Barnsley doesn’t have the fondest memories of the 1980s – the Miner’s Strike, a decade of Thatcherism, mass unemployment and the impact this had on our local communities. It looked as though another relic of the 1980s – Northern Rail’s pacer trains – would also be consigned to the dustbin of history to the relief of Barnsley commuters, myself included. These trains, which are essentially old-fashioned buses on rails travelling at average speeds of 35mph, should have been put in a transport museum years ago. Instead, for those of us who regularly travel by train between Barnsley, Sheffield and Leeds, they are a regular feature on our railways. The recent admission by Northern Rail that pacers would continue to be used well into 2020 is simply not good enough. Barnsley’s commuters are sick and tired of being treated like second-class citizens.Read more
I want to take the opportunity to explain to my constituents the reasoning behind my votes in the House of Commons last night on the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill.
In 2017, I was elected on a manifesto commitment to respect the outcome of the referendum, prioritise jobs and living standards, and rule out a no-deal exit.Read more
Today we remember the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Arnhem and pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of those who fought there. Arnhem would prove a bridge too far but would also come to define our Airborne Forces, forging an enduring legacy. It is a story of immeasurable bravery and unspeakable tragedy.Read more
In the two-and-a-half years since Article 50 was triggered, Parliament has been paralysed; unable to agree a deal that will take us out of the EU and yet unwilling to support leaving with No Deal.
The debates around Britain’s withdrawal from the EU have become dominated by those who shout the loudest, on both sides of the debate. There are some who would happily see the UK leave with no Withdrawal Agreement in place; and another group who want to see Brexit cancelled entirely and the 2016 referendum result ignored.
I have always maintained that we need to reach a deal that respects the result of the referendum whilst protecting jobs, living standards and our economy.Read more
Barnsley FC kicked off the new season, and their return to the Championship, with a strong 1-0 win against Fulham at Oakwell. Despite Fulham being hotly tipped to be in contention for promotion this season, the Reds were able to begin the campaign in style, setting up tomorrow’s local derby at against Sheffield Wednesday. I’m sure there will be a good following of Barnsley fans making the short trip to Hillsborough to cheer on the Reds!Read more
This week has been the first week of the summer holidays. This is a really valuable time for parents to spend quality time with their children, but also a time of juggling work and childcare, and it feels like there’s a constant need to keep the kids entertained. Fortunately, there are a whole host of events taking place across the Borough for everyone – young and old alike – to enjoy!Read more
I recently visited the Community Shop in Athersley to meet John Marren and his team. Following the success of the original Community Shop in Goldthorpe, the Athersley shop opened its doors just over two years ago and has had an incredible impact in that relatively short time.
Essentially, the aim of the initiative is to help prevent food poverty, whilst reducing food waste.Read more
Recently, I joined fellow MPs and local councillors in signing a joint letter to the Prime Minister calling for the cuts to Children’s Services to be reversed, and for our councils to receive the investment they need and deserve. As we all know, Theresa May’s time in Downing Street is coming to an end. She still has a golden opportunity to transform the lives of some of the poorest children and young people in our communities, by reversing the cuts that her government, and previous Conservative and Coalition governments, have inflicted upon areas like ours. Indeed, Barnsley has borne the brunt of almost a decade of austerity. We are the hardest hit Borough in the country, and, at the same time, we have some of the most vulnerable children to look after. Sadly, I have no confidence whatsoever that this opportunity will be taken. If we are serious about making sure that every child gets the best possible start in life, then we have got to take the necessary practical steps to make this happen.Read more
I am always shocked and saddened to read the statistics on loneliness. Given that over half of people aged over 75 live alone, and that there are an estimated 2 million older people experiencing loneliness each year, we need to be taking practical steps to ensure that no-one is left without company. That means ensuring that pensioners can access public transport through the free bus pass. And it means guaranteeing free TV licences for over-75s.Read more