Dear Newcastle – July 7th 2019
This is the last week of Theresa May’s premiership and we are considering her legacy. It is hard to see anything positive. Certainly the Conservative Party leadership election which determines her successor, is not helping the nation. than it was. As the Tory public school boys tour the country for the benefit of a minute and unrepresentative portion of the population, Parliamentary debate, never mind actual legislation, is curtailed, white papers such as the really important one on Social Care, are stymied on Ministers desks as they wait to see who will be the next Prime Minister. They are even refusing to vote on our Opposition Day motions. They are neither in power nor in Government and yet nothing can happen without them.
Presentations during Volunteer Week at Riverside
At the same time, Brexit shambles combined with Government divisions on policy and the leadership candidates vying with each other for the hardest and most economically unacceptable Brexit position is causing huge concern for people and businesses here in the North East and across the world. We have seen further announcements of closures at Bridgend in Wales whilst manufacturing is at its lowest level for over six years.
I have focused on constituency issues in particular corresponding with Ministers on funding for Newcastle’s Sexual Exploitation Hub, Leasehold Reform, and financial transparency in football. I have also made progress in the APPGs I chair on Africa and Adult Education. I held a debate on algorithms and visas and spent a day in Brussels for the PES Presidency.
The Labour Party asked sitting MPs to confirm whether they wished to be selected for as the prospective candidate for their constituency and I wrote to the local party to set out why I would again seek to stand. That letter is here:
Backbench and Constituency Role
- Spoke from the backbenches 14 times: Serco’s Role in the Justice System (4 July); Sexual Abuse Conviction Rates (4 July); Algorithms: Inappropriate Use (4 July 2019); G20 and Leadership of EU Institutions (3 July 2019); English for Speakers of Other Languages (3 July 2019); Hong Kong (2 July); UK Soft Power (25 June); European Council (24 June); Visa Processing Algorithms (19 June); Public Transport: London (13 June); Jewish Community: Contribution to the UK (13 June); Discrimination in Sport (12 June); Business Growth: North of England (11 June) Emergency Services Network: NAO Report (10 June)
At the BBC Studios in Fenham opposing the abolition of free over 75 TV licences
I asked 24 written questions: Whether future funding for science has accounted for the 2015 report on public and private investment in science (4 July); Incentives for R&D for regulators (24 June); supporting the enforcement of warrants for MH17 shooters (21 June); support for families of victims of MH17 (21 June); which countries in Africa do not have a UK visa application centre (18 June); which countries in Africa have a UK visa application centre which is not open each working day (18 June); North East organisations allocated Prospering from the Energy Revolution funding (13 June); BEIS allocation of ODA funding (13th June); overseas scientists funded by ODA (13 June); out of hours interviews for working universal credit claimants (13th June); Sudanese military funding (13 June); UK visa application centres in Africa closures between 2017 and 2019 (18 June); BEIS research funding timeframe (3 June); UKRI allocation 2019-20 (3 June); Support for non-EU student exchange programmes (10 June); Impact of GCSEs taught over three years (10 June); diversity of UKRI grant recipients (11 June); Support for UK universities European collaboration (3 June); Support for UK universities European association membership (3 June); Chief Scientific Adviser appointment (3 June); North East organisations engagement and allocation of Prospering from the energy revolution funding (3 June); mental health services in schools (3 June)
I held a debate on Algorithms in Visa Processing in the Home Office which received some coverage, raised very interesting issues.
I visited the Hitachi Train factory in Newton Aycliffe to meet with women engineers there for International Women in Engineering Day.
I am engaged in correspondence with Ministers or Government Agencies on Leasehold, Litter, Long Term Support for Victims of Operation Sanctuary, Newcastle United Finance, Weinstein and Ipsa, Relocation and Ipsa, use of Algorithms in the Home Office with the Council on Kittiwakes and Homelessness and with LNER on Disability Access
At Hitachi in Newton Aycliffe
Shadow Ministerial and PES Role
- Spoke from the frontbenches twice: High Streets and Town Centres in 2030 (13 June); Industrial Strategy: North-East of England (5 June)
- I wrote a joint letter with our Shadow Secretary of State for Business Rebecca Long-Bailey and Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Peter Dowd, to the Chancellor asking for a package of support for small manufacturing businesses impacted by Brexit uncertainty. It was featured in the Guardian
- I continue to meet with business organisations on the implications of a no-deal Brexit as the first Brexit deadline approached.
