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Campaign Correspondence

A number of constituents regularly contact me with correspondence generated by a wide variety of campaign organisations. As they are almost always identically worded, I will, in future, put generic responses on my website and refer those who contact me to the website.

Covid-19 and Face Coverings
28 July 2021
Please click here to view a response from Jo Churchill, Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health & Social Care, regarding government policy in relation to face coverings.

Health and Care Bill
15 July 2021
A number of constituents have contacted me concerning the Health and Care Bill.
I voted against the Bill on 14 July, however, it passed its Second Reading by 356 to 219. I also voted in favour of Labour's amendment to block the Bill. Unfortunately, the amendment was rejected 359 to 218.
You can view my voting record here and track the Bill here.

Eating Disorder Campaign
13 July 2021
I am delighted to have added my name to @HopeVirgo’s and @JohnMcDonnellMP’s letter to @SajidJavid, highlighting the state of Eating Disorder treatment across the country and asking for immediate Ministerial action, because no one should be dying of an Eating Disorder in 2021.
The letter can be viewed by clicking here.

Free Trade Negotiations and Data Protection
13 July 2021
Please click here to view a response from Greg Hands, Minister of State for Trade Policy, regarding free trade negotiations and data protection.

Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill
6 July 2021
A number of constituents have contacted me concerning the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
Labour voted against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill on 5 July, but the legislation passed its third reading by a majority of 100, with 365 MPs backing it and 265 opposing.
You can see how I voted on each of the divisions here in Hansard.

Violence and Abuse against Shop Workers
6 July 2021
Please click here to view a response from Kit Malthouse, Minister of State for Crime and Policing, regarding violence and abuse experienced by shop workers.

Israeli Settlements - Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories
6 July 2021
Please click here to view a response from James Cleverly, Minister of State for the Middle East, regarding Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Pavement Parking
29 June 2021
Please click here to view a response from the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, regarding pavement parking.

Right to Food Day - 28 June 2021
28 June 2021
Today is Right to Food Day, which is run by the charity, Fans Supporting Foodbanks.
The figures on food poverty are shocking, and the aim of Right to Food Day is to highlight this issue and campaign for the government to adopt a number of measures that will provide an achievable, tangible and legally binding route out of food poverty for millions of people in the UK. These measures include universal free school meals; community kitchens; reasonable portions in benefits and wages, and ensured food security and independent enforcement.
You can find more information by clicking here, and you can tweet your support using the hashtag #RightToFood.

Pensioner Poverty
28 June 2021
I am supporting Independent Age's campaign to combat pensioner poverty.
Data, analysed by Independent Age, found that while poverty in the overall population has remained relatively stable since 2012, pensioner poverty has increased by 5% across the UK, with now almost a fifth of pensioners (18%) living in poverty after paying their housing costs.
Independent Age says these rising figures could be drastically reduced if people receive the financial support they are entitled to via Pension Credit, however, it has the worst uptake of all income-related benefits.
In support, I have signed a cross-party letter to the Pensions Minister calling on the Government to produce an action plan to increase Pension Credit uptake.
For more information, please click here.

Safer Streets Consultation
28 June 2021
The Police and Crime Commissioner has launched a survey to better understand how the streets of Merseyside can be made safer for women and girls.
The consultation asks women about their experiences of harassment and abuse, what makes them feel unsafe, and what can be done to improve their feelings of safety. The findings will be used to inform bids that the Commissioner will submit to a number of Government pots of funding, specifically focused on improving women’s safety. The findings will also be shared with community safety partners to inform any future campaigns and activities.
The survey can be found by clicking here.

Police and Crime Plan Consultation
28 June 2021
The Police and Crime Commissioner has launched a consultation which will inform the creation of her Police and Crime Plan, which will set out the policing and community safety priorities for the Merseyside region for the next four years.
The Plan will detail how the Commissioner will work with Merseyside Police, criminal justice partners, the charitable and voluntary sector, and all of Merseyside’s diverse communities, to focus resources on the issues that matter most to local people. The Commissioner will also use the Plan to monitor the performance of Merseyside Police and hold the Chief Constable to account on how the Force is delivering against those priorities.
For more information please click here.

UNISON's 'No Return to Normal' Campaign
22 June 2021
Please click here to view a response from Helen Whately, Minister of State for Care, regarding UNISON's 'No Return to Normal' campaign.

Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories
22 June 2021
Please click here to view a response from James Cleverly, Minister of State for the Middle East, regarding alleged human rights violations against Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and beyond.

#FundTheHubs
16 June 2021
I have been contacted by a number of constituents in relation to the joint #FundTheHubs campaign by Young Minds, The Children and Young People's Mental Health Coalition, Centre for Mental Health, The Children's Society, Youth Access and Mind. I have written to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson to ask that he listen to the asks of the campaign to prioritise young people's mental health and ensure proper funding for youth services. Any response I receive will be published here.

EU Settlement Scheme
16 June 2021
Please click here to view a response from the Home Office in relation to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).

UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement
16 June 2021
Please click here to view a response from Greg Hands MP, Minister of State for Trade Policy in regards to the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

New Plan for Immigration
16 June 2021
Please click here to view a response by Chris Philp MP, Minister for Immigration Compliance and Justice in relation to the New Plan for immigration.

