Wishing you all a Merry Christmas

2017 has been a challenging year. Whilst the General Election, the Brexit negotiations and terrorism have dominated many of the domestic headlines, too many of the stories that affect ordinary people have gone unheard.

Every day as the MP for Barnsley Central I see and feel the challenges my constituents are facing, and I will continue to fight in parliament to make their lives better. I also see the best of people; those who care for others and those who volunteer to improve our communities – I cannot thank them enough for the work they undertake.

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Barnsley residents vote overwhelmingly to pursue a wider Yorkshire devolution deal

People in Barnsley have voted overwhelmingly to pursue a wider Yorkshire devolution deal with 84.9% of votes cast in favour of this option.

This decisive result on a significant turnout shows how people locally have engaged with the devolution debate and decided that a more ambitious deal for the whole of Yorkshire is the best way forward for our region.

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Government takes first steps towards ‘opt-out’ organ donation system

Over six thousand people in the UK are on the organ transplant waiting list. Last year, 457 people died while on that list. That is 457 lives that I believe could have been saved if we had used an ‘opt-out’ organ donation system. This is because, under the current system, many people simply do not register as organ donors despite their willingness to donate.

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100 years on: Remembering Albert Edward Shepherd

100 years ago today, on the 10th of November 1917, The Third Battle of Ypres ended. It was a battle so terrible that it grew to symbolise the true horror of the First World War and became synonymous with the village where it ended; Passchendaele.

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Barnsley Chronicle Column: We must defend our NHS

Last week I hosted a fundraising event with Sir Gary Verity (who brought the Tour de France to Yorkshire) as the guest speaker in aid of the Barnsley Hospital’s Tiny Hearts Appeal, raising just over £6,000 towards the £1 million needed to support the hospital’s relocation and development of a brand new Neonatal unit.

It was great to have the opportunity to make a contribution to this worthy cause, aiming to improve the facilities for babies needing special care in Barnsley. Yet it was also a reminder that hospital trusts are increasingly reliant on their fundraising efforts to fill the alarming shortfall in their resources.

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Vibrant town centre scheme must not be undermined by anti-social behaviour

Barnsley town centre is a hive of activity at the moment. With the first stage of the Council’s regeneration scheme opening in Spring 2018, construction works are now progressing rapidly and there is a definite buzz as you walk through the town.

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'Work hard, aim high and you will achieve...'

I believe that education is absolutely vital in improving young people’s life chances. There should surely be consensus that everyone in the country deserves the same life chances, and that every child has a right to an excellent standard of education, whatever their circumstances, and wherever they live.

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Yorkshire united: One Yorkshire Devolution Deal

Despite the best efforts of council leaders in South Yorkshire, we now know that the Sheffield City Region deal is not going to happen. This does not mean we should give up on devolving power to our region altogether. Instead, we should seize this opportunity to be more ambitious.

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Do you know about the Barnsley Parkrun?

It’s a free-to-enter, 5 kilometre run that takes place every Saturday at 9am in Locke Park and is part of a national chain of events in parks across the country. I’ve taken part in the event a number of times and I always enjoy the great atmosphere and camaraderie of the run.

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Statement on the terrorist attack on Westminster

Over the coming hours, days and weeks much will be said about the attack that took place in Westminster yesterday. It will be analysed and explored from every angle, with every possible cause and effect considered.

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