I grew up in Margaret Thatcher's Britain. It was a bitterly divisive place. I saw firsthand the devastation her policies caused; it is a legacy which in many communities remains today.
I have said many times that my motivation for entering politics is, and always will be: public service. I am a public servant to my core. I passionately believe that the role of Government is to help and support people (old or young, rich or poor), to fulfil their potential. I believe Margaret Thatcher’s government failed to do this for the many, though they may have achieved it for the few. The brutal scars of her Government remain in our communities today.
After much consideration I have decided to return to Parliament today. Not to pay tribute, not to forget what was done to our town, and not to forgive. Of course you can make a case for staying away, for making your views known from the sidelines, but in the end – as Members of Parliament we're there to represent our constituents in Westminster.
I also think it’s important to acknowledge that whilst many are reflecting on political decisions that were taken 30 years ago, my constituents are, today, bearing the brunt of the policies of the current Conservative-led government. Most people in Barnsley say to me that David Cameron's policies are just as damaging as the policies of his predecessor.