Back British Farming Day

Today marks Back British Farming Day!It's been great to visit local farms like New Hall Farm in Ardsley since I became your MP.Let's celebrate and back our farming industry by buying produce and supporting local farms wherever we can.

Virgin Money drop-in sessions in Wombwell

When I met Virgin Money in July, they committed to hold drop-in sessions in Wombwell to support customers after the closure of the Yorkshire Bank.The sessions start tomorrow, 9th September, with others on 16th and 23rd from 10-3 at the Library - contact Virgin Money for more info.Read more here.

Speaking on the Fisheries Bill

I was pleased to speak for the Labour Party in the Fisheries Bill debate in Parliament.Today the Bill moves to its next stage, where we will continue to fight for sustainable fisheries management, that protects jobs and helps our UK fishing industry get back on its feet after COVID-19.You can watch part of my speech here.

Walkabout on Wombwell Ings

Interesting walkabout on Wombwell Ings.Good to learn more about the role of the Ings in conservation work and tackling flooding.Chatted about the importance of improving the flood defence and prevention measures in an area where the River Dove meets the Dearne.

Donating to Barnsley Foodbank

I popped in to make a donation to Barnsley Foodbank Partnership. They have seen their demand increase over the last few months - please do support them if you're able to:

Supporting easyJet workers to oppose job losses in the aviation sector

This morning I joined easyJet workers outside Parliament to oppose job losses and closure of bases at regional airports.EasyJet, BA, Ryanair and other companies in this important sector must think again and protect jobs and bases which are vital for our regional economy.

Dearne Valley speeding update

Last month, I held a virtual public meeting regarding speeding and anti-social behaviour on our roads. This is a problem which stretches from Cudworth all the way along the Dearne Valley Parkway, with the Cortonwood retail park and BP garage at Birdwell acting as particular hotspots for boy racer meet ups.It was clear from the points raised during the meeting that this problem is not only worse during the summer months, it is also worse at weekends and at night, and this has had a significant impact on the sleep, mental health and wellbeing of people in our community. There are also long standing problems with reporting incidents through 101, and this has an impact on residents’ ability to engage with the Police and update them on issues as they are happening. Following the meeting, I wrote to Barnsley Council, South Yorkshire Police and the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) to outline what was discussed at the meeting, to put forward the possible solutions, and to ask for some indication of the next steps we can take towards implementing some of these measures.Since the meeting, the following actions have been taken: South Yorkshire Police and the PCC are setting up a South Yorkshire-wide group focused solely on tackling crime and anti-social behaviour on our roads. This group will work with the local authority and will look at Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) and other measures which may be feasible as a method of tackling these problems South Yorkshire Police are attempting to contact the landowner of the site at Birdwell to try to get their support to restrict access to the site South Yorkshire Police are carrying out regular stop/checks of vehicles Savills, which manages the part of the retail park where B&Q is located, has repaired the barrier behind B&Q and has guaranteed that this will be locked at 6pm each evening Barnsley Council are working with South Yorkshire Police to share intelligence and look at opportunities to disrupt the anti-social behaviour on the bypass This includes reporting vehicle modifications to the Fraud Insurance Bureau where applicable Barnsley Council are liaising with South Yorkshire Police and other South Yorkshire local authorities to look at different legal options I will continue to push for further actions to address this issue, and I will make sure I keep residents updated on any progress. In the meantime, I would urge residents to continue to report incidents using 101, so that the Police are aware of the ongoing problems on our roads.

Walkabout with South Yorkshire Police in Cudworth

Good to join Inspector Richardson from South Yorkshire Police on a walkabout in Cudworth – we chatted about policing in a pandemic and the work neighbourhood police teams have been doing to support local residents in the last few months.

Visiting Tesco on Wombwell Lane

Popped into Tesco on Wombwell Lane to thank them for their hard work supporting residents in the last few months.Chatted to store manager Michael about the challenges they’ve faced and measures they’ve put in place to keep people safe while coping with a big increase in demand.

Column: A Level and GCSE results

The following appeared as my column in the Barnsley Chronicle on 21st August:Over the last week I’ve had many people contact me about A level results. From students and their families, the overriding feeling was one of unfairness. The last six months have been incredibly challenging for all of us but especially so for many of our young people who, when lockdown was announced, were on the verge of taking all important exams including A levels and GCSEs. When Scotland’s exam results were announced three weeks ago there was a public outcry when students were downgraded by an algorithm which punished young people in deprived areas and benefitted private schools. Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon stepped in after a week of public outcry changing the results to teacher assessed grades. The Conservatives called for the Scottish Education Secretary to resign over the chaos. At this point the government knew that they were heading into a similar crisis but they chose to do nothing. The government’s mishandling of this whole fiasco has been nothing short of disastrous. Young people have been robbed of their future simply because Boris Johnson and his Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson were too stubborn to accept that using a similar algorithm to Scotland was unfair and discriminatory. For it then to take five days to back down and make a U-turn was a dereliction of duty. Whilst some universities agreed to take teacher predicted grades, many others insisted on taking the algorithm grades which resulted in many young people losing out on university places that were rightfully theirs.Some universities then filled their remaining places through the clearing system meaning that by the time the U-turn announcement came on Monday, it was too late, their first choice of university was no longer available. Students from less affluent areas are the ones who have suffered the most throughout this. Here in Barnsley, over 60% of students from Barnsley College had their grades lowered by the algorithm compared to 40% nationally. And yet, by comparison, private schools saw their grades rise overall. The government likes to tell young people that if they work hard they’ll get on in life regardless of their background.What happened last week completely disproves that, it didn’t matter how hard these students worked, by using the algorithm the government determined their futures solely by their postcode.I’m pleased that the government saw sense to make its U-turn before the GCSE grades were announced this week, but none of this should ever have been allowed to happen. The government has let down a generation of young people at a time when they most needed their support. If anyone is still struggling to plan for their future following the government’s complete mishandling of this situation, please contact my office on 01226 743483 or by email to