It’s hard to believe that now two years ago, I was elected to serve as Warrington South’s MP. It has been a huge honour to represent the town and it’s a privilege I will never take for granted.
It has been a busy and eventful two years, locally and in Parliament.
Brexit has dominated in Westminster. This issue is a defining moment in our nation’s political history. It is an issue which has led to the fall of not one but two Conservative Prime Ministers.
Clearly there are strong feelings on both sides of the issue and a great deal of anger. Looking to the future, we need to find an approach that can command the confidence of Parliament and the nation so that we can move on and begin to heal the divisions created.
Despite the anger over Brexit, I was delighted that across the north west we united in our opposition to the far-right’s Tommy Robinson at the recent European Elections. Our region stood together to make it clear that hatred and racism have no place here.
Brexit’s dominance in Westminster has meant that over the last two years many other pressing issues have not received the attention they deserve.
Since 2010, Conservative-led austerity measures have had a devastating impact on communities up and down the country:
– We have a crisis in our health and Social Care system
– Local councils are at breaking point
– Our schools are desperately underfunded
– Frontline police officers are fighting rising levels of crime without the central government funding urgently needed to meet these rising figures
– Record numbers of people have been turning to foodbanks as the Government’s flagship policy – Universal Credit – continues to fail those in greatest need.
Over the last two years I have spoken out in Parliament at every opportunity to raise the key issues facing our town, including:
– Introducing a Ten-Minute Rule Motion to parliament which seeks to strengthen our trade unions and build a better deal for working people
– Attacking the Government’s woeful record on local government funding
– Slamming the Government for its ongoing failure to stand by its word and scrap the Mersey Gateway tolls
– Taking concerns about HS2 and the Golborne Link to the Government minister responsible to demand action
– Speaking out in the climate debate which resulted in the Government signing up to Labour’s climate emergency declaration
– Putting pressure on the Housing Minister over the Government’s failure to provide social housing in Warrington
– Leading a debate to mark the UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
– Speaking out against fracking
– Calling on Ministers to provide proper funding for our schools
– Calling for an effective apprenticeships and skills policy – crucial to closing the productivity gap and boosting our competitiveness globally.
Despite Government incompetence and inaction on these issues, I will continue to keep up the pressure in Parliament to fight for a better outcome for our town.
Locally, it remains clear that under this Government local people are finding life tough and many are struggling to make ends meet. Despite Brexit overshadowing many other issues in Westminster, I remain committed to doing whatever I can to speak out for my constituents, to fight for Warrington South and to oppose the reckless and damaging policies of this Conservative Government.
In the constituency, I have been working hard – taking up hundreds of pieces of casework, hosting weekly surgeries and roving surgeries. I have been out visiting schools across the constituency, attending meetings, events and coffee mornings so that I can continue to be as accessible as possible.
– Locally, I am fighting to protect our Green Belt from development. I called on the Government to put an end to the practice of land banking to free up more brownfield sites. I have backed infrastructure proposals that will improve access and help to reduce congestion in and around the town centre. I have also supported funding bids to rejuvenate the town centre, helping to strengthen its future viability. I continue to speak out in Westminster against future Green Belt development.
– I have and will continue to object to inappropriate planning applications, including the recent Eddie Stobart and Six:56 applications for developments on the Green Belt.
– I called for a new community recycling centre for south Warrington to be enshrined in the Local Plan. I also called for the Stockton Heath site to remain in operation until a new centre is opened and work on this is ongoing.
– I have been campaigning for the town’s swing bridges to be repainted – I met with Peel Ports and Warrington Borough Council to make the case for action. I will keep the pressure up on this until the work takes place.
– I hosted a local Housing Summit to look at the action that is needed to address the housing crisis – including actions which would free up brownfield sites, protect the country’s Green Belt and put an end to the leasehold scandal.
– I called on Warrington Borough Council to declare an environmental and climate emergency and I am hosting a Green Summit to look at the radical action we can take locally to address these environmental challenges.
– I have been campaigning on behalf of Warrington South WASPI women affected by changes to the state pension age and have been calling on the Government and Warrington’s Own Buses to bring forward concessionary bus travel for the women who have lost out. I hosted a coffee morning to discuss the concerns of those affected in more detail.
– I called for the Over 75s free TV Licence to be protected and contacted thousands of people affected by this issue to ensure they could have their say.
I am working hard every day to repay the trust that voters in Warrington South placed in me when they elected me 2 years ago.
I remain as committed to my constituents today as the day I was elected.
Thanks to everyone in Warrington South who placed their trust in me 2 years ago and who gave me the greatest honour of representing my home town.
I will not let you down. I will continue to work tirelessly on behalf of all my constituents and I will keep up the fight to get the very best for Warrington South.