Dear Newcastle January 7th 2020
I hope it is not too late to wish everyone a very Happy New Year and indeed a New Decade. I am immensely grateful to everyone in Newcastle Central, whether you voted for me or not, for the opportunity to be your Member of Parliament once again. It is a huge honour and privilege, and as I said in my acceptance speech when elected on December 12th, it is an education. I learn so much from the people of Newcastle, about solidarity, hope, kindness and endurance. After ten years of austerity another Conservative Government means that no respite is in sight. Boris Johnson may claim to be the ‘King of the North’ but his policies will soon prove otherwise.
Thanks to Newcastle Central voters and the hard work of Newcastle City Council staff, I was the first MP to be elected and for a brief period Parliament was entirely Labour. However by Friday morning the scale of our defeat was clear as constituencies from Blyth to Warrington turned blue. Jeremy Corbyn is stepping aside as the leader of the Labour Party, the timetable for the leadership contest has been announced. I nominated Emily Thornberry and Rosena Allin Khan for leader and deputy leader respectively. I have yet to decide who I will be voting for, but I wanted to make sure these strong, feisty, women leaders were on the ballot. I set out my criteria for the leadership in a blog:
As the newly returned Member of Parliament my first official engagement was with the BKW Residents Association in Elswick for their Winter Festival. Strong communities are essential for a thriving city. For the new decade, my first official engagement was to welcome the children of Westgate Hill Primary School to Westminster. Meeting young people from Newcastle and those who serve their communities always give me hope for the future!.
Backbench and Constituency Role
- During the election I was a candidate, not an MP, so I could not take up any casework but I am pleased to say the office continued to function in Newcastle, albeit with reduced capacity. Most of the activities in this report are from before the election.
- I spoke from the backbenches 13 times in October Oral Q: Universal Credit ID (7th), Topical: Benefit Freeze 2020 (7th), Nazinin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (7th), Prep for no deal (8th), Racism in football (15th), NI abortion (16th), Sexual Harrassment at work (17th), Pornography Age verification (17th), Service Personnel recruitement (21st), Queens Speech Response on the NHS (23rd), Share Rural Broadband (28th), Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment (29th), Leaving the EU: workers rights (29th)
I put down 8 written questions Written Questions in October: Northumbria Police: Northern Ireland (4th), Fracking insurance (14th), Cash Dispensing: Fees and Charges(14th), Digital Technology: procurement (14th), Local Government adverts (16th), London Summit (16th), Fracking consultation (14th), Armed Forces Recruitment (21st)
Shadow Ministerial and PES Role
- I spoke from the frontbench once in October on Electric vehicles & Labour’s Green Industrial Deal (October 22nd)
- Gareth completed his PHD placement in the Newcastle Office and has now returned to Newcastle University. He is much missed but James Bamborough made an excellent start as my Parliamentary Assistant.
- Jessica Foster, our Newcastle Apprentice, completed her apprenticeship and won an excellent permanent job. We are now recruiting a new apprentice.
Featured in national and local media before and during the election including Domestic Abuse Campaign interview with Metro Radio, BBC Sunday Politics, Capital Radio UAE Sports Show interview.
Meetings and visits
City Baths Ground Floor tour, Jeremy Corbyn Rally, Anne Mensah Netflix, Federation of Small Businesses, US Embassy Aldrin Foundation Space Reception, GSK, APPG Africa Roundtable HM Trade Commissioner to Africa, How the Islamic World Influenced Western Art, Kew’s Botanic Gardens, Michael Buraimoh – Nigeria, Singapore Senior Parliamentary Secretary Dr Tan Wu Meng, Women Researchers at the UK Parliament, Holocaust Educational Trust Orientation Seminar, Community Leisure UK, Artsmark Celebration Week St John’s Primary School visit, Slug and Lettuce, Alison Blackburn Newcastle Disability Forum Chair, Election of the new Speaker: BAME Labour MPs Meeting, Raise Awareness and Discuss the Importance of Finding Suitable Accommodation for Women Released from Prison, Discuss Labour’s Race and Faith Manifesto, APPG Africa AGM, Celebration of English Wine, Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin Leaving Dinner, Make Menopause Matter, Taste of Sweden, WASPI, 25 Years of Eaga Charitable Trust, APPG Inquiry into the Sales Capabilities of SMEs Report Launch, Tech Tools and Data with Nick Lowles Hope Not Hate, Meeting the Battery Challenge Dinner Discussion, Media Awards 2019 to Mark Anti-Slavery Day, Institute of Physics Business Awards, Premier League Reception, Mrs T’s Café 4th Anniversary, HSBC Anti-Slavery Day Event, Labour Bloc Let Us Be Heard March, Ghana Delegation, IPT UK Economic Diplomacy Priorities Post-Brexit, Festival of Learning: Celebrating Achievement in Lifelong Learning, Lord Freyberg and Annemarie Naylor, APPG for Children Who Need Palliative Care, Creative Industries, Food Standards Agency, Bridget Riley Exhibition, Reception in Honour of Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, APPG on Mozambique AGM, Runnymede Trust Black History Month event, Launch of Persecuted and Forgotten? A Report on Christians Oppressed for their Faith 2017-19, Honour the Retirement of the Speaker, Mitzvah Day, Embassy of Ireland Celebrate Black History Month, Gatsby Foundation, Dame Jackie Daniel Chief Executive Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sainsbury’s Reverse Vending Recycling Trial, RSPB, Black History Month Celebration, Parliamentary Space Committee APPG AGM, British Council’s Future Leaders, APPG on Leasehold and Commonhold Reform AGM, Builders Merchants Federation Innovation, Being Black British and Muslim today, ENA’s Pathways to Net-Zero: Decarbonising the Gas Network in Great Britain, How Vocational Training Can Transform the Lives of African Women, Embassy of Japan.
Burger King Objection public meeting, Diversity in Energy Summit 2019, Digital Transformation Expo Europe, Rolls Royce Reps Meeting, CBI Companies Committee Meeting, Anne Frank + You Exhibition Launch, Democracy Café, Labour Black History Month Business Roundtable, Chair Roundtable Meeting with Andrew Stephenson MP, Ndi IGBO North East England, Hadrian School Pendower Land call.