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...
Today in Parliament charities, MP’s and carers came together to launch the start of Carers Week 2015 to pay tribute to the millions of remarkably hard working unpaid carers in the UK who for too long have gone under the radar.
Today in Parliament charities, MP’s and carers came together to launch the start of Carers Week 2015 to pay tribute to the millions of remarkably hard working unpaid carers in... Read more
It has been brought to my attention that the only bank in Featherstone is due to close this August and leave the town with no banking facilities whatsoever.
It has been brought to my attention that the only bank in Featherstone is due to close this August and leave the town with no banking facilities whatsoever. Read more
This is a defining moment for the future, and arguably the survival, of the Labour Party. In the coming months there will be much debate about what went wrong and where next.
In 2005 I produced evidence that Labour had lost 4 million voters since the election in 1997. A substantial part of these missing millions were traditional working class voters. This pattern has continued over the last 10 years.
In a minor tidal wave of what looks like pre planned statements, a group of commentators have argued that what lost the election was a failure to tap into the hopes of “aspirational” voters.
However, there is not a shred of evidence for their argument. The explanations for our defeat are deeper than this simplistic assessment.
The truth is that Labour recovered amongst middle class voters but has suffered a cataclysmic decline among working class voters.
It is possible to scrutinise now the initial voting analysis provided to me by the House of Commons Library.
If we compare the election results for our last election victory in 2005 with the result last Thursday and analyse by social class, a very interesting pattern emerges.
Here are the figures.
It is possible here to see that the proportions of AB and C1 voters who voted Labour in the last three elections has held steady. Indeed Ed Miliband’s leadership led to a mild recovery of these voters between 2010 and 2015, (as it did among the C2 group.)
A full analysis of what happened last Thursday is not yet possible but at least one opinion poll has shown that ‘the election result implied by polling would give the Tories 12.5 m votes and Labour 12.2 million. However, in the event the Tories secured 11.3 million votes and Labour 9.3 million.’ There were almost 3 million Labour identifiers that we failed to mobilise.
Labour’s electoral base last Thursday was by far the most middle class we have secured in our history. A strategy based on a misunderstanding of what is happening in our country will not work. We cannot expect to win an election without reaching out to other layers of the population and equally mobilising those Labour identifiers who didn’t bother to vote.
In the coming leadership election, candidates need therefore first of all honestly to demonstrate that they can develop a three-fold strategy in England (Scotland is a very special case):
A) Hold on to and indeed increase our middle class vote
B) Reach out to working class voters, and
C) Mobilise Labour identifiers who did not vote Labour.
I will shortly publish further reflections on what we do next. However, the party should not elect a Leader who cannot concretely demonstrate that they can deliver B) above, since they are the largest group of the electorate whose support we have lost.
Those in the PLP with leadership aspirations cannot remain in denial or ignorance of these facts. They do so at their own peril, but more fundamentally fail to understand why the Labour Party exists.
This is a defining moment for the future, and arguably the survival, of the Labour Party. In the coming months there will be much debate about what went wrong and...
With the polls closing in just over 24 hours, it is urgent that we get out the vote for Labour.
I know many people think that “they are all the same” or that voting doesn’t affect them. But in this election, more than for any election for a generation, it is important to cast your vote.
In my part of the world, Yorkshire, a vote for Labour would change people’s lives.
Under the Tories Yorkshire and Humber has suffered. Average wages are now over £2,000 a year less than they were in in 2010 in real terms. That means people are facing a huge squeeze on their living standards and finding it really difficult to make ends meet at the end of the month.
On top of this, insecure jobs and zero hour contracts have increased dramatically. There are nearly 60,000 people in Yorkshire that are on zero hour contracts which rely on a text in the morning to see if they will actually have any work that day. If you’re on one of these contracts you cannot get a mortgage, borrow money to buy a new car or plan for the future.
