It has been a bitter-sweet return to parliament. I am delighted to get back to work to continue to serve the people of Bedford and Kempston but I’m sad to see so many tremendous and hard-working colleagues lose their seats.
There is a strong field of candidates for the Labour Leadership, all of whom would have brought their own talents and energy to the role but for me, Keir Starmer is the outstanding candidate and is the right person to take the Labour Party into the next decade.
It is clear that Labour needs to listen to communities across the country and learn serious lessons following the General Election result. I believe Keir Starmer can bring the leadership necessary to rebuild trust and establish Labour as a united force for good so we can win the next election and deliver the credible and radical change needed to tackle the profound injustices and inequality in our economy and society.
My priorities for Bedford for the next five years will be fighting for funding for Bedford Hospital and improving health and social care provision; supporting Bedfordshire Police to make our town a safer place; and fighting to improve Bedford’s rail services.
In Parliament, I will focus on getting the best Brexit we can which protects workers’ rights, food standards, citizens’ rights and environmental protections. I will do all I can to pressurise the Government on improving and accelerating their very weak plans to tackle the global warming crisis.
I made the following representation recorded on the Hansard:
I met with Rail Minister, Chris Heaton Harris to discuss ongoing issues with Bedford rail, and a breakdown of the key discussion points at the meeting will soon be published on my website.
In the constituency:
My office staff and I have been busy picking up a number of new issues from constituents following the General Election.
I have also received a large amount of emails on a variety of policy issues and campaigns. The most common is the concern over the Government’s disgraceful decision to remove refugee family reunion protections from the EU Withdrawal Bill. I have assured those constituents that I am appalled by the Government’s decision and I will continue to fight for the rights of child refugees. The campaign to equalise payments for living and deceased victims of asbestos related illnesses also featured heavily. I do not believe it is fair for the partner of the deceased (the majority of whom are women) to receive less money at a time when they are grieving.
Several constituents wrote asking me to attend yesterday’s World Watch List Launch, where I heard speakers from the Middle East and South East Asia share first-hand experiences of religious persecution.
My office will continue to be available to any constituent that needs support and if you know of anyone that needs assistance please do ask them to get in touch.
I have recently been appointed a Board member for the Bedford Town Deal, and will attend meetings where my schedule allows this.
I am in the process of meeting with local charities and organisations who support some of the constituency’s most marginal individuals and families to ensure we continue to work together during the next parliamentary term.