Dear Newcastle Oct 5th 2019
Opening of Elswick Pool
When Lady Hale, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court announced that Parliament had not been lawfully prorogued on September 25th it meant that all of a sudden I found myself in the wrong place – legally Parliament was still sitting and I needed to be there. It was a bit of a scramble but also a huge relief to get back to parliament and return to trying to sort out Brexit and hold Boris Johnson to account for the ongoing, deliberate Brexit shambles causing so many problems for our economy in the North East. It is deeply troubling that the British Courts should find that our Prime Minister acted unlawfully and, effectively lied to the Queen. The unanimous decision of the Supreme Court was a blow for the Government and an important sign that our democracy with its unwritten constitution and arcane procedures, can rebuff the manoeuvring of unscrupulous and increasingly desperate Prime Minister. This may be very important in the weeks to come!
Accessible Bus Day at the RVI Hospital
When Parliament was ‘prorogued’ I was one of a number of MPs who protested the Speaker leaving the Chamber, in a peaceful (although necessarily disorderly) way. We had informed the Speaker first of our intention to do this, it did not seem right that such an outrageous act by the Government should pass unmarked. After prorogation I spent a day in Brussels with other MPs from the Love Socialism grouping to meet with and talk to MEPs from Labour & other socialist and green parties on how things what the view was from Brussels. It was clear that there was a lot of support for the Labour Party and the UK more generally.
Labour Party conference was in Brighton this year. I gave 21 speeches on a range of subjects but mainly focusing on innovation, industrial strategy and the new, green economy. I was pleased that our conference voted for net zero economy by 2030 – it is stretching and ambitious but could create hundreds of thousands of good jobs as well as saving the planet.
When we returned to Parliament we made the most of our opportunity to hold the Government to account with many urgent questions and the continuation of the Domestic Abuse Bill.
Backbench and Constituency Role
- I organised a People’s Parliament in response to the unlawful prorogation of Parliament, but when this was overturned I did not think it appropriate to go ahead with it. However there was significant interest in it and it is something I will look to do in the future.
- I held a ninety minute Westminster Hall debate on the Regulation of the Internet of Things which proved to be an intelligent and well informed discussion of the issues. Quite a rarity!
- Very useful and productive visit to Brussels to meet MEPs and others in the Labour and Green Movements.
Speaking at North East Climate Justice at the Monument
- I am engaging with Ministers or Government Agencies on Leasehold, Litter, Long Term Support for Victims of Operation Sanctuary, Newcastle United Finance, Relocation and Ipsa, use of Algorithms in the Home Office, with the Council on Homelessness and with LNER and Nexus on Disability Access
- I spoke from the backbenches seven times Prorogation (9th Sept), Brexit readiness (25th), Shorting the pound (30th Sep), Deaths of Homeless (1st Oct), Domestic Abuse Bill (2nd), Topical question on Football regs (3rd), Brexit Negotiations (3rd October)
- I put down 14 written questions Procedure for private algorithms in public sector (25th Sep), PMs London summit details (25th Sep), funding for electric vehicles (25th Sept), support for renewables in Africa (25th Sept), Nanotech in medicine (25th Sept), Internet of Things surveillance (25th Sept), data framework for IoT (25th Sept), Food supplies in North East (30th Sep), Assistance for North East Business (30th Sep), Criteria for assistance for business (30th Sept), Port of Tyne Brexit fund (30th Sept), Money available for business (30th Sept), Skills for workforce for Decarbonisation (1st Oct), High rates on immunisation in NE lessons (2nd Oct)
Shadow Ministerial and PES Role
- Conference supported our industrial and green agenda. Jeremy Corbyn announced the Peoples Medicines Pharma policies I was working on over the summer.
- Brexit is severely impacting capacity to develop policy in other areas but I continue to work on science and industrial strategy.
TUC Better Health at Work Award visit at Inspired Outsourcing
- Gareth continues to do a fantastic job as stand in Parliamentary Assistant. Successfully completed the recruitment of a Parliamentary Assistant. James, originally from Bolden begins on November 4th. Ethan joined us from the US on a studentship
Featured in national and local media including New Statesman blog on the Prime Minister Brexit wars, Labourlist blog on the a Jeremy Corbyn led Caretaker Government, BBC Newcastle: What Happens Now Following the Supreme Court Judgement, Express: WASPI Interview, Capital Radio Sports: NUFC.
Meetings and visits
Moorside Autumn Allotment Show, Advocates for Justice, Shelter, APPG Choice at End of Life, Cisco, Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, BEAMA, Celebrating the History of US & UK Diplomacy, S&D Group, EPLP, Frans Timmermans, Iratxe Garcia Perez MEP, Ester Lynch ETUC, Morses Club, JobCentre plus, Accessible Bus Day, Greg Muttitt and Anna Markova – Authors of Green Jobs & Just Transition for Fossil Fuel Workers, Dilston Road Medical Centre, Dr Rhys Thomas – Epilepsy deaths, Samuel Knight International, Harvest Festival & Silver Sunday Celebration, Cancer UK, North East England Nature Partnership, CLP, Unison, Lord Bishop of Newcastle Christine Hardman, UKspace, H21, Campaign, Strawberry Place Developer Group, Grainger PLC, F.I.T Club, Northumbria Police. Regional Labour Link
JobCentre Plus visit at Cathedral Square
Love Socialism rally, Jacksonville Jaguars NFL Live Screening, New Statesman, Northern Night, IPPR, BAME Stakeholders, Angling Trust & BASC, Business Forum, Business & International reception, Newcastle Central delegates Sage UK, Macmillan Cancer Support, Embassy of Ireland, Institute of Directors.
North East for Europe rally, Tackling the Far Right & Building Unity at TUC Future Leaders Programme, Great North Running Annual Service of Blessing, Childhood Cancer 2019 Conference, The Rocket Hack by Nomad Rail, National Innovation Centre Data DATAJAM, TUC Better Health at Work, UKSCN North East Climate Justice, Women Equalities Team Fringe, Westminster Hall Debate – Internet of Things.
Positive Money Financing a Just Transition Under a Labour Government, Small Business Summit, LabourList with Our Fuutre Skies: Connecting Britain, Business Forum Breakout Roundtable: Science, Innovation and R&D, IPPR Local Economic Development, IFG Future of Tech and State, Fabian & ABPI Skilled Jobs Everywhere, SME4Labour Small Business reception for the Vaping Industry, Social Market Foundation & The One Powerhouse Consortium Regional Inequality, Labour Friends of Bangladesh, Core Cities: Driving Inclusive Growth for Tomorrow’s Generation, IPPR Roundtable on Employee Engagement, Reform Roundtable on Inclusive Innovation, ADS Industry Roundtable, CPP: Ensuring Adult Skills Meet the Needs of Our Economy and Communities, Royal Society & National Academy Research & Innovation, New Statesman Centrica Powering our Communities, IET: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Finding Tech & Engineering Solutions for a Decarbonised World, Make UK: 2020 – Will it be Break or Make for UK Manufacturing?