Disabled Children's Partnership
16 June 2021
Please click here to view a response from Gavin Williamson MP, Secretary of State for Education, in regards to a number of reports produced by the Disabled Children's Partnership.

Child Refugees
16 June 2021
Please click here to view a response from Chis Philp MP, Minister for Immigration Compliance and Justice, in regard to child refugees.

#CrimeNotCompliment
16 June 2021
I have been contacted by a number of constituents regarding the #CrimeNotCompliment campaign led by Plan International UK and Our Streets Now. Please click here to review a response from Victoria Atkins MP, Minister for Safeguarding.

UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement & Investor State Dispute Settlement
16 June 2021
Please click here to view a response from Greg Hands MP, Minister of State for Trade Policy, in relation to the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) & Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS).

Knowsley Foundation Covid-19 Support Fund
7 June 2021
The Knowsley Foundation Covid-19 Support Fund has now gone live, and applications will close at 5pm on 2 July 2021.
The purpose of the fund is to enhance and instigate activities to enable living with COVID-19 as part of a pandemic recovery and resilience strategy. The Fund will enable greater community resilience that will prevent and control outbreaks of COVID-19 through new collaborations, intelligence, and community empowerment and capacity building.
For more information please click here and here.

The Health and Care Bill
7 June 2021
Please click here to view a response from the Minister of State for Care, Helen Whately, regarding the Health and Care Bill.

Mandatory Calorie Labelling
7 June 2021
Please click here to see a response from Nadine Dorries, Minister of State for Patient Safety, Suicide Prevention and Mental Health, concerning the introduction of mandatory calorie labelling on menus.

Covid-19 Testing Contracts
7 June 2021
Please click here to view a response from Lord Bethell, regarding Covid-19 Testing Contracts.

Social Care Reform
7 June 2021
Please click here to view a response from the Minister of State for Care, Helen Whately, regarding social care reform.

Arms Exports to Israel
28 May 2021
Please click here to view a response from Ranil Jayawardena, Minister for International Trade, regarding arms exports to Israel.

Carers Week: 7-13 June 2021
26 May 2021
I have pledged my support for Carers Week 2021, which is an annual campaign raising awareness of caring, highlighting the challenges unpaid carers face, and recognising the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK.
Carers, both paid and unpaid, should be treated fairly and given the support they need for the invalubale work they do.
For more information, please click here.

Music for Dementia
26 May 2021
I am supporting the Music for Dementia campaign, which calls for everyone living with dementia to have access to music as part of their care from diagnosis to end of life, regardless of their age, social or economic status.
For more information, please click here.

Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories
26 May 2021
Please click here to view a response from James Cleverly, Minister of State for the Middle East, regarding Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Abortion
20 May 2021
Please click here to view a response from Helen Whately MP, Minister of State for Care regarding abortion.

PPE
20 May 2021
Please click here to view a response from Jo Churchill MP, Parliamentary Secretary of State for Primary Care, in regard to PPE.

NHS Pay
20 May 2021
Please click here to view a response from Helen Whately, Minister of State for Care, on the issue of NHS Pay.

Co-Op Campaign on Retail Crime
20 May 2021
Please click here to view a response from the Minister of State for Crime and Policing, Kit Malthouse MP in relation to the Co-Op campaign on retail crime.

UK-EU Trade
20 May 2021
Please click here to view a response from Lord Frost, Minister of State at the Cabinet Office, in relation to UK-EU trade.

Dementia Action Week: 17-19 May 2021
11 May 2021
The Alzheimer Society's annual Dementia Action Week will run from 17-21 May 2021.
Dementia has accounted for over a quarter of all deaths during the Covid-19 pandemic, and many more people are deteriorating rapidly due to the knock-on effects of lockdown. In Knowsley, there are an estimated 2052 people living with dementia, of whom 1262 have severe dementia. By 2030, this number is set to rise to 2614 people living with dementia.
The Alzheimer’s Society is calling on the Government to publish a clear, budgeted plan for social care reform, complete with a long-term plan for social care and a workforce plan. This reform should be attentive, not just to funding, but to improving the quality of care that people receive.
For more information about Dementia Action Week, please click here.

Support for Students - Covid-19
11 May 2021
Please click here to view a response from the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, regarding support for students during the Covid-19 pandemic.

EU Trade - Fishing
9 May 2021
Please click here to view a response from the Environment Secretary, George Eustice, regarding EU trade as is relates to fishing.

Health and Wellbeing of Children
9 May 2021
Please click here to view a response from the Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families, Vicky Ford, regarding the health and wellbeing of children.

Covid-19 Vaccination Sites
9 May 2021
Please click here to view a response from the Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment, Nadhim Zahawi, regarding access to Covid-19 vaccination sites.

Reopening of Golf Courses
9 May 2021
Please click here to view a response from the Secretary of State for Digital Culture, Media and Sport, The Rt Hon Oliver Dowden,regarding the reopening of golf courses.

Fire Safety Bill
30 April 2021
As Co Vice Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Fire and Rescue, I have seen the devastating effects of the cladding and building safety scandal.
On 27 and 28 April, Lords amendments were put to the House of Commons respectively. These amendments stated that the owner of a building may not pass on the costs of any remedial work to leaseholders and tenants. Whilst I voted in favour of both amendments, they were again voted down by the Government. Please click here to view my voting record.

