MP’s Report: September 8th to October 12th 2018

Dear Newcastle

Most of the last month has been “ConferenceTime” with MPs, accompanying media and lobbyists decamping from Westminster accompanied, in Labour’s case at least, by delegates and members from across the country. Labour’s conference was well attended, constructive and often inspiring. There were a number of significant policy announcements including on Child Care, workers on boards and shares for workers. Brexit was on the agenda, of course, and we were agreed that whilst the Government are too busy falling out with each other to do a jobs-first deal with Europe, nothing can be off the table.

Labour conference

By contrast the Conservative Conference seemed sparsely attended with Boris Johnson the biggest draw! Theresa May won some plaudits for dancing onto the stage but her attempt to dance away from Brexit Chaos by announcing the end of austerity was unsuccessful. Austerity is still with us and many of the cuts, particularly the benefits cuts, have still to bite. Universal Credit in particular is as an on-going disaster, and as I know from my constituents, it is also a tragedy for many forced to foodbanks as a consequence of delays and/or the deliberate cruelty of the system.

During recess I was able to spend more time in Newcastle and catch up with some of the organisations and issues which have been engaging constituents, as well as enjoying the warm weather! I also took the time to read ‘Angels of the North’, celebrating the lives of 40 women of the North East whose stories are too often forgotten – one of the authors is ex MP and MEP Joyce Quinn.

Celebrating International Day of The Girl

Backbench and Constituency Role
  • Spoke from the backbenches four times: In International Trade Questions on North East exports and no-deal Brexit (13 Sep 2018); in an Urgent Question Debate on the Government’s plan to include private investment as part of its overseas aid commitment (9 Oct 2018); in a debate on asylum accommodation contracts (10 Oct 2018); in an Urgent Question debate on Foreign Fighters and the Death Penalty (11 Oct 2018); in an Urgent Question Debate on the Government’s plans to sell the Student Loan Book (11 Oct 2018)
  • Asked 13 Written Questions.
  • Two major areas of constituent interest – Fenham Well being and Service Hub and Newcastle United campaign for better ownership.
  • Attended events to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the end of World War I
  • Many speaking engagements on Black History Month and I also spoke at Gateshead CLP on industrial strategy.
  • I met with the Minister for Litter on Rubbish and Fly Tipping and the Minister for Sexual Exploitation on Long Term Support for Victims of Operation Sanctuary
  • I am engaged in correspondence with Ministers on Housing, Primary Health Care, Litter, Long Term Support for Victims of Operation Sanctuary and Mesh, Newcastle United Finance; and with the Council on Kittiwakes, Homelessness and Fenham Hub.

Beam Cafe Gosforth

Shadow Ministerial and PES Role
  • As Vice Chair of the Party of European socialists I am working with the Leaders Office on our relationship with our sister parties post Brexit. I will be in Brussels on Monday 15th October.
  • With Unison I am organising conference in Newcastle on 2nd November on industrial strategy and care in the economy called North East New industry.
  • The Business team announced a new Retail Strategy and target of Carbon Neutral Economy by 2050
  • There was a significant interest in Business and Technology at conference, as well as social mobility and equality. I spoke at 19 events over two days, focusing on industrial strategy and tech but covering other subjects too such as arbitration in the construction industry.
  • Spoke from the frontbench two times: in a debate on the launch of IPPR’s Economic Justice Commission report (11 Sep 2018), in a debate on Economic Growth in the East of England (10 Oct 2018)

We had 71 applications for the Westminster intern and seven for the Newcastle Apprentice. We are looking at technology to help us work more effectively as the workload increases.

Children’s contact centre


Quoted in national and local media including Daily Politics, Tyne Tees Interview Conference, House Through Time Filmed piece, Channel 4 Black History Month and with regards to Newcastle United.

Meetings and visits
Meetings (Organisation/Name)

Moorside Autumn Allotment Show, Angels of the North book launch, Great North Run Dinner, TUC Congress, Plastics federation reception, APPG Adult Education, DEFRA/Minister Rutley, Victoria Atkins with Adult Social Care NCC representative Alison McDowell and Catherine Mckinnell, Royal Society Lecture ‘You and AI – the future of work’, Parliamentary & Scientific committee drinks & dinner, APPG infrastructure AGM, Lunch with the Editor of 5 News, APPG STEM & Diversity, Gas Safety Week 2018 drop-in, Holocaust Memorial Day trust Parliamentary reception, Royal African Society Autumn Networking reception, British Ports Association reception, APPG on Agriculture and Food for Development ‘Transforming Africa’s agricultural value chains through mechanisation’, Jeremy Beecham, Labour Party Conference 2018, Unite / Suzanne Reid, Historic England / Martin Spafford, B Collective Launch Event, Google Machine Learning Group, Community Action for Responsible Gambling meeting, Newcastle University Vision & Strategy launch event, Café Beam Visit, Bar Luga, Child Contact Centre, Alan Turing Institute tour, Early Career Researcher UK Awards, AFBE-UK’s Annual Seminar 2018 on Brexit, Engineering and Construction, City UK / Neil Harrison and Richard Kelly, Cherry Tree View homeless unit, Great War Commemoration service and dinner, UKHospitality Parliamentary reception, Warm Homes for Less parliamentary reception, Performance of ‘I’m not running’, Only a Pavement Away official launch, Pensions drop-in, Parliamentary launch of Angels of the North Book, Global WIN & ACCESS Partnership / Sarah Mamula, Stephanie Peters, Amanda Slater and Laura Sallstrom, president of Imperial College Professor Alice Gast, Wallsend Boys Club Annual Dinner

Black History Month at the RVI


Conference: Business `SME’s & Trade’ roundtable, Fabian Business taxation roundtable, Smith Institute ‘Why do companies go bust?, IPPR/Ombudsman Transforming UK Markets Room, Prospect/Nationwide Delivering an Inclusive Economy, Design Economy panel debate ‘Blueprint for the Economy’, Charities Aid Foundation ‘The original social networks: What is the value of charities in a digital future?’,  Labour Friends of Bangladesh, Labour Digital Launch, Royal Society panel discussion ‘What has science ever done for me?’, WWF Building an Economy that works for Nature, New Statesman & CIArb panel, CLASS ‘Socialism for 21st Century Britain’, Ethics of AI in financial Services’ panel, SERA education & skills for the green economy, Tech UK panel How to make UK a world leader in autonomous vehicles, Show Racism the Red Card , Fighting Sexism Rally

Westminster Higher Education Forum, Knowledge Exchange Framework. RGS Politics Society about Role as MP, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Workshop ‘ A Dialogue on Language and Labels’, NUST Magpie Group meeting, Power and Responsibility Summit, Action for Children Byte Night, Newcastle United Fans Foodbank ‘Close the Coalhouse Door’, Rape Crisis Tyneside & Northumbria ‘Her Story’, BBC Sunday Politics, New Statesman EPSRC , IET & ImechE Roundtable ‘Promoting Diversity & plugging the skills gap’, Westminster Hall Debate Asylum Accommodation Contracts, Westminster Hall Debate Promoting economic growth in the East of England, Mentoring International Day of the Girl, Imperial College ‘The Importance of diversity in STEM’, Gateshead CLP, RVI Black History Month ‘BAME Leadership in the NHS’, Newcastle University Black History Month ‘Importance of Black History Month


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