Meeting on the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

It was good to meet with my constituent John to discuss the work of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.I’m proud of the work the last Labour Government did on this, from the 2007 Animal Welfare Act to banning fox hunting, and I’ll keep pushing for greater protections for our local environment and wildlife here in Barnsley.

Going on a delivery round with Royal Mail

I enjoyed chatting to our local posties at Wombwell delivery office this morning - it was great to go out on a delivery round with Darren and see the work Royal Mail puts in to delivering our post right across Barnsley.

Writing to the Chancellor on the Mineworkers' Pension Scheme

I’ve signed the below letter to the Chancellor calling for a review of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme - a fairer deal for ex-miners and their families is long overdue. This is something I’ve repeatedly called for in Parliament, including in my recent Adjournment Debate.

Writing to the Home Secretary on Julian Assange

I have signed the below letter to the Home Secretary, on Julian Assange:

Steel Pensions Mis-Selling

Last week I took part in a debate in Parliament on steel pensions, and how thousands of people including some in South Yorkshire have fallen foul of rogue pension mis-selling. Two years ago, when the British Steel pension scheme began to restructure its fund after a difficult period, members had to decide whether to stay in or transfer out of the scheme. Amidst these difficult decisions being made, unscrupulous pension advisers began offering promises of better returns, often in return for a large fee. Many of these investments turned out to be high risk, provided by dodgy advisers, and based with firms that were eventually ordered to stop advising by the Financial Conduct Authority. Many workers lost tens, even hundreds, of thousands of pounds to these schemes, along with the security of their future that they had worked hard for throughout their life.   The Financial Conduct Authority have acted and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme paid out to those who have suffered, but those who exploited hard-working people still need to face justice. And, like those former miners in Barnsley who have lost out on possible income through the Mineworkers Pension Scheme can attest, we need a Government on the side of working people. Consumer information on pensions and investments must be easier to find and understand, pension advisers better regulated, and wrongdoers brought to justice. Hard-working people in South Yorkshire and across the country who have spent their lives working for security in retirement must not be exploited by financial vultures.

Speaking against Brunei's anti-LGBT laws

It’s absolutely outrageous that Brunei has introduced laws which attack the rights of LGBT people.I expressed my outrage and solidarity with the LGBT community in the important Parliamentary debate on this subject recently.

Column: The Importance of Grassroots

The following appeared as my column in the Barnsley Chronicle on 12th April:  As we move towards the middle of April, we’re heading into one of the most exciting sporting periods of the year.The cricket season is underway, while at the end of the month thousands of people will take part in the London marathon.In a few weeks, we’ll be welcoming the Tour de Yorkshire back to our town, and I know we’re all cheering Barnsley on as the Reds fight for promotion.And as we enter this exciting period of the sporting calendar, I’ve been reflecting on the importance of grassroots sport.Grassroots sport brings our communities together right across Barnsley, and provides an important way for us to keep active while having fun.That’s why I’m so pleased to be supporting the FA’s ‘Football Footprint’ campaign, which aims to showcase investment in grassroots football, and celebrate the dedicated volunteers who keep local clubs running.Last week, I visited the Dorothy Hyman Sports Centre in Cudworth, where the FA’s near £362,000 investment in new astroturf pitches has made a real difference, and it was an honour to receive the ‘Grassroots Champion’ award during my visit.Six of England’s World Cup team were from South Yorkshire, and here in Barnsley, more people play football per head than anywhere else in the country.That’s a record we should celebrate locally, and is a testament to what can be achieved with proper investment.And I’m proud of the record of the last Labour Government in supporting grassroots sport.From 2004 to 2010, the number of children taking part in two hours of sports per week rose from 25% to 90%, an extra four million children from 2006.But sadly, the Tories have scrapped the last Labour Government’s annual sports and PE strategy, as well as cutting funding for grassroots sport, and statistics show that the number of people participating in sport is declining year after year.This is simply not good enough, and as we celebrate our sporting heroes, it’s important to remember where it all begins – at local sports grounds and playing fields right across Barnsley.Our local grassroots clubs and facilities give us the champions of the future, and it’s time for this Government to champion them.

Speaking on the maximum sentence for death by dangerous driving

Following the tragic death of Jacqueline Wileman, I’ll keep pressing the Government to change the law on deaths caused by dangerous driving.You can watch my comments in Parliament here.

Speaking on access to legal aid

Bereaved families trying to discover the truth about the death of their loved ones are left to fight for themselves by this callous Government, who are more interested in cutting costs than providing access to justice for vulnerable people.You can watch my comments in Parliament here.

World Parkinsons Day

Today marks #WorldParkinsonsDay, helping to raise awareness of a disease with which 2 new people every hour are diagnosed. Read more here.