This week in Parliament, Ian has been representing Wansbeck in Westminster, championing constituents inside and outside of the debate chamber. Events in Westminster have been in the headlines, and Ian and the Labour Party have been standing up for ordinary people in Wansbeck and beyond.
In Parliament this week, I have been not only representing Wansbeck but also made my despatch box debut as the Shadow Cabinet Office Minister. In a Scottish National Party debate on House of Lords reform, Labour backed the motion, which stipulated that any plans to reduce the size of the elected House of Commons should be shelved until the size of the unelected Lords is addressed. For comparison, the Lords is currently the second largest chamber in the world, behind only the People’s Congress of China.
I made the case that reform of the House of Lords must be only the first step of a wider programme of re-engagement with democracy, that power must be taken out of Westminster, Whitehall and indeed the boardroom and placed into the hands of people and communities. I’m delighted to serve as your representative in Westminster, and I strongly believe that real devolution can only benefit people in our region. Real devolution, not financial coercion as has been imposed by the government.
One of the strands running through the debate wasn’t just about the Lords but about the boundary review. By implementing it with out of date information, the Conservative party have forced the Boundary Commission into a straitjacket and knowingly warped the democratic process. It isn’t acceptable and is frankly beneath the dignity of a party in government.
The full debate can be found at: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2016-10-19/debates/CA0685E2-6A97-43EE-8524-94C27A53AB25/HouseOfLordsReformAndSizeOfTheHouseOfCommons#contribution-2BE00EE7-6508-4BA2-BE2C-EE439F197FFA
At Prime Minister’s Questions this week, Jeremy Corbyn held the Conservatives to account over the funding crisis in the NHS. In surplus as recently as 2010, it now faces a shortfall of £2.45bn. The long running pledge for parity of esteem between mental and physical health appears to be going unfulfilled. As Jeremy said ‘all this government has produced is parity of failure’. We’ll fight to protect NHS services, in Wansbeck and elsewhere.
The economic uncertainty that has been the dominant theme of the autumn and late summer is only being exacerbated by the failure of the government to speak in more than worthless platitudes about exiting the EU. The rise in inflation released this week might be a picture of what is to come if the shambolic Tory Brexit led by David Davis and Boris Johnson comes to pass. It is absolutely unacceptable that infighting in the Tory party is obstructing swift action to prevent the cost of leaving the EU being borne by working people.
One of the privileges of my position is being able to welcome school groups from Wansbeck to Parliament, to discuss politics and government with them and to ensure that they know that people from our region have a voice in the corridors of power. With that in mind it was an absolute delight to host the children from Bedlington Station Primary in the Commons on Monday this week. It’s fundamentally important that kids from every part of Wansbeck get to see Parliament and to understand the role their MP plays in providing a voice for them.
In other constituency news, I am delighted that the Prime Minister has pledged to raise the issue of the Chennai Six with Narendra Modi. The campaign for the Chennai Six has always had my support and will continue to do so, and after such a long time, it is good that the issue is being taken seriously at the highest levels of government.
Are you a constituent experiencing difficulty or do you have a cause you wish to raise? You can email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 01670852494 or write to Ian Lavery MP, 7 Esther Court, Wansbeck Business Park, Ashington, NE63 8QZ