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.
It has been an incredibly busy week for Parliament and anyone who has even glanced at the news will know that events since the referendum have been absolutely seismic.
Despite the talk of leadership challenges and of a government in turmoil, I have been representing constituents as normal. No matter party affiliation, if you voted for any party or for none, I am still your representative and will continue to advocate on your behalf.
Away from the sound and the fury of press coverage, this week I received a reply from Andrew Selous, the minister responsible for prisons after asking a series of questions based on the experiences and concerns many constituents have voiced with regard to HMP Northumberland. I’ve made my position on these matters quite clear, and will continue to do so as long as constituents are in fear. The prison system in this country must support rehabilitation into society and be a safe, secure environment for staff to carry out their work. My question was as follows:
‘Q: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what reforms have been put in place in the six early adopter reform prisons to tackle (a) self-harm, (b) prisoner on prisoner violence, (c) assaults on staff and (d) use of new psychoactive substances; and if he will make a statement.
A: Reform prisons have unprecedented freedom over their regime and the rehabilitative services they provide, allowing their governors to innovate and run their prison as they see fit. We have put the tools to drive change in the hands of those at the frontline who know best what works. Governors are currently developing reform plans for their prisons. They are expected to tackle the most pressing challenges in their prisons which are likely to include many of these issues.’
The Labour Party is absolutely opposed to privatisation of prions. Although we broadly support a programme of prison reform, this does not include having prisons run in the interests of private profit. It undermines the welfare of both staff and prisoners and promotes a rollback of the state from vital sectors of public interest.
This week, the WASPI group campaigned outside Parliament. I was delighted to join with them and to support their campaign for fair treatment in regard to state pensions. I have made clear on numerous occassions my support for the campaign and am glad to be a member of the APPG on the issue. I hope to support a future coffee morning in aid of the campaign and will continue to be a voice for the WASPI women of Wansbeck.
An issue that greatly concerns many constituents is the dualling of the A1. As your representative, I met with stakeholders in the dualling process and will continue to do so to ensure the voice of my constituents is heard. It is important that the transport needs of the constituency and region are balanced with other, perfectly valid concerns.
In the chamber, I voted with the Labour Party on the Finance Bill. Among other things, the measures I supported would have introduced transparency to those large companies that use tax haven to hide profits; effectively stealing from the British taxpayer by not paying their fair share. Unfortunately, the government did not share our commitment to transparency.
I was delighted this week to welcome Collingwood School to the Commons. As always it is fantastic to show kids from around the constituency the workings of parliament; they certainly picked a dramatic week to visit!
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