The Tories have built an economy based on low pay and insecure work that hits working people hard. We were told that this would cut the deficit and reduce borrowing. It hasn’t. In fact the Tories have failed on their own terms: they said the deficit would have been gone by 2015, but it’s now set to be £75 billion by then and they are borrowing over £200 billion more than they planned.
The Tories have got it wrong. We can only have a strong economy when working people across the whole of the country succeed, not just the few at the top. That’s why a Labour government will raise the minimum wage to over £8 an hour by October 2019, we will ban exploitative zero hour contracts and make it illegal to use agency workers to undercut wages of permanent employees.
That’s why a Labour vote could make all the difference to people’s lives.
With the polls closing in just over 24 hours, it is urgent that we get out the vote for Labour. I know many people think that “they are all the...
The NHS is not safe in Tory hands
We all know the Tories have caused a crisis in our National Health Service – the numerous statistics churned out of the last few years has proved it.
But people aren’t statistics and their experiences are much more shocking than the percentages and numbers we see in the media.
On the campaign trail this week, I met an 82 year old woman. This woman had been extremely ill and taken to her local hospital.
The hospital was understaffed and ill-resourced to respond to the urgent needs of patients – even those of emergency patients.
So, this woman got out of her hospital bed and actually started nursing other patients, even though she was sick herself.
This is just not acceptable.
Also, last week, one of my key volunteers was attacked by a dog and bitten.
He went to A&E straight away at 5pm that day to get the stiches he needed. The hospital he went to admitted him but then sent him to another hospital.
At the second hospital it wasn’t until 1am – 7 hours after the attack – that he was seen.
It is disgraceful that he had to wait that long for two stiches.
But it is not the fault of the staff, it is the fault of the Tories, who, over the last five years have driven the NHS into crisis.
Waiting times are up, people can’t get to see their GP and our ambulance service has been put under tremendous pressure.
We are all proud of our National Health Service and on May 7th we have to fight to save it, by voting Labour. Only in Labour’s hands will the NHS be safe.
The NHS is not safe in Tory hands We all know the Tories have caused a crisis in our National Health Service – the numerous statistics churned out of the...
It was great to be out and about in Featherstone recently when I met Morgan Binnersley. Morgan is passionate about animal welfare and was collecting for neglected Siberian Huskies.
I get hundreds and hundreds of e-mails and letters every year from people concerned about the way we treat animals. I am proud of the last Labour Government’s policies which achieved much to end animal cruelty. No other major political party has such a proven track record of decisive action for animals at home, on farms and in the wild.
The last Labour Government:
- banned hunting with dogs,
- secured an end to cosmetic testing on animals
- banned fur farming and
- introduced the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
A vote for Labour on 7th May will see a continuation of our commitment to animal welfare. A Labour Government will:
- Defend the hunting ban
- ban the use of wild animals in circuses
- end the government’s ineffective and inhumane badger culls
- improve the protection of dogs and cats
- tackle wildlife crime and reduce animal cruelty on shooting estates
- lead the fight against global animal cruelty.
If you would like to receive a copy of our animal welfare manifesto please get in touch.
It was great to be out and about in Featherstone recently when I met Morgan Binnersley. Morgan is passionate about animal welfare and was collecting for neglected Siberian Huskies. I get...
Today reminds me of when I met George, a 91 year old former miner who worked in Frickley Colliery for 46 years of his life.
During his time underground, he helped rescue and carry out 4 injured men from the pit. He himself sustained injuries, once quite badly.
The Conservatives try to make us believe that only the richest among us are the wealth creators of this country. But they are wrong; working people like this former miner are the truth wealth creators.
He is a true hero and Britain became great because of people like him, who have contributed so much often in return for little reward.
He came to see me because he is a little unsteady on his feet, but the local GP can no longer provide the chiropody service he needs. It now costs £20 each visit, which he can ill afford. In this way the Tories reintroducing charges into the NHS.
Today is International Workers Memorial Day. A lot has been done for health and safety in the workplace. Labour introduced the Health and Safety Act and created the Health and...