- Brexit is severely impacting capacity to develop policy in other areas but I continue to work on science and industrial strategy.
- I spent a day in Brussels for the Party of European Socialists meeting with the new leader of the socialist grouping in the European parliament as well as Jude Kirton Darling and our MEPs.
- No organisational changes.
- Quoted in local and national media including TV Tyne Tees, Radio Newcastle and Wrote blog on Brexit for the New Statesman.
5th Fusiliers in old Eldon Square on Armed Forces Day
Meetings and visits
Small Business Charter Summer Reception, Carers Week Photo Call, Debbie Bannigan, NASSCOM, Government’s New Resources and Waste Strategy, Aerospace in Parliament, Get Up, Stand Up Now & Kaleidoscope Launch Party, Federation of Master Builders, Meeting with the Premier League for Labour MPs, R&D Meeting, Onshore Wind, Carbon Capture & Storage Association, BAM Nuttall Renewable Energy Association, Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed For Men, Hitachi Site Visit, Tyneside Cinema Welcome II the Terrordome, Northern Gas, UNISON, Film Screening of The Big Meeting, International Women in Engineering Day 2019, SMMT, Billy Bragg’s New Book Launch, Summer Westminster Conversation, Durham University Evidence Centre for Education Briefing, BAE Systems Hybrid Bus and Marine Technology, Bosch, Department for Internal Development’s Agricultural Team, New Labour North Group, Huawei Summer Reception, Football (Independent Regulator) Bill, Mass Lobby for Climate, Nature and People, The Time is Now, Urban Transport Group, PES Presidency Meeting, Jude Kirton-Darling MEP & Iratxe García, Orchard Mews Open Day, MP Meeting, Northern Stage Louie Ingham, Fenham Scouts Visit, BAE Systems, R&D Meeting with Sarah Main from Campaign for Science & Engineering, APPG Trade out of Poverty Dinner Discussion Boosting Trade Investment & Connectivity in Commonwealth Africa, Campaign for Better Transport drop-in Session on the Future of Buses,, Ford Roundtable Unions Welsh Govt, Discussion with Minnesota’s Attorney General Keith Ellison, APPG on Adult Social Care Launch Event, Royal Society’s Annual Summer Science Exhibition Soirée, Internet Association, APMG & MakeUK Reception, Centrica Visit, Labour Campaign for Drug Policy Reform North East Regional Meeting, Celebrate the Opening of Mick Peter: To Me, To You, John Akomfrah, Ballasts of Memory and Jerwood Arts at Baltic Centre, School Leaders’ Parliamentary Briefing on Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education, techUK Supercharging the North, Sustain’s 20th Birthday, PLP Labour, TV Licence Demo, Launch of LGBT+ School Diversity Week, Armed Forces Day Meet & Greet,
With UNISON celebrating the 71st anniversary of the creation of the NHS
Populus Interview, Roundtable Discussion on the Tech Sector in Context of Social Justice, FCO Leadership Conference – Africa Regional Day, Debate 11th Report Housing Communities LGC High Street, Host of Roundtable Discussion at National Farming Event, Ford Roundtable, Adjournment Debate on the Use of Algorithms in Home Office Visa Processing, Helen Warrell – Visa Algorithms, YouthStrike4Climate, Opening of Arrivals – Making Tyneside Home, Q&A Hitachi Rail, Windrush Day Commemoration, Synthetic Biology Panel Discussion, Opening of Evidence Week, Royal Society Biology Parliamentary Links Day Keynote, Labour Party Rose Network Engagement Event, Mental Health Heritage Conference, Chair Africa APPG Environmental Rights Roundtable, Debate on Provision of Funding for ESOL, IPSOS MP Survey, UNISON NHS’s Birthday Celebration.