Financial Services Bill
30 April 2021
As a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Mortgage Prisoners, I have long been raising this issue in Parliament.
On 26 April I voted in favour of Amendment 8 which would provide immediate relief for up to 250,00 mortgage prisoners in the UK. Disappointingly the Government took the decision to vote down this amendment, you can view the breakdown of votes here.

Assura Community Fund
30 April 2021
The Assura Community Fund is now open to applications from health-improving local projects. These projects can benefit from a grant of up to £5,000. To apply please click here.

UNISON North West Smear on Demand Campaign
30 April 2021
A number of constituents have contacted by in regard to UNISON North West's Smear on Demand campaign. This potentially life-saving campaign is calling to stop discrimination against women under existing guidelines, where those under the age of 25 cannot access a smear test. Young women should not be denied this life-saving test, and I fully support this campaign. To find out more please click here.
I have raised this campaign with the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock MP and I will publish any response I receive.

End Serco Contact Trace Contract
30 April 2021
I have been contacted by a number of constituents in regards to ending the contact trace contracts with Serco in favour of a more localised approach. I have raised my concerns with the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock MP and I will publish any response I receive.

NHS Pay
30 April 2021
Please click here to view a response from HM Treasury regarding NHS Pay.

NHS Funding
30 April 2021
Please click here to view a response from Edward Argar MP, Minister of State for Health, regarding NHS funding.

Palestinian Child Prisoners
30 April 2021
Please click here to view a response from James Cleverly MP, Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa, in regards to Palestinian child prisoners.

Postal Votes
26 April 2021
Electors across Knowsley are currently receiving their postal votes for the elections on Thursday 6 May.
Royal Mail recommend returning postal votes by Tuesday 4 May to ensure they can be counted. Ballot papers can also be handed into polling stations and local authorities on Thursday 6 May before 10pm.
Postal voters can return their votes using any Royal Mail postbox, including one of the 35,000 Priority postboxes around the country. Priority postboxes are emptied later in the day, and 15,000 are emptied on a Saturday and Sunday.To find your nearest postbox, please click here.
For more information about postal votes, please click here.

NHS Pay
26 April 2021
A number of constituents have contacted me about NHS pay.
NHS staff, including nurses, who have worked so hard to protect and save lives during the pandemic should be given a fair pay rise. At the very least, the government should adhere to their promise to increase NHS pay by 2.1%, as set out in the NHS Long-Term Spending Plan, which they budgeted and legislated for.
I have added my signature to EDM 742 on NHS Pay and EDM 614 on public sector workers’ pay. I have previously raised the issue of NHS pay with both the Prime Minister and the Chancellor and you can see copies of the responses here and here. In addition, I have added my name in support of the Royal College of Nursing’s Fairy Pay for Nursing petition.
I have written again to both the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and the Chancellor and will post copies of any responses that I receive on my website.

Unionlearn
26 April 2021
Please click here to view a response from Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education, regarding the withdrawal of funding for Unionlearn.

Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories
26 April 2021
Please click here to view a response from James Cleverly, Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa, regarding Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Disabled Veterans’ Scholarship Fund
21 April 2021
Applications have just opened for the 2021 Open University (OU) Disabled Veterans’ Scholarship Fund.
The fund provides scholarships for up to 50 disabled veterans to build on their unique military skills and experiences by studying at undergraduate or postgraduate level for free.
The OU has awarded 160 such scholarships so far, helping individuals from a variety of service backgrounds and diagnosed with a range of physical disabilities and complex mental health conditions.
Each scholarship is tailored to fully support all disabled veterans, injured during or due to their service, as they transition to civilian life, providing a free OU education and wraparound disability and careers service support.
For more information please click here.

Pig Welfare
21 April 2021
Please click here to view a response from the Environment Secretary, George Eustice, regarding pig welfare.

Lunch Parcels for Children
21 April 2021
Please click here to view a response from the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, regarding lunch parcels during the national lockdown for children who are eligible for free school meals.

European Super League
20 April 2021
Along with millions of football fans, many players and managers, I wholeheartedly oppose the proposal for a European Super League.
It would run against all of the traditional values associated with football: the sense of fair play, the ability of clubs to compete and rise up through the divisions to the summit of the sport, and the opportunity for talented young sportsmen and women to make a professional career out of it, regardless of their personal backgrounds, as Marcus Rashford's career vividly illustrates.
If I get the opportunity to vote to ban clubs in England from taking part in the ESL, I will do so enthusiastically. My fear is, however, that such a move would inevitably attract a legal challenge. This would mean that the issue would drag on and there would be no certainty as to how the courts eventually ruled.
I have proposed, as a back-up approach, introducing a Super League Levy, which would tax any income clubs gain from being in the Super League by 100%. Such a tax would be ring-fenced and distributed to grass roots sports.
As a Home Office Minister in the last Labour government, I was responsible for administering the Betting Levy Scheme and it was successful in getting bookmakers to fund racing. In fact, although I had the power to set the levy, I never had to use it as the bookmakers voluntarily came up with their own proposals about the level of funding, which was at that time acceptable to all concerned.
My belief is that a Super League Levy, if an outright ban is not possible, would deter English clubs from joining the ESL, as there would be no financial incentive to do so. If they did, however, succeed with a legal challenge, at least grass roots sport would benefit from it.
I am hopeful that the Labour Party will support me in this policy and that we can get legislation to bring it into effect as soon as possible.
If we are to win this battle for the soul of the sport we all love, time is of the essence. I, therefore, urge fans to use every means at their disposal to show their support for a ban of the ESL and, as a back-up, a Super League Levy.
This is a battle we can win if we unite to stop it.

