Once more on Iraq.
Iraq is in the news once more. The Chilcot report is in the headlines - for the wrong reasons.
It is hard not to view the delay to publication of the report as an establishment tactic to keep the ball in the long grass for as long as possible. It is time that it was published.
But the Labour Party also has unfinished business in connection with the war. Jeremy Corbyn has sought to address this today.
It has been argued that the Iraq war happened long ago and has little bearing on present day politics. Others have said that the electorate supported a Blair government even after the military intervention in Iraq.
Yet that war continues to cast a shadow over the whole of British politics as the controversy about the delays to the Chilcot report shows. The whole of the political class, as well as the media were in favour of the war.
Those of us who voted repeatedly against the proposal were left in a minority and were often the subject of vilification.
It was only later that the awful truth began to emerge. That there were no weapons of mass destruction. And in spite of robust statements at the time that the war was not about regime change, when the sickening fact emerged that we went to war on a false prospectus, our leaders began to justify their actions by saying that they had ridden the world of a dictator.
To this day we do. It know the whole truth about the path to war, but there is a settled opinion that the country was not told the truth and that our troops were put in harm's way with little justification.
The collapse of trust in British politics occurred in part because of what was said and done in the run up to war. There were many other factors too. But Iraq remains a key moment. Of course, the Labour Leadership especially was seen as responsible and it is therefore of particular importance that we settle our view once and for all.
Ed Miliband was aware that this was an issue and he made the following comments when he was elected as Leader:
"Iraq was an issue which divided our party and our country. Many sincerely believed that the world faced a real threat. I criticise nobody faced with making the toughest decisions and I honour our troops who fought and died there. But I do believe that we were wrong. Wrong to take Britain to war and we need to be honest about that."
Ed's statement was clear. It was an honourable effort to retain unity and at the same time draw a line under the whole Iraq venture.
But there were two problems with it. First, few people heard it because the media were besotted with the discussion of the trivia of two brothers contesting the leadership.
There was a second problem with Eds formulation, however. How could it really be that the war was a "wrong" and yet he would criticise non one for their decision. Questions of war and peace cannot be dismissed in this way.
This is why Jeremy is correct today to return to this matter. He has said that if he becomes leader he will apologise on behalf of the party for the war and for the "deception" involved in the decision. He will also say that we should never again go to war in such circumstances.
This formulation is the correct on. Jeremy says Labour must apologise and goes further in saying that deception was involved in the process. Of course there will be a full national debate about Iraq if and when Chilcot publishes his report. But Jeremy's words are correct and long overdue.
Jon Trickett MP
Once more on Iraq. Iraq is in the news once more. The Chilcot report is in the headlines - for the wrong reasons. It is hard not to...
With one in two people set to be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives it is vital that we support research and treatment now more than ever.
Last week I attended a reception held by Cancer Research UK and spoke to some of their dedicated volunteers about their work and the cancer treatment facilities in the Hemsworth constituency. It is shocking that around 1,800 people are diagnosed with cancer every year in our constituency with a survival rate of only 50%. We must do all that we can to support the work of Cancer Research UK, and other charities, to eradicate this terrible disease.
If you would like to find out more about the work of Cancer Research visit their website at: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/
With one in two people set to be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives it is vital that we support research and treatment now more than ever....
The south-east of Wakefield has been without a public swimming baths now for over two years. The community campaigned hard to secure a replacement pool and I know from chatting to people that they are wondering what’s happening with the plans to build the baths on the site of Minsthorpe School.
Following a recent meeting that I requested with the Leader of Wakefield Council, Peter Box, I have received an assurance that the proposed plans are underway. I was told that a time table is in place for the planning application to be submitted and then the process of going out to tender for the building contract will commence. The expected opening date will be around the beginning of January 2017.
I will continue to follow this issue closely to ensure that our community gets the public swimming pool that it needs and deserves. I will also monitor the proposed timetable. None of us want to see the opening date being pushed back.
