Dear Newcastle – May Newsletter 2024

Read Chi’s full newsletter below or at: Dear Newcastle Final May 2024Front page of Dear Newcastle

We need strong communities across our country


The local election results show just how the UK is crying out for change.  The strong swing to Labour across the country is a consequence of 14 years of Tory failure.  For local communities in Newcastle that has meant  14 years of declining support. The chaos and instability of these years are being felt by people across our city. They see it in their cost of living, in their mortgage and rental payments, in the times they have to wait for urgent healthcare. Whole swathes of criminal behaviour effectively decriminalised and prisoners let out early into an overstretched probation service. People are paying more through a rising tax burden but getting less.  The cost of living remains high and is a major issue for many constituents.

But instead of taking the blame admitting they crashed the economy,  chopped and changed leader; and become completely out of touch with what people have been going through, the Government is seeking to divide our communities, turn them against each other.  Fortunately in Newcastle we have generally been able to rise above that but the language Ministers use and the policies they pursue are certainly impacting community cohesion.  It is time for a general election!

Constituency Role

I secured a meeting with the Minister for Housing on behalf of constituents in Leases Park area to discuss leasehold issues which have been plaguing their lives for a decade.  Two constituents joined me and were able to talk through their experience with the St Mary Magdalene & Holy Jesus Trust in detail with top Ministry officials.  We hope to be able to make progress!

I was pleased to be able to raise the issue of  how disabled and unwell benefits claimants are treated in Parliament.  There are 4500 economically inactive people in the constituency.  They have been let down by a horribly confusing benefits system, a lack of support to get into work and an overstretched NHS with long waiting lists. The Minister refused to accept responsibility.

I was drawn to ask a question of the Prime Minister.  He was a way so his deputy, Oliver Dowden, was there to answer instead. I asked him why  my constituent, Lisa, who cares for her mother now faces a £4000 bill for overpaid carers allowance due to a DWP blunder, but when the Secretary of State blundered by calling a top scientist a Hamas supporter, she got all her legal bills and costs paid. He didn’t answer but then he didn’t answer anybody’s questions!

I continue to press the Government on an independent investigation of the Israeli Defence Force’s actions in Gaza.

Shadow Ministerial Role

I met with a German delegation from the ruling SPD party to discuss innovation and industrial strategy, as well as the lessons to be learnt from the rise of the far right, and support for Ukraine.

I gave the closing address at the  Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries  annual conference, focusing on the opportunities of the life sciences for growth, jobs and wellbeing.

I enjoyed an inspiring visit tond   STFC aSciTech Innovation Centre in Daresbury and Moltex Flex in Warrington. Moltex Flex using innovative molten salt cooling to design small, modular, safe reactors that can be used in industry and the national grid.


We are recruiting for a Trainee Admin Assistant based in the Newcastle  Office.


I was quoted regularly in national and local media.

Top tweet

I’m backing @KiMcGuinness to be our first North East Mayor. She will focus on creating thousands of well-paid, secure jobs in all sectors across the North East, making our region the home of real opportunity for working people. #VoteLabour!

57 replies 39 retweets 124 likes 21.8k views

Speaking From The Front Bench (1)

Space Industry 24 April

Speaking From The Back Bench (12)

Cass Review 15 April Rail Manufacturing: Job Losses 16 April Humanitarian Situation in Gaza 17 April Great North Museum 18 April Physical Activity: Lower Income Families 18 April Regional Mayors 18 April Sudan: Government Response 22 April Prime Ministers Questions 24 April Infected Blood Compensation 25 April Public Sector Procurement: Digital Goods and Services 25 April Investigation of IDF 29 April Health and Disability Reform 29 April

WPQs (19)

Clinical Trials: Contracts 30 April Clinical Trials 30 April Developing Countries: Economic Situation 30 April Developing Countries: Economic Situation 30 April FCDO: Written Questions 30 April DSIT: FOI Request 25 April Department for Education: Staff 25 April Gaza: Aid Workers 25 April Innovation: Expenditure 24 April Electric Vehicles 24 April UKRI: UKHSA 23 April Research: Foreign Investment 23 April Research: Overseas Investment 22 April Research: Public Sector 22 April Science and Technology: Foreign Investment 18 April Innovation and Research: Infrastructure 18 April Higher Education: Finance 18 April Research and Science: Business 18 April Disease Control: Research 18 April

Meetings and visits

Dementia Mission; Kevin McDonagh BioMarin; Briefing Regulatory Horizons Council forthcoming report on future space technology; Lee Rowley Leasehold Meeting; Michelle Peacock & Ben Lowenstein; Waymo; North East Child Poverty Commission; Northumbria Students Union Meeting; Lee Rowley Leasehold follow up; Glasshouse Abigail Pogson; Castle Leazes Redevelopment Professor Melanie Davies; Professor of Diabetes Medicine; Hadrian School: James Place: Lloyds & Crisis Visit; Tour Technicians Gallery & Gatsby Foundation; NatWest Accelerator Programme; Secondary Breast Cancer Exhibition; The Pattern Shop; Sci-Tech; MoltexFlex; British Gas X Samsung Parliamentary Drop-in; PLP Drinks Reception; Lesbian Visibility Week Reception; Save the Children Director for Occupied Palestine territory briefing


I continue to engage with Ministers, Government Agencies and others regarding bringing real time bus information to Newcastle, the ongoing situation in Palestine, welfare benefit overpayments, the swing bridge, social housing repairs, housing and homelessness, and litter and bin collections.


First memorial dedicated to the Roma Victims of the Holocaust; New Statesman Podcast recording; Centre of Additive Manufacturing (CfAM) Roundtable; Space Industry Westminster Hall debate; ABPI Keynote





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