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.
I was honoured this week to lead Labour’s response to Graham Allen’s motion for a Citizen’s Convention on Democracy. The idea has genuine cross party support, not least from Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party. The slow crisis of democratic participation isn’t a threat to our political establishment but to those around the country who feel government doesn’t work for them.
Since long before the Brexit vote, people have felt disenfranchised, that government doesn’t work for them or listen to them. Certainly, politicians can make all the right noises, but real change doesn’t always filter down to real life.
It’s why the government talk of a Northern Powerhouse has been so utterly ineffectual. People can see through a slick Whitehall rebranding exercise. It’s easy to draw a line from entire regions being abandoned in the 1980s to austerity deliberately targeted at areas that vote against the government to the current distrust of politicians.
At Prime Minister’s Questions this week, Jeremy Corbyn was able to hold the new Prime Minister to account. She may have spoken in the language of equality and opportunity, but the most cursory glance at her beliefs and her track record in government show that she will continue to hit working families hard, to attack the most vulnerable in our society while having no regard for the consequences of her cuts.
When Jeremy asked about the appointment of serial offender Boris Johnson to the post of Foreign Secretary, Theresa May ducked the question. She must realise that the appointment of Johnson, with his colonial era arrogance, his casual racism and his insatiable ego, is indefensible. It sends the worst possible message abroad to our friends abroad.
During the statement from Amber Rudd, the new Home Secretary, I was dismayed at the language used to describe the incident. Portraying as a ‘clash’, even now, feeds the narrative peddled by an establishment determined to paint the striking miners as villains. I’ve always maintained that there ought to be an inquiry into the entire culture of policing in the strike. The entire apparatus of the state was turned against communities. Until the establishment is forced to confront these unpalatable truths, then the full picture of the strike will never be fully understood.
On the 18th of July I received answers to three questions submitted to the Secretary of State for Defence. These questions were regarding transparency in terms of the increasing role of the private sector in Defence Business Services. Many will be concerned at the potential for private companies ‘offshoring’ work, data and processes. Mark Lancaster, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, revealed that no final decision has been made on elements to be outsourced. The government have no plans to publish a business case related to outsourcing contracts.
I am extremely glad to be hosting a coffee morning for constituents in support of the WASPI campaign on Friday 5th August from 10-11.30am at Ashington Football Club. Whether a seasoned campaigner or interested in finding out more about WASPI, all constituents are welcome.
My speech in the Westminster Hall debate is available in video format here: http://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/a81c4d17-83d0-4bf3-8809-be364491f14f?in=15:30:40&out=00:00:00
The full three written questions and the answers I received from Mark Lancaster are available at: http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-questions-answers/?page=1&max=20&questiontype=AllQuestions&house=commons%2clords&use-dates=True&answered-from=2016-07-18&answered-to=2016-07-22&member=4139
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