Modern Slavery Helpline
14 April 2021
The Modern Slavery Helpline provides victims, the public, statutory agencies and businesses access to information and support on a 24/7 basis.
Potential victims are able to speak to fully-trained Helpline Advisors who can help them access relevant services, including Government-funded support through the National Referral Mechanism. Statutory agencies can call to gain support in dealing with potential victims, and to receive guidance in accessing all the information and tools available through the associated Resource Centre. Businesses can call for information, advice and also to report any concerns they have about potential instances of modern slavery in their operations. Members of the public and those delivering services on the front-line can also report any modern slavery suspicions or concerns about individuals, premises or locations.
The helpline number is 08000 121 700, and you can find more information by visiting https://www.modernslaveryhelpline.org.

COVID-19 Vaccine Prioritisation
14 April 2021
Please click here to view a response from Nadhim Zahawi, Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment, regarding vaccine prioritisation.

Additional Restrictions Grant
14 April 2021
Please click here to view a response from Paul Scully, Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Business, regarding the Additional Restrictions Grant.

Press Regulation
7 April 2021
Please click here to view a response from John Whittingdale, Minister of State for Media and Data, regarding press regulation.

Building Safety and Leaseholders
31 March 2021
Please click here to view a response from Lord Greenhalgh, Minister of State for Building Safety, Fire and Communities, regarding leaseholders affected by building safety issues.

Bereavement Leave
31 March 2021
Please click here to view a letter from Paul Scully, Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Business, regarding bereavement leave.

Animal Tests for Chemicals
31 March 2021
Please click here to view a response from George Eustice, Secretary of State for the Environment, concerning repeat animal tests for chemicals.

Covid-19 Second Wave
31 March 2021
Please click here to view a response from Lord Bethell regarding preparedness for the second wave of COVID-19.

Covid-Status Certification
31 March 2021
Please click here to view a response from Lord Bethell regaring Covid-Status Certification.

NHS Pay
31 March 2021
Please click here to view a response from HM Treasury regarding NHS pay.

Rail to Refuge
24 March 2021
Rail to Refuge is a joint initiative between rail companies and the Women’s Aid Federation of England, in which train operators cover the cost of train tickets for adults and children escaping domestic abuse and travelling to refuge accommodation.
It has been announced that train companies will continue to provide free train travel for those needing to flee domestic abuse, as the number of people who have used the scheme reaches over a thousand people.
For more information please click here.

Human Rights Defenders
24 March 2021
Please click here to view a response from Lord Ahmad regarding the government's support for Human Rights Defenders around the world.

Safari Parks
24 March 2021
Please click here to view a response from Lord Goldsmith, Minister of State at DEFRA, regarding the closure of safari parks during the pandemic.

Use of Animals for Research
24 March 2021
Please click here to view a response from Baroness Williams regarding the use of animals in research.

PPE Equipment
24 March 2021
Please click here to view a response from Jo Churchill, Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Care, regarding the procurement of personal protective equipment.

Support for Pubs, Clubs, Brewers & Cider Makers
17 March 2021
Please click here to view a response from HM Treasury, regarding support for pubs, clubs, brewers and cider makers follwing the Budget on 3 March 2021.

Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts Bill
17 March 2021
On the 15 and 16 March, the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill was debated in the House of Commons. The transcripts of the debates can be viewed here and here.
The Labour Party voted against this Bill as it rushed through poorly thought-out changes to protest law which would have disproportionate controls on the right to protest and freedom of expression. Furthermore, the tragic murder of Sarah Everard and the events which followed, exposed the Bill's failure to introduce a single new measure specifically designed to tackle violence against women. For these reasons, Labour tabled an amendment to decline the Bill a second reading. Unfortunately, this amendment was defeated 225 to 359 with the Conservatives choosing to vote down this amendment. You can view the amendment votes here.
This meant that the Bill went ahead for a second reading and was put to the House on 16 March. Despite the many and valid concerns that were raised during the debates, the Conservatives voted in favour of the Bill and it was passed 359 to 263, which you can view here. The Bill will now enter the Committee Stage before returning to the House of Commons for further debate.

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
17 March 2021
I am supporting Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month to ensure every woman knows the symptoms of ovarian cancer so they can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible.
If diagnosed at the earliest stage, 9 in 10 women survive ovarian cancer. Unfortunately, two thirds are diagnosed late. In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a drastic impact on urgent referrals for suspected cancer, with fewer people contacting their GP.
For more information about Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, please click here.

Covid-19 and Safari Parks
17 March 2021
Please click here to view a response from Lord Goldsmith, Minister of State at DEFRA, regarding the closure of safari parks during the pandemic.

Covid-19 and the Creative Professionals Sector
17 March 2021
Please click here to view a response from Paul Scully, Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office, regarding support for the creative professionals sector during the pandemic.

Fox and Trail Hunting
17 March 2021
Please click here to view a response from George Eustice, Secretary of State for the Environment, concerning fox and trail hunting on government land.

