The following appeared as my column in the Barnsley Chronicle on 22nd June:

Today marks the start of the ‘Great Get Together’ weekend.

It’s the second year of the now-annual event, and this year takes place from 22nd to 24th June.

For those who aren’t familiar, the event is part of the ‘More in Common’ celebrations in the memory of Jo Cox, the MP who was killed on June 16th 2016.

It’s inspired by her words from her maiden speech in the House of Commons, where she stated that “we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.”

In that spirit, her family have continued to take every opportunity to put aside differences, reject divisive politics, and bring people and communities together to celebrate all that we share in common.

It’s a wonderful idea, and the events are a great opportunity to do just that.

Last year’s Great Get Together saw thousands of people from all backgrounds across the country come together and celebrate even the little things that they have in common.

But this year, I’m hoping we can do even better.

From coffee and cake mornings, to full street parties, events will be taking place in all shapes and sizes right across the country to bring people together.

And there’ll be one here in Barnsley, too.

I’m hosting a community event tonight, bringing together community groups and open for all to attend.

I hope you’ll join me there, and you can get in touch with my office for details.

I don’t think it’s an understatement to say that these days it can often feel that our society is particularly divided; something I notice in particular down in Westminster.

But that’s exactly why it’s more important than ever to take opportunities like this to put those differences aside.

So let’s all do our best this weekend to reject division, bring our community together, and remember Jo’s message: that we will always have more in common.


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