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.
The distress caused by Concentrix’s mismanagement of tax credits has been met with an annoucement that HMRC are bringing the service in house. It was pressure from Labour MPs that brought this decision about, and it is unfortunate that it took a media storm and parliamentary outrage for the situation to be resolved. My office has been able to help those affected in the past, and away from the political storm I want to make sure that any constituent affected by Concentrix knows they can contact my office. If you know someone who has been affected, please ask them to contact my constituency office through the details below.
On Wednesday, if you missed PMQs you could have been forgiven for assuming the whole session was taken up by tributes to Blackadder, such was the media coverage. The recent news about Nissan has put a gloss on the plans the government have for exiting the EU. The reason we need scrutiny and detail of any potential sweetheart deal struck with Nissan is that the potential fallout from leaving could be devastating to communities. The North East economy would have been dealt a huge blow if Nissan had moved production to another site; and working people who have concerns about their own job deserve to know if there were inducements offered to the company, if they were given an idea of the overall direction the government plans to take on leaving the EU or if there was another form of deal.
Jeremy’s second question on Ireland is another thing of vital interest to people around the UK; we will have a land border with the EU between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The generation currently in their mid-20s now has known nothing but Ireland after the Good Friday. To them, hard borders in the British Isles are passages in a history book. We welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement that no one wants to return to the borders of the past.
This week has seen some truly heartbreaking scenes in Calais, and on Monday I was glad to see the Labour Party respond to a statement by the Home Secretary by calling on the government to do more to help vulnerable refugees. There are some moments in politics that transcend party divides, and the need for Britain to help some of the most vulnerable people on the planet is one that will define how future generations look back at us. My colleague Diane Abbott, the Shadow Home Secretary, put forward the point that ‘this will not be the last time that this House has to debate encampments of desperate people in appalling conditions in Calais’ unless the issues that are causing refugees to flee their homes are dealt with.
Following the opposition day debate on the ongoing conflict in Yemen, I voted with my party leadership. Ordinary citizens in Yemen have faced civil war, and the reported bombing of civilian areas is incredibly distressing. Yemen should not be a forgotten conflict, and although it does not top the news agenda day after day in the UK, humanitarian organisations have warned of an oncoming famine. I supported the motion not out of geopolitics, but out of concern for the ordinary people of Yemen for whom life has become defined by war.
On Friday afternoon, just before this was posted, the welcome news that the GMB has won their case against Uber. As more and more people are employed in this manner, it is absolutely crucial that the Trade Union movement continues to provide a voice for workers in the ‘gig economy’ and the victory for the GMB today has shown that unions continue to be part of the lifeblood of our democracy.
Are you a constituent experiencing difficulty or do you have a cause you wish to raise? You can email email@example.com, call 01670852494 or write to Ian Lavery MP, 7 Esther Court, Wansbeck Business Park, Ashington, NE63 8QZ