NHS Pay
9 March 2021
A number of constituents have contacted me to raise concerns about the government’s proposal to increase most NHS staff salaries by just 1%.
I believe this proposal is an insult to our dedicated NHS staff, including nurses, who have worked so hard to protect and save lives during the pandemic. At the very least, the government should adhere to their promise to increase NHS pay by 2.1%, as set out in the NHS Long-Term Spending Plan, which they budgeted and legislated for. 
I have previously raised the issue of NHS pay with the Prime Minister, and you can see a copy of the response received here. I have also raised this matter with Chancellor and will put a copy of any response received on my website.
In addition, I have added my name in support of the Royal College of Nursing’s Fairy Pay for Nursing petition.
Please be assured that, together with my Labour colleagues, I will continue to demand that the government abandon their plans to implement, what is effectively, a pay cut for NHS nurses.

NHS Test and Trace Service
8 March 2021
Please click here to view a response from Lord Bethell, Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Care, regarding the NHS Test and Trace Service.

Arms Exports to Israel
8 March 2021
Please click here to view a response from Ranil Jayawardena, Minister for International Trade, regarding arms exports to Israel.

Face Coverings
8 March 2021
Please click here to view a response from Jo Churchill, Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Care, regarding the appropriateness of various masks for different users and settings.

Alcohol Misuse
8 March 2021
Please click here to view a response from Jo Churchill, Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Care, regarding support to tackle alcohol misuse.

Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories
3 March 2021
Please click here to view a response from James Cleverly, Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa, regarding Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

'Cheque for Tech' Campaign
3 March 2021
Please click here to view a response from Jo Churchill, Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health & Social Care, regarding Diabetes UK 'Cheque for Tech' campaign.

Benefit System for the Terminally Ill
3 March 2021
Please click here to view a response from Justin Tomlinson, Minister for Disabled People, concerning the DWP's evaluation into how the benefit system supports those nearing the end of their lives.

Dementia and Coronavirus
26 February 2021
People living with dementia, their loved ones and carers, have been deeply affected by the Covid-19 virus and the effects of the pandemic, which is why I am supporting the Alzheimer Society's campaign for a universal social care system, free at the point of use, that provides quality care for every person with dementia who needs it.
There are an estimated 2050 people with dementia aged over 65 living in Knowsley, and people with dementia are estimated to make up at least 70% of care home residents and over 60% of homecare recipients.
You can find more information about by visiting https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/coronavirus.

NCS Connect
26 February 2021
Teenagers across the country have struggled during the third national lockdown, whether it is from uncertainty about their education, or simply missing their friends.
NCS are offering a bitesize version of their programme, NCS Connect, which supports young people and keeps them informed, educated, entertained and engaged during lockdown. It is free and content includes debates, quizzes, life tips and advice from the comfort of your own device.
More information can be found by visiting www.wearencs.com/connect.

Support for Pubs and Brewers
17 February 2021
A number of constituents have contacted me calling on the government to to reduce the rate of beer duty; extend the VAT cut for the sale of alcohol; cancel business rates for another year; and extend furlough for every pub until they are able to re-open.
I have raised this matter with the Chancellor and will put a copy of any response received on my website.

Local Government Finance
14 February 2021
Please click here to view a response from the Chief Secretary to the Treasury regarding local government finance and the 2020 Spending Review.

Gender Identity Services
14 February 2021
Please click here to view a response from Jo Churchill, Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Health & Social Care, regarding gender identity services.

Safety, Funding and Charging in Early Years Settings
14 February 2021
Please click here and here to view responses from Vicky Ford, Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Education, regarding safety in early years settings, and funding and charging for early years providers respectively.

Visa-Free Touring for Artists and Musicians
14 February 2021
Please click here to view a response from John Whittingdale, Minister of State for Media and Data, regarding Visa-Free Touring for Artists and Musicians

Use of Barracks to Accommodate Asylum Seekers
14 February 2021
Please click here to view a response from Chris Philp, Minister for Immigration, regarding the use of former military barracks to accommodate asylum seekers.

NHS Staff Pay Increase
14 February 2021
Please click here to view a response from the Minister of State for Care, Helen Whately, regarding UNISON’s campaign for an NHS pay increase.

Mental Health Support for Children and Young People
8 February 2021
The NHS have provided advice for children and young people who may be feeling overwhelmed after a year of the Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions. You can view the advice here, and advice for parents here.

Neonicotinoid Seed Treatment
8 February 2021
Please click here to view a response from George Eustice, Secretary of State for the Environment, regarding the use of neonicotinoid seed treatment on the 2021 sugar beet crop.

Unsafe Cladding
3 February 2021
On Monday 1 February, the Labour Party called for a debate in the House of Commons to discuss the ongoing cladding crisis, led by Shadow Housing Secretary, Thangam Debbonaire MP. She called on the Government to urgently provide upfront funding to ensure cladding remediation can start immediately, to help those trapped in unsafe buildings.
I voted with my party on this motion, however, disappointingly the Conservative Party chose to abstain on this important issue. You can view the debate here.

Alzhiemer's Research UK
3 February 2021
I'm supporting @AlzResearchUK’s #ThinkBrainHealth campaign to help reduce my risk of dementia. Learn what you can to do keep your brain healthy at the campaign hub, here.

Government Funding for Local Authorities
3 February 2021
Please click here to view a response from Luke Hall MP, Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, regarding government funding for local authorities.

