Speaking on climate change

Recently in Parliament I highlighted the role local authorities can play in tackling climate change, and praised Barnsley Council​’s climate emergency declaration and commitment to action.It’s critical we work together at all levels to tackle this threat.https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change-global-warming-end-human-civilisation-research-a8943531.html

Writing to the EU on Brexit

I and 18 of my Labour colleagues have written to the EU, pressing them to work with the UK Government and agree a compromise Brexit deal.It’s time to get Brexit sorted.We need a deal that allows us to leave on 31st October:

Questioning the Government on probation services

Following my meeting yesterday with the probation service in South Yorkshire, today I raised the issue of failures of the privatised probation system with the Secretary of State.You can watch my comments in Parliament here.

Meeting the probation service

Brierley's Jackie Wileman was killed by four men - one of them was on probation, and two had recently left supervision.Today in Sheffield I met with the South Yorkshire probation service to raise the impact this tragedy has had on Jackie's family, and to press them on what steps are being taken to address the problems this tragic incident highlighted.

Supporting the Raise the Rate campaign

Like so many other of the services people across Barnsley depend on, post-16 education has suffered at the hands of a near decade of austerity under the Tories.I’m supporting the Raise the Rate campaign to increase the core funding rate for 16-18 education.

Pressing the Government on teaching assistants and support staff

In the Government’s recent education funding announcement I pressed the Education Secretary to confirm it would not come at the expense of more teaching assistants and support staff, nearly a third of which have been lost in Barnsley’s schools under the Tories.You can watch my comments in Parliament here.

Signing a letter to the EFL on Bury

As clubs across the country play today, sadly Bury and its fans face an uncertain future.I signed this letter to the 71 EFL clubs calling for Bury to be readmitted next season.Sadly clubs decided against this at their meeting last Thursday, but the fight to save Bury goes on.

Visiting the Barnsley Canister Company exhibition

I dropped in to Experience Barnsley’s exhibition on the Barnsley Canister Company, which started life as a First World War munitions factory and went on to export tins around the world.It was great to see the work being done to preserve another important part of our area's industrial heritage.

Column: Creativity in Schools

The following appeared as my column in the Barnsley Chronicle on 27th September: When discussing schools and education, much of our focus is rightly on subjects such as English, Maths, and Science, and the success of students in these core areas. But we shouldn’t forget about the more creative subjects, either. Lessons in music, drama, and art, for example, not only provide another area to gain important grades, but can have a wider impact on the students themselves. For many children, these subjects allow them to express themselves and show off their talents and creativity, with a career in a relevant field an option for some. This isn’t restricted to the classroom, either. Some children take part in these activities in after school clubs, where teachers and supervisors often selflessly give up their own time to encourage and nurture the creative talents young people in our community have to offer.   And when recently visiting a school in Cudworth, I heard about a brilliant example of this right here in our town. Birkwood Primary School, like many others in Barnsley, has seen pupils take up instruments, and in this case form a brass band ensemble to follow in the footsteps of the proud local tradition we have in our community. In fact, the collection of young musicians were inspired to start by a performance by the world-renowned Grimethorpe Colliery Band itself in the school hall some years ago. The children have their instruments provided, and receive tuition courtesy of the Grimethorpe Colliery Band. The band encourages creativity, develops the musical skills of the pupils, teaches excellent life skills like teamwork and camaraderie, and links this generation to the traditions of the past in continuing our town’s proud legacy of brass bands. And it is funded by the school, who rightly believe it fits with their motto of ‘Inspire, Cherish, Achieve’. It’s an excellent initiative, and indicative of the opportunity I want every young person here in Barnsley to have. So whether it’s an arts club, drama class, or band practices, alongside their studies in other subjects, each pupil should have the chance to participate in creative programmes.  Young people in our community have so much to offer, and have the potential to contribute creatively and culturally not just here in Barnsley, but right across the world. It’s only right we give them the opportunity to do so.

Speaking to The Today programme on Brexit

Ahead of Labour's conference vote on our Brexit position, I spoke to The Today programme about why the Labour Party should listen to towns like Barnsley and honour the referendum result.You can listen to this here.