At this time of the year especially I realise how much more contact I have with our armed forces as an MP. Before I was elected I wore my poppy with pride and bowed my head at 11 hour on the 11th day of the 11th month but apart from that I only rarely came across serving personnel.
Still I remembered how many of my schoolmates at Kenton had been inspired by recruiting officers. Others had been moved by less worthy but equally important factors – the lack of jobs in the region and the security that a life in the forces represented.
Of course the forces are not secure in the normal sense – Britain has had serving personal in conflict zones for as long as I can remember, whether it was Northern Ireland or Bosnia or Afghanistan or Iraq. But the armed forces would look after you and your family, give you a home and a job for life. Perhaps that is why the North East provides proportionately more recruits to the armed forces than any other region in England.
Since I was elected I have met many men and women from the armed forces both in Newcastle and in Parliament. It is always a humbling experience. Over the weekend I attended two remembrance ceremonies in Eldon Square. I concentrated on the uplifting words of the Lord Mayor’s Chaplain and thought of all those who serve, and have served, and their family and friends.
But I was also angry, angry that this Government, who claims to strongly support our armed services, should be making life so much harder for them. Abolishing the Office of the Chief Coroner despite a campaign by the British Legion. Imposing brutal redundancies then more uncertainty over further job cuts. Changing pension increases from Retail Prices Index to Consumer Prices Index which means, for example, a senior NCO’s widow could lose three quarters of a million over her lifetime.
Is that really the way to show support for our armed forces?
Backbench Parliamentary Contributions
I intervened a number of times in the Internet Governance Debate in Westminster Hall and asked oral questions on Academies during Education Questions, universal broadband during DCMS questions, Newcastle’s ‘bus wars’ during Transport questions and the extent of privatisation in the NHS during a Government statement on Hospitals. I also submitted a petition calling on the House to support celebrations of the 150th Anniversary of the Blaydon Races next June.
Quoted many times in Chronicle and Journal, as well as an interview by Eureka supplement of the Times and appearing on Politics Show, BBC Radio Newcastle, Metro Radio and Tyne Tees
I continue my Extra article every three weeks and use twitter extensively (@chionwurah)
Senior Caseworker successfully recruited. Two student interns from LSE will each work 1.5 days per week in the London office. I continue to receive a huge volume of letters, emails and phone calls, over 1500 per week.
- Meetings included: aHus Action, British Healthcare Trades Association, APPG Basketball, Bingo Association, journalists from The Mirror , Mining Institute, Newcastle United Supporters Trust, , Tyne and Wear Development Company, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Royal Society of Chemistry, Global Partnership for Education, Eli Lilly, Peter Ingram, Fibroid Campaign, Renewable, Ofcom, City and Islington FE College, British Chamber of Commerce, BBC, Regional Youth Work, British Venture Capital Association, Jazz North East, RIBA, Design and Technology Association, Telefonica, Raising Aspirations in Physics, Nick Forbes, Barry Rowland,
- Speaking engagements included: Newcastle University Nigeria Society Independence Day/Welcome event, Tyneside Irish Festival Identity and Migration Conference, Durham Book Festival, Visions for the Future Event, Tottenham CLP, : Girl Geeks, Africa UK: Education as a poverty reduction tool: Role of the Diaspora; British Library Hosted Orphan Works debate, chairing Westminster Forum Broadband conference