Support for the Hospitality Sector
3 February 2021
Please click here to view a response from Paul Scully MP, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets regarding government support for the hospitality sector.

Fire and Rehire Tactics
3 February 2021
Please click here to view a response from Paul Scully MP, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets regarding the fire and rehire tactics used by Centrica and British Airways.

Primary School Tests
3 February 2021
Please click here to view a response from Nick Gibb MP, Minister of State for School Standards regarding the cancelation of primary school tests.

Domestic Residential Educational Visits
3 February 2021
Please click here to view a response from the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson MP regarding domestic residential educational visits.

Visits to Care Homes
3 February 2021
Please click here to view a response from Minister of State for Care, Helen Whately MP regarding care home visits.

Opposition Day
27 January 2021
On Monday 25 January, Labour had another opportunity to hold an opposition day in the House of Commons. During this day we raised the issue of the Government’s proposed council tax increases and employment rights.
On the former we asked that the Government drop plans to force local councils to increase council tax in the middle of a pandemic, and instead asked that they provide councils with the proper funding they need to tackle Covid-19. Whilst I voted with my party on this issue, the Conservative MPs chose to abstain. You can view the debate here.
We also asked that the Government ensure that existing employment rights and protections are maintained, and that by the end of January 2021 they set out a timetable to introduce legislation to end fire and rehire tactics. I also voted in favour of this, however, yet again Conservative MPs chose to abstain. You can view the debate here.

Pet Travel
27 January 2021
Please click here to view a response from George Eustice MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on EU pet travel regulations.

Food Standards
27 January 2021
Please click here to view a response from Greg Hands MP, Minister of State for Trade Policy, regarding amendments passed to the Trade Bill.

Naznain Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori
27 January 2021
Please click here to view a response from James Cleverly MP, Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa, regarding the cases of Naznain Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori.

Environment Bill
20 January 2021
A number of constituents have contacted me concerning the Environment Bill, which has reached the Report Stage in the House of Commons. As I chaired the Committee Stage of the Bill, I am unable to comment or vote on the Bill at Report Stage.

Trade Bill
20 January 2021
Yesterday, alongside my Labour colleagues, I voted in favour of Lords amendments 1-8 that were put before the House of Commons. Included in this was Amendment 1, which would have allowed Parliamentary approval of trade agreements; Amendment 3 which would have revoked trade with states accused of genocide; and Amendment 4 in relation to protecting the NHS during international trade agreements. Unfortunately, all these amendments were voted down by the government. You can view my full voting record here.

Opposition Day Votes
20 January 2021
On Monday 18 January, the Labour Party held an opposition day in the House of Commons. This allowed us to raise particular issues we felt were being ignored by the government. The first vote, in relation to ‘Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit’, asked that the government vote with the Labour Party in order to stop the planned cuts to these benefits by April 2021, to help protect the six million families to whom it is worth £1,000 a year. Unfortunately, only six Conservative MPs voted to protect these families, whilst the vast majority decided to abstain. You can see the full debate here.
The second vote held was on the issue of ‘Remote Education and Free School Meals’. We asked the government to guarantee that families receive the full value of free school meals for the duration of the school year, including school holidays. Unfortunately, only one Conservative MP voted with Labour on this issue, with the rest choosing to again abstain. You can view the full debate here.

Media Regulation
20 January 2020
Please click here to view a response from John Whittingdale, Minister of State for Media and Data, regarding media regulation.

Homelessness and the Spending Review 2020
20 January 2020
Please click here to view a response from Steve Barclay, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, regarding support for the homeless in the 2020 Spending Review.

Up-Rating of State Pension
20 January 2020
Please click here to view a response from Guy Opperman, Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion, regarding the up-rating of State Pension paid to those living outside the UK.

Fire and Re-hire
18 January 2021
I have been contacted by a number of constituents in relation to the 'fire and re-hire' tactics used by Centrica, the parent company of British Gas. Throughout the pandemic I have been engaging with GMB and have attended a virtual GMB briefing on this dispute, following which I added my signature to a joint MP letter by GMB to CEO of Centrica Chris O'Shea.
I have raised my concerns with the Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, and I will publish any response I receive.

Arm Exports
18 January 2021
Please click here to view a response from Ranil Jayawardena MP, Minister for International Trade in regards to arm exports.

Woodland Trust
18 January 2021
Please click here to view a response from Christopher Pincher MP, Minister of State for Housing in regards to the Woodland Trust's concerns about changes to the planning system.

Stopping Sea Blasts
18 January 2021
Please click here to view a response from the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, George Eustice MP on the issue of sea blasts.

Kinship Care Survey
18 January 2021
The cross-party Parliamentary Taskforce on Kinship Care, with the support of the Family Rights Group, is running a survey to hear from kinship carers about their experience during the latest lockdown.
If you are a kinship carer in Knowsley, please click here to complete the survey.

Vaccination Programme
7 January 2021
I have been contacted by a number of constituents eager to learn when they will receive the Covid-19 vaccination, in the first instance I would encourage all constituents to visit www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine for the latest information.

Please find below a statement by the Chief Executive of Knowsley Clinical Commissioning Group, Dianne Johnson, on this issue.
“Whilst we understand people will be keen to know when they are likely to have their COVID19 vaccination, there is no need for patients to contact their GP practice, or any other NHS organisation, to ask for their vaccination – or to request one for a member of their family – they will be invited when it is time for them to be vaccinated, either by a letter or a phone call.

