Sure Start at Adelaide Terrace
Dear Newcastle October 2014
We seem for once to actually be enjoying an Indian summer in Newcastle – mid October and it is 20 degrees in the city centre. I was very pleased when the Scots voted against independence, I think that as the United Kingdom we are stronger with our different nations and regions working together.
In the final days of the campaign David Cameron seems to have realised how much Scotland actually mattered to the country but it was Gordon Brown who most passionately spoke for the Union.
The increased powers promised by the three party leaders for Scotland must be delivered and on time, but it does raise questions for the North East – what kind of future will we have without the kind of powers that Scotland will have? How can we make England a more balanced economy and ensure that the North East works together to build an economy which works for all? We rejected a regional assembly when one was offered to us – though without appropriate powers – but equally decades if not centuries of experience have taught us that decisions in our interest cannot be made entirely in Whitehall. This Government has abolished the RDA and closed the Regional Government Office. How should we move forward from that?
Over the next few months Labour MPs in the region will be working with the Labour Shadow Cabinet and the new North East Combined Authority as well as the Local Enterprise Partnership and other groups to try and make sure the North East does not lose out from increased Scottish devolution.
We have certainly lost out under this Government. In the North East, unemployment is still rising and working people are on average £1800 a year worse off than at the last election. But this Government spends its time giving millionaires a tax cut and then goes to Brussels to defend bankers’ bonuses. At the same time the Liberal Democrats are trying to fool the country into believing they aren’t really part of this Government, not responsible for the Bedroom Tax and the Granny tax, tripling tuition fees and raising VAT etc. But people in the North East have a better memory than that.
Shadow Ministerial Role
At conference I spoke 14 times at a range of events, mainly focused on social enterprise or digital government/data. This required a huge significant amount of preparation as well as the logistics of attending so many different events.
I have made important progress on the Digital Government Review, as the final report begins to come together. I have also sent a Freedom of Information request to police forces to see how they are using technology.
Backbench and Constituency Role
Parliament was recalled to debate airstrikes on ISIS in Iraq. This was a very difficult decision and the mood in the House was very sober as members on all sides sought to ensure we took the best decision in the interests of the UK, our armed forces and those persecuted by the regime. I voted for airstrikes because it was at the invitation of a democratically elected Government, the objective was well identified, mission creep was specifically ruled out, there was multilateral international support and a huge humanitarian crisis on the ground which required our help.
With a group from Newcastle I went on a six day trip to fact finding and Peace visit Palestine which whilst exhausting, was extremely useful. As well as media coverage I wrote a blog on it which can be found here: http://chionwurahmp.com/2014/10/chis-report-on-her-recent-visit-to-palestine/
I used my experience as a basis for discussing the forthcoming debate on Palestinian statehood within the party.
Recess provided opportunity to catch up with people and organisations in the constituency as well as on email. I am reviewing my website and welcome comments on ways to improve itPeter Hain confirmed as Newcastle Central Fundraising Dinner Speaker.
- Quoted regularly in local media including Journal and Chronicle, and other media outlets particularly around conference and Palestine visit. . On Sunday Politics. Published blog on Palestine. Interviewed by Third Sector Magazine
- I continue to receive a huge volume of letters, emails and phone calls, over 2500 per week.
Meeting, Visits & Speaking Engagements:
- Meetings and Visits: Tyneside Cinema launch of New exhibition space and cinema screen, Palestinian meetings detailed in the attached report from Martin. Also met with Israeli Prime Ministers Office. Sky Dinner, Expedia, uber, House Trip, Huawei, Sellafield, Lyft, Nigeria’s APC Party Spokesperson Lai Mohammad, Lorne Campbell, Toon Times Exhibition Closing at Discovery Museum, BP Portrait Exhibition opening at Sunderland, Briitish Security Industry Assoc, One Voice for Accessible ICT, Zaiki Laidi, advisor to French Prime Minister, Reason Digital, Allfiled, Ian Shott
- Speaking engagements: Palestine fringe, ACEVO CAF publication launch, labour list rally, Tech Central reception, Data Democracy & Power fabians fringe, Reform roundtable, Foreign Policy Centre Lunch , Google North launch, Dods BCS Internet of Things, Newcastle University debate ‘Reforming Britain’s broken energy market’, Tech UK manifesto launch, Finance Leasing Association roundtable, Coadec Start-up panel discussion, Royal Society of Statistics Who do you trust with your data, UnLtd social entrepreneurship fringe, Webwewant Festival Southbank, Hadrian School Npower Climate Cops, PCS Northern Regional Black Members Network, Riverside Sure Start, Digital Startups Roundtable at Google Manchester