The south-east of Wakefield has been without a public swimming baths now for over two years. The community campaigned hard to secure a replacement pool and I know from chatting...
I will not be the only person who feels anger at the government decision to allow Hatfield colliery to close. The pit has provided employment for near on 100 years. Whilst Britain will continue to burn coal for many years to come it will have been mined at the other side of the world!
In the last few days I have had a significant number of conversations with the Chair of the board of the colliery, Mr John Grogan. I have also spoken on a number of occasions with the MP who covers Hatfield, Ed Miliband.
Three key facts became clear:
1) the government caused the closure because they doubled the carbon tax which then led the power stations to buy huge stocks of coal before the tax was implemented with the consequence that the price of coal fell.
2) Nonetheless all the coal they could produce in the next year had customers who were prepared to buy it.
3) It was also clear that if the colliery had remained open, then the government would have continued to receive a large amount of tax paid by the miners and VAT paid by the company. Now the miners will have to receive benefits until they find other work.
The government decision is a disgrace and is yet another example of how they are destroying the Yorkshire economy.
I will not be the only person who feels anger at the government decision to allow Hatfield colliery to close. The pit has provided employment for near on 100 years....
The crisis last summer in Gaza was horrific and we must do all we can to prevent future conflicts.
Earlier this week I attended a lobby hosted by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC). The PSC is campaigning for peace and justice for the Palestinian people by calling for an end to the blockade on Gaza and a ban on arms imports in Israel. Bombs and bullets will not fix this problem; there must be a diplomatic, humanitarian solution.
I have received many letters and emails from my constituents raising the issue of Gaza and the terrible conflict last summer. This reflects the wider growing national support for Palestine, including hundreds of thousands of protesters that demonstrated across the UK last year. It is clear that politicians must act on this public support and put pressure on the Government to ensure that the fundamental human rights and lives of Palestinians are protected.
The crisis last summer in Gaza was horrific and we must do all we can to prevent future conflicts. Earlier this week I attended a lobby hosted by the Palestine...
Recently I wrote to Yorkshire Bank to ask them to reconsider the closure of their Featherstone branch. I have received a response which indicates that despite the issues raised and the public opposition they intend to close the branch anyway.
Below is a letter that I have written in reply to Yorkshire Bank's letter:
'I acknowledge receipt of your recent letter confirming the closure of Featherstone Branch....
I am very disappointed that you are not prepared to reconsider your decision and I also know that many residents are angry at your decision to go ahead. People have told me how they, as Yorkshire folk feel a strong connection with Yorkshire Bank. Some recall how they used to save money every week at school with your Bank and then, throughout their adult years, continued banking with you. Some customers even remember when the Bank was known as the Yorkshire Penny!
During the 1984-85 Miners’ Strike Yorkshire Bank stayed loyal to many of Featherstone’s residents offering mortgage holders a deferment. Whilst everyone recognises that times have moved on there is a sense of bitter disappointment that you could not choose, as some other high street banks facing similar challenges in other areas of my constituency have, to remain open albeit with reduced opening times. This would have at least ensured you retained a presence within Featherstone and also at some level acknowledged the loyalty and support you have had from many thousands of Featherstone residents over the years.
Recently I wrote to Yorkshire Bank to ask them to reconsider the closure of their Featherstone branch. I have received a response which indicates that despite the issues raised and...
On Friday I visited a school at South Kirkby. The school is called Stockingate Mill Junior School.
I spoke to perhaps 60 or 70 children aged between seven and 11. The school is going to set up a school Parliament and the children will be able to stand for election as MPs, ministers and even the Prime Minister.
The best part of the visit was when the children asked me questions. I can honestly say that they were very tough questions indeed, and also showed great intelligence.
For example one of the children said would it be okay if you were an MP to start speaking in parliament by saying “hey up” as we do here in Yorkshire. To my astonishment one of the other children said that it would not be right, because when speaking in parliament it would be best to use “formal language” rather than “informal language”.
