Well this summer you could say the political weather has been even more changeable than the real weather. After a long and gruelling summer campaign Jeremy Corbyn was overwhelmingly elected as leader by a huge new membership and the Party has a new energy and enthusiasm for real change. We have half a million members nationally and in Newcastle membership has almost tripled. Under David Cameron membership of the Conservative party has halved – that gives an idea how out of touch they are.
Under Jeremy we are focusing all our energies on opposing the Tories vicious polices. On Monday night we voted against the Tories Trade Union Bill, a large scale attack on the rights of ordinary working people, preventing workers from standing up to protect their jobs, pay and security. Millions will be affected by the Bill, from teachers to bakers, office workers to nurses, engineers to shop assistants. We also resolutely opposed cuts to working tax credits because of the impact it will have on working families up and down the country – over 3 million families are now facing an average loss of over £1,000.
Whilst the Tories haven’t changed, Prime Minister’s Question Time has, thanks to Jeremy Corbyn. Determined to do things differently, he used his first PMQs as Labour Leader to ask some of the questions that the public wanted asked. Questions which were submitted in their thousands. He raised issues on housing, tax credits and mental health. All top priorities for Labour and areas where the Tory Government is failing working people. David Cameron’s answers were as complacent as they were insincere.
Shadow Ministerial Role
Jeremy Corbyn appointed me as Shadow Minister for Culture and Digital Economy. Before coming into politics I spent twenty years working as an Electrical Engineer in the digital communications industries so I am really excited by the opportunity to use this experience to hold the Tory Government to account as they betray our digital future and the BBC. Growing up in Newcastle I am well aware of the importance of culture to community, society and the economy and look forward to championing it.
Backbench and Constituency Role
- I held a 90 minute debate on diversity in public sector broadcasting focusing on the need for more northern and working class people on air and behind the scenes. It received positive feedback and the Minister agreed to bring a London casting director to see a Newcastle state school production.
- Spoke a further five times in the chamber, on MH17 on 14th July, on July 20th on oversight and Academies and on 7th September re DWP sanctions, 15 September on consumer data ownership and 14 September 2015 on cuts to Newcastle’s funding & lack of support for students.
- Quoted regularly in local media on subjects including Labour Leadership, West End Police Station, Refugees and West End Police Station
- Published blogs on Osbornomics, Welfare Reform and my decision to back Andy Burnham
- Our living wage summer intern, Jake, made an excellent contribution to the Westminster Office. He now returns to Nottingham University for his final year.
- We have a new apprentice, Kirsty, who started at the beginning of September
- Website successfully migrated to new host following tender process.
Meeting, Visits & Speaking Engagements:
Meetings and visits
Durham Miners Gala, Africa Minister, Google, Edge Foundation, MPs & Church Leaders Meeting, Northumbria Police, Tyne and Wear Museums, Locality, WEA, FCO, Google Founders Over 50, Northern Stage at Edinburgh Festival, Tony Durcan Newcastle City Council Data, Scotswood Area Strategy, British Pregnancy Advice Service, Mining Institute, Tom Chatfield book launch, , Visit to Dublin Parliament, Trinity College, Book of Kells, Croke Park, Labour Friends of Palestine & Middle East Dinner, Refugees vigil, First Group re East Coast Mainline, Altogether Now launch (music teacher coops), Aviva re Cyber insurance, West Africa Business Group, Cityforum Cyber Security masterclass and roundtable, APPG on Management, Breast Cancer Now, Atrial Fibrillation, UK Active National fitness day, Aviva Rugby, Africa APPG Ebola, BBC Make it digital, National Portrait Gallery, Blackberry Thought Leadership Security in Internet of Things, National Strategy Development Through Life Engineering Services, Methodist & other Churches re benefit sanctions, British Engines, Deaflink, NE Solidarity with Calais refugees, National Children’s Bureau, FA & Breast Cancer care, , British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association, UK Youth Parliament, Vodafone, Cyber Security Masterclass, Uk Youth reception, , Choice for intentional community, Smart Energy.
Pictfor Summer Reception, Manufacturing Enquiry Evidence Session, Nigerian High Commission Honourary Award, British Chambers of Commerce, Hans Bockler Foundation Scholars, Reform Cyber Conference, Shout Out Anonymous Million Man, Soctim North East, Newcastle Pride, chair: Right Data, Right Policy? Innovations in Data Collection and Dissemination in Nigeria Chatham House, Great North Greats Exhibition Opening, Denton Bank Allotments Show, Chatham House Strengthening Data Sharing for Public Health, National Cyber Awareness course launch, Connecting Britain, Africa APPG roundtable, Royal Africa Society panel, Pictfor CEO Forum, Future of public procurement Westminster Forum, Comms Provider Conference, Northern Architecture, Kenton School awards, Labour North new members evening, Oona King in Conversation with Meriam Stoppard at Newcastle City Learning Centre, Launch of APPG on Adult Education.