The borough’s GP practices are working together to vaccinate patients, so patients might not be contacted by their usual practice, and patients will attend one of the vaccination hubs rather than their practice, they will be told where to attend when they are invited in. When they have had their first vaccination patients will be given an appointment for their second dose.

Not all areas of the borough have started vaccinating yet, so patients should not be worried if they or a family member is over 80 but hasn’t heard anything so far. Patients might know others over 80 who have been invited for their vaccination already, but that doesn’t mean that they are a lower priority. GPs and other practice staff are working hard to vaccinate people in this priority group as quickly as possible, and during January many more people will be invited in. Patience is requested please as we are only at the start of the vaccination programme and it will take some time to get everyone vaccinated. General information about the Covid-19 vaccine and priority groups here: www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine.”

If you have received an invitation to receive a vaccination, and are struggling to arrange transport, I would encourage that you contact Healthwatch Knowsley on 0151 449 3954.

Brexit and Deal or No Deal
7 January 2021
Parliament has now voted on the Government’s deal with the EU.
Even though there are elements of the deal that I am unhappy about, I voted for the deal. In the referendum in 2016, I campaigned to remain in the EU. In Knowsley and overall in the rest of the UK, however, the result was in favour of leaving, albeit by a relatively narrow majority.

Up until the general election in December 2019, I had supported the idea of a second confirmatory referendum so that, once a deal was reached, there would be a specific prospectus for Brexit on which the people could make an informed decision. Unfortunately, however, the Tories won that election on the proposition that they would “get Brexit done”. That result effectively killed off any prospect of a further referendum.

Last week’s vote in Parliament was, therefore, a binary choice: the deal on offer or no-deal. My view is that the consequences of no-deal would have been disastrous for Knowsley and the rest of the UK as it would have left us wholly at the mercy of World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules. The EU is the top export destination for UK cars with 54.8% of the market share. If the UK was unable to get a deal, under so-called World Trade Organisation non-preferential rules, UK automotive exports would be liable for a 10% tariff on cars and up to 22% on vans and trucks. In the agricultural sector, EU agricultural markets remain protected by relatively high tariffs. For example, the EU average Most Favoured Nation (MFN) tariffs on dairy products are 54%, on sugar 31% and on cereals 22%. The impact WTO rules would have on jobs and food security and prices would, frankly, have been wholly unacceptable for Knowsley and the rest of the country.

To have voted against the deal or abstained would implicitly have been to endorse no-deal. So, despite my reservations, I did not think it would have been right to vote for or duck the implications of a no-deal vote.

One final point worth making is that we now have a major challenge ahead of us in terms of our own future relationship with the EU and the wider world. As an internationalist, I hope we can build a constructive post-Brexit relationship with the twenty-seven EU countries and good bilateral alliances with many other countries. That must now be our focus as we move ahead as a country.

NHS Pay
7 January 2021
Please click here to view a response from Steve Barclay MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury on the issue of NHS pay.

University Students
7 January 2021
I have been contacted by a number of constituents who are currently studying at university. Students are in an unenviable position and many have concerns over the possibility of incurring significant amounts of student debt, whilst not obtaining the expected university experience.
For my own part, I would support a reduction of fees to reflect the reduced face-to-face contact through lectures, tutorials, seminars, and other facilities that can be safely delivered as a result of the restrictions necessitated by Covid-19. I have raised my concerns with the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson MP, and will publish any response I receive.

Animal Sentience
7 January 2021
Please click here to view the response from George Eustice MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the issue of animal sentience.

Christmas Statement
December 2020
The last year has been enormously challenging with the COVID-19 pandemic and the way it has affected all of our lives. Across the UK, tens of thousands of people are testing positive and hundreds are dying daily. For these reasons, it is important to follow all the guidance.
I know that there are many misleading conspiracy theories circulating about COVID-19 and vaccines - please do not be misled by them. Hopefully, in 2021, with the increasing availability of vaccines, we will be able to return to something resembling normal life.
Although all of our celebrations may be more restricted than we would like, I would like to take this opportunity to send everybody best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.
My office will be closed over the Christmas period. If any constituent has a problem, below are some useful contacts in an emergency:

- For a range of information on COVID-19 support, SMART Testing, financial support and Council Services, visit Knowsley News.
- For issues relating to homelessness contact Knowsley Housing Options Service.
- For help from the Samaritan's, you can call them on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org.
- For those experiencing a food crisis, contact Knowsley Foodbank.
- For information about Covid-19 testing, please click here.
- Residents worried about paying their energy bills should contact their supplier - British Gas; EDF; E.on; N.Power; Scottish Power; SSE Credit; Ovo Credit; Shell; Utility Warehouse

Local Government Funding
21 December 2020
A number of constituents have contacted me to raise concerns about an increasing shortfall in local government funding.
First, I believe Knowsley Council have done an excellent job throughout the pandemic with the limited funding they have.
I have raised my concerns in relation to local government funding on a number of occasions. Prior to the pandemic, Knowsley Council had already seen a £100m cut in government funding, drastically stretching their ability to provide essential services. The Covid-19 pandemic has only served to stretch these resources even further, putting a greater strain on Knowsley Council's finances. To ignore these demands would be very irresponsible of the government.
I have voiced my concerns in the House of Commons throughout the pandemic, transcripts of which you can see here and more recently here. In addition, I have written to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick MP, on this issue and will publish any response I receive on my website.