This of course is correct and it was fascinating to see that young children understood the difference in styles of speaking which should be used in difference situations. Equally interesting was when I asked a second question as to whether this means that we should not speak with a Yorkshire accent in Parliament the pupils were equally clear that you can speak formal English but in a Yorkshire accent.
What a fascinating discussion, in a great school and to meet intelligent youngsters with all their lives in front of them.
I guess that it is OK for me to say “hey up” amongst friends and colleagues in casual conversation but not when addressing the House of Commons.
What do you think?
When can a Yorkshire MP use a Yorkshire phrase like “hey up”? Pupils at Stockingate Mill School teach me a lesson
On Friday I visited a school at South Kirkby. The school is called Stockingate Mill Junior School. I spoke to perhaps 60 or 70 children aged between seven and...
It is now over 30 years since the terrible events at Orgreave. I would like to thank the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign for inviting me to this important rally and I am very disappointed that I could not be there today due to voting in the House of Commons.
I would add my congratulations to the campaign for refusing to accept the idea that the truth will never be told. This would be totally unacceptable.
In fact the truth has never been properly told about the way in wh...ich the whole apparatus of the state including the abuse of the criminal justice system and as well as an assault on the supposed neutrality of the British police force was used to achieve the political ends of the Conservative party to crush the NUM.
Orgreave was the single most dramatic moment which clearly revealed the determination of the Thatcher government to achieve its goals whatever the price.
What followed was the collapse of the attempted prosecution of 95 miners on riot charges, following allegedly fabricated accounts and statements given by the police officers who were there that day.
Despite the passage of time, there still hasn’t been any justice.
Only the other week, the Independent Police Complaints Commission announced, after a lengthy investigation, that there would be no inquiry into the events that took place at Orgreave. That is simply not good enough. It simply perpetuates the injustices done at the time.
As we all know, we need a full inquiry into the events at Orgreave, nothing less will do.
I commit myself to working alongside yourselves to pursue the truth in this matter.
It is now over 30 years since the terrible events at Orgreave. I would like to thank the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign for inviting me to this important rally...
On Tuesday I spoke out in Parliament during a debate about the availability of medicines for those suffering from rare diseases. The Grandmother of Sam Brown lives in my area. Sam is a young boy who suffers from Morquio syndrome an incredibly rare disease which affects the way his skeleton grows. He has been taking the drug Vimizim, the only drug for his condition, which has been funded so far by the pharmaceutical manufacturer but the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) say it is expensive and its benefits have been overestimated.
During the debate I argued that NICE have stated that the drug is ‘likely to provide valuable clinical benefits for certain aspects of the condition’. Even if the drug does not completely stop the disease’s progression, how can NICE axe this wonderful boy’s medicine that has seen him grow stronger from its benefits?
To watch the debate, please click on the link below.
On Tuesday I spoke out in Parliament during a debate about the availability of medicines for those suffering from rare diseases. The Grandmother of Sam Brown lives in my area....
Yesterday I went to a meeting organised by the Motor Neurone Disease Association to highlight MND Awareness month. While there I spoke to many people involved in spreading awareness of MND, and the problems that it causes, including TV Presenter Charlotte Hawkins who is a patron of the Association and whose father sadly died of MND.
Having received a number of letters and emails from my constituents, I appreciate the importance of ensuring that people suffering with MND gain access to high quality care and support. The work of organisations, such as the MND Association, is crucial in informing the Government and commissioners about the requirements for healthcare, social care and welfare amongst people with MND.
MND Awareness month had huge success last year with the Ice Bucket challenge which raised over £7 million in donations. If you want to find out more about MND, the problems that it causes or the campaigning of the MND Association you can visit http://www.mndassociation.org/.
Yesterday I went to a meeting organised by the Motor Neurone Disease Association to highlight MND Awareness month. While there I spoke to many people involved in spreading awareness of...