Visiting BSARCS

I visited Barnsley Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Services​ to drop off the sponsorship I raised running the London Marathon for them.It was lovely to chat to the team and see their new building.They do such amazing work.Thank you again to everyone who donated to such an important cause.

Alzheimer's Society photo exhibition

I visited a fascinating photo exhibition in Parliament on dementia care by the Alzheimer's Society​.A sobering depiction of the human impact of a broken care system facilitating a crisis in dementia care.

Speaking on sentences for death by dangerous driving

Over 160k people have signed a petition calling for an increase in maximum sentences for those guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.The public, charities, MPs, and even the Government agree - so what are they waiting for? The punishment must fit the crime.You can watch my speech in Parliament here.

Visiting Worsbrough Bridge AFC

It was great to visit Worsbrough Bridge AFC following our meeting a few weeks ago, Mark the club chairman showed me round the ground.We chatted about their work in the community in Worsbrough, and ways I can work with them on their plans to improve their facilities.

Stairfoot drop-in surgery

It was good to hold one of my regular residents’ drop-in surgeries in Stairfoot this evening, we discussed lots of issues from SEN funding, the environment, policing to Universal Credit.Thanks to all constituents who came along!

Barnsley Academy celebratory breakfast

It was a pleasure to speak at the Barnsley Academy​ celebratory breakfast this morning.Great to hear about the pupils’ fantastic achievements and hard work over the last year.

Column: Breast Cancer Screening

The following appeared as my column in the Barnsley Chronicle on 5th July: Last week down in Westminster I asked the Government in the House of Commons to make time for a discussion on what more we can do to tackle breast cancer. And since then, I’ve applied for my own parliamentary debate on the issue. Rates are rising rapidly, and one in seven women will be diagnosed with the disease at some point in their lifetime. It’s more common in women than men, but there was around 55,000 people diagnosed in total in 2015 alone. As the most common cancer in the UK, it’s so important we do everything we can to tackle it. Part of an effective approach against breast cancer is early diagnosis. Catching the disease as early as possible gives people the best chance of cure and increases survival rates. Some breast cancers are first spotted by women, but most will be caught by screening. And a resident of Barnsley is calling for the NHS’ screening programme to be extended to allow more women to access mammograms that could be lifesaving. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at 46, 4 years below the age required to take part in the NHS Breast Screening Programme. Despite this devastating news, she has launched a petition which has over 26,000 signatures across the country – including over 1,000 from here in Barnsley. I have so much admiration for her as she bravely uses her experience to push for progress and ensure nobody else is forced to endure the same. So that’s why I took her message to Parliament, and called on the Government to hold a debate on this issue so we can properly discuss the medical evidence and decide what more can be done to increase early diagnosis. There are other issues affecting cancer rates. Around one in every four cancers is fully preventable simply by virtue of lifestyle change and being as healthy as possible, for example. But some simply aren’t, and where prevention is impossible early diagnosis is vital. A discussion on the medical evidence and what more we can do to increase instances of early diagnoses is, to put it simply, a matter of life and death for many. I hope we’ll have the opportunity for this conversation in Parliament soon.    

Meeting with South Yorkshire Police and local councillors

I had a productive meeting with Chief Superintendent Scott Green and Rockingham and Hoyland councillors.We discussed a range of issues, including the ongoing PCSO review and the need for a permanent police base in Hoyland.

Questioning the Government on breast cancer screening

We must do everything we can to detect cancer, support early diagnosis, and give people the best chance possible of cure. Following my constituent’s brave campaign after her own diagnosis, I recently asked the Government to make time for a discussion on the evidence surrounding lowering the age of involvement in the NHS Breast Cancer Screening Programme: can watch my question in Parliament here.

Armed Forces Day

Today marks Armed Forces Day, following a week of events giving our thanks to the service personnel up and down the UK and further even afield who are serving their country, alongside their families who support them in doing so. From safety and security, to peacekeeping and humanitarian aid, the British Armed Forces are the most effective in the world. Our Armed Forces are built on an unparalleled culture and ethos, one I’ve been fortunate enough to see first-hand over the last year. As a member of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme I’ve been lucky enough to meet so many of our armed forces personnel in a range of roles over the last year. From visits to training at Catterick, the infantry Battle School in Brecon, and the Army Foundation College amongst others, I’ve been fortunate to see the hard-work that goes on behind the scenes to make our Army battle-ready. And more recently, too, I’ve seen the impact of the army on our community. Two weeks ago, I attended the unveiling of a memorial bench in Cudworth. It marked the loss of those brave local men who answered the call and enthusiastically signed up to defend their country in the Great War. They joined up in droves, but alongside their friends and family the Barnsley Pals witnessed indescribable devastation as they were killed in their hundreds at The Somme. Whilst those experiences have slipped slowly out of living memory, armed forces personnel both serving and long retired came together around that bench in Cudworth to commemorate the losses of the past it resides there to remember. This week I attended the ceremonial flag raising in Barnsley town centre to mark the start of this important Armed Forces Week. In doing so, I repeated our commitment to service personnel currently operating within our forces in doing everything we can to support them as they serve. This means ensuring prompt physical and mental health support for those who need it, improving the living standards in areas like accommodation and housing that serving personnel deserve, and a greater consistency in implementation of the Armed Forces Covenant. And aside from those personnel currently serving, I was fortunate enough to visit Sandhurst last week and meet the army’s leaders of the future. Amongst them was Worsbrough’s Ryan Francis, a young man who does his community proud. He and others like him are learning about that ethos and culture now and will be its custodians for the next generation. And it is for all of these people; those who have served and made the ultimate sacrifice, those who do serve and to whom we owe so much, and those learning to serve who will maintain the high standards of the British forces for years to come, that we mark Armed Forces Day. So to them I take this opportunity to say ‘thank you’, and reiterate the promise support them in their role for which this country owes them such a substantial debt of gratitude.