day by President Assad’s forces backed at every stage by Russia and Iran.
The Chancellor's Autumn Statement gave little cause for hope or optimism. We heard that economic growth will be lower than expected, investment is down, Government borrowing is up (£122 Billion), inflation is set to rise. There has been a lot of talk recently of the Government’s desire to support those who are just about managing (the JAMs) well I have to say that there was little evidence of action to back the warm words. The National Living Wage will rise next year and while this is welcome it is nowhere near enough.
Yesterday I spoke in Exiting the European Union Questions and asked the Secretary of State to make efforts to ensure that Burnley will not be financially worse after we leave the European Union. I asked the following:
“Although I voted in the referendum to remain, I fully accept the outcome of the democratic election and my focus now is to ensure that the people in my constituency are not worse off post-Brexit. Given that we have benefited from EU funding to the tune of around £5 million a year, may I seek a guarantee from the Minister that the Government have a plan to ensure that those resources continue to come to my constituency post-Brexit?”
This week in Westminster Hall, I joined together with other members of the House to call for more funding to be made available to tackle childhood cancers. I also raised my deep concern that Britain leaving the European Union will have a knock on effect on current levels of cancer drug funding particularly those drugs that are currently used to fight childhood cancer. In my speech I said the following:
“It is an honour to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Davies. This debate has arisen in response to a petition signed by more than 115,000 people, including 922 from my constituency, following the sad passing of Poppy-Mai, the little daughter of Mr and Mrs Barnard.