Appearing on Newsnight

On Newsnight this week, I talked about how the Labour Party needs to rebuild the trust of voters in heartland seats and across the country.We need a leader who can win, connects and will unite our party. hat’s why I am backing Lisa Nandy for Labour Leader.You can watch part of my comments here.

Swearing in as the MP for Barnsley East

I'm proud to have been sworn in as the Member of Parliament for Barnsley East.Thank you for putting your trust in me once again.

Visiting St Helen's Catholic Primary School - Christmas card competition

It was lovely to visit St Helen's Catholic Primary School to present the winner of my Christmas Card competition with her prize!

Barnsley v QPR

It was great to be at Oakwell for Barnsley v QPR December.A brilliant result for the reds.

Mayor of Barnsley's Christmas Ball

A pleasure to be at the Mayor of Barnsley’s charity Christmas event in December.And lovely to see Dickie Bird!

Meeting BPL on the Health Referral Scheme

I met with Barnsley Premier Leisure to discuss the Health Referral Scheme, run by BPL with funding from Barnsley Council’s Public Health Department.   This programme supports people referred by their primary clinician or people who self-refer to increase awareness around diet, nutrition and exercise to address issues linked to the development of long term health conditions, including cancer.   Prevention and public health programmes such as this are so important in ensuring people live healthy lives. So it was good to meet with them to discuss the work the Referral Scheme does to increase awareness of health risk factors and promote healthy lifestyles. We touched on a number of the Scheme’s initiatives, as well as discussing ways I can support their work in future.   Find out more about the Scheme here.

Visiting Kings Oak Primary Learning Centre

I enjoyed my recent visit to Kings Oak Primary Learning Centre in Wombwell.I met with headteacher Mrs Wilks - we chatted about her time with the school, and the school's broader work with the community, including 30 hours free childcare and a range of other services on site.

Supporting IJM

I recently joined the IJM campaign to end online sexual exploitation of children.

My Column on Coalfield Communities

The following appeared as my column in the Barnsley Chronicle on 25th October: A recent report on the health of coalfield communities across the country shone an important light on the difficulties facing towns like Barnsley. The ‘State of Coalfields’ study was produced by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, an organisation I’ve been working with to help identify issues in our community and come up with ways we can address them together. Their report was crucial in exposing how Barnsley and other coalfield communities have for too long been left behind. It noted how coalfield areas continue to lag badly behind other parts of the country. In areas like education, incidence of ill health, the local economy and jobs market, and the extent of economic and social disadvantage, towns like ours fall far behind the experiences of more prosperous areas in the UK. And the evidence is damning. In London, for example, the number of jobs in the area for every 100 residents is 86. In coalfield communities, however, that figure is just 55 jobs for every 100 people. Hourly earnings are up to 10 per cent lower than the national average. More than a third of residents over the age of 16 report health problems that have lasted for longer than 12 months. Life expectancy is lower, deprivation is higher, more people are stuck in low-paid and insecure work with no prospect of progression. I could go on. But as important now is doing what we can to tackle these issues. That’s why I’m doing what I can to support the Coalfields Regeneration Trust. It’s why I’ve also campaigned for a greater share of National Lottery funding to be invested in projects in our community rather than affluent areas in the South. I’m supporting individual applications from clubs and initiatives in Barnsley to secure Sport England’s specialised coalfield funding. Alongside my colleagues in Parliament, I’m continuing my campaign to amend the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme and put more money in the pockets of retired miners and their families. And I’ll continue to challenge the Government on their cuts that have seen Barnsley local authority the worst hit in the country by Tory austerity. The findings of the report won’t come as a surprise to anyone in Barnsley, but at the least provide an opportunity to reiterate my commitment to making sure our proud former coalfield community is left behind for no longer.

Lending My Support to the Brexit Withdrawal Bill

I have consistently supported the decision to leave the European Union, but with a sensible deal rather than a disastrous no-deal exit. That is why I voted for the Government’s EU Withdrawal Bill. The Bill allows the possibility of leaving with a decent deal, but the Prime Minister’s deal as it stands falls seriously short on a number of key points. That is why I will be seeking to amend the Bill – specifically to ensure our workers, our consumers and our environment are protected. Making amendments and improvements to the Bill is the best chance of working towards an acceptable deal that sees us honour the result of the referendum with vital safeguards and protections in place, and avert the risk of a no-deal Brexit. The opportunity to make amendments is only available after the Bill’s Second Reading, so I voted for the Bill in order that the Commons has the chance to amend and improve it at the Committee Stage. This is the Government’s chance to compromise, improve their Bill, and produce a deal that works for people in Barnsley and has the support of Parliament. If they do so, I will be prepared to vote for the Bill at its later stages. If the Bill remains as it is, however, I will vote against it. I hope that both Parliament and the Government now take this opportunity.