Cannabis for the Treatment of Epilepsy
21 December 2020
Please click here to view a response from Jo Churchill MP, Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health, regarding the use of cannabis-based products for the treatment of epilepsy.

St Helens and Knowsley NHS Trust Vaccination Plans
20 December 2020
Please click here to view correspondence from Ann Marr, CEO of St Helens and Knowsley NHS Trust, regarding Covid-19 vaccination plans for St Helens and Knowsley NHS Trust

Support for Carers
20 December 2020
Please click here to view a response from Helen Whately MP, Minister of State for Care, regarding support for carers during the covid-19 pandemic.

Cannabis for Medicinal Use
20 December 2020
Please click here to view a response from Jo Churchill MP, Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health, regarding the use of cannabis-based products for medicinal use.

UK Aid Budget
20 December 2020
Please click here to view a response from Lord Ahmad regarding the UK aid budget.

Golf Courses
20 December 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, regarding the reopening of golf courses.

Universal Credit Standard Allowance
20 December 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Chief Secretary to the Treasury regarding the Universal Credit Standard Allowance and Working Tax Credit basic element.

Breast Cancer Funding
20 December 2020
Please click here to view a response from HM Treasury regarding funding for breast cancer research.

National Grid's Industry Leading Graduate and Apprenticeship Scheme
14 December 2020
A new opportunity has arisen for those in Knowsley looking for a graduate role or apprenticeship. National Grid UK is recruiting the next generation of problem solvers and creative thinkers to help transform the energy sector to meet #netzero. To find out more click here.

Closure of Outdoor Archery Ranges
14 December 2020
Please click here to view a response from John Whittingdale MP, the Minister of State for Media and Data in relation to concerns on the closure of outdoor archery ranges.

Radiotherapy4life Catch Up With Cancer Campaign
14 December 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Prevention, Public Health and Primary Care, Jo Churchill MP in relation to the 'Catch up with Cancer' campaign.

UK Microchip Legislation
14 December 2020
Pease click here to view a response from the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, George Eustice MP in relation to UK microchip legislation.

Universal Credit and Current Legacy Benefit Rates
14 December 2020
Please click here to view a response from Will Quince MP, the Minister for Welfare Delivery in relation to Universal Credit and the current legacy benefit rates.

Social Care Funding
14 December 2020
Please click here to view a response from HM Treasury regarding social care funding.

Cancer Support Funding
14 December 2020
Please click here to view a response from HM Treasury in relation to increased spending on cancer services.

Supertrawlers
8 December 2020
Please click here to view a response from George Eustice MP, Secretary of State for the Environment, regarding banning the use of supertrawlers in UK Marine Protected Areas.

Foreign National Rough Sleepers
8 December 2020
Please click here to view a response from Chris Philp, Minister for Immigration, regarding foreign national rough sleepers in the UK.

SCOPE - 'Reforming the Welfare System'
8 December 2020
Please click here to view a response from Justin Tomlinson MP, Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, regarding Scope's report entitled 'Reforming the Welfare System.

Wider Opening of Schools
8 December 2020
Please click here to view a response from Nick Gibb, Minister of State for School Standards, regarding the wider opening of schools during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Jamaica Charter Flight
8 December 2020
Please click here to view a response from Chris Philp, Minister for Immigration, regarding the charter flight to Jamaica on 2 December.

Priadel and Camcolit
8 December 2020
Please click here to view a response from Lord Bethell regarding the discontinuation of Priadel and the price of Camcolit.

Beer Duty
8 December 2020
Please click here to view a response from HM Treasury regarding Beer Duty.

'Catch up with Cancer'
2 December 2020
I am supporting the 'Catch up with Cancer' campaign, which is calling on the government to improve cancer services and provide the NHS with the resources to deal with the COVID-19 induced cancer backlog.
You can find out more about the campaign by clicking here.

Pub and Brewery Sector
2 December 2020
A number of constituents have contacted me to raise concerns about the future of the pub and brewery sector as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.
I have raised these concerns with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and I will put a copy of any response received on my website.

Hospitality Industry
2 December 2020
A number of constituents have contacted me to raise concerns about the impact of the tier system on the hospitality sector following the expiration of the national lockdown.
I have raised this matter with the Chancellor of the Exchequer and will put a copy of any response received on my website.
In the meantime, Knowsley Council have introduced the Hospitality, Leisure and Retail Grant to support business in those industries. The grant is available until Friday 11th December and you can find out more information by clicking here

Rolls Royce
2 December 2020
Please click here to view a response from Nadhim Zahawi, Minister for Business and Industry, regarding the future of the Rolls Royce site at Barnoldswick.

2020 Spending Review
25 November 2020
I have been contacted by a number of constituents regarding the 2020 Spending Review that is due to take place today. Please click here to view a response from HM Treasury which sets out their plans to focus entirely on the response to Covid-19 and supporting jobs.

Fox Hunting
25 November 2020
I have been contacted by a number of constituents concerned that trail hunting is being used to facilitate fox hunting on public land. I would like to assure my constituents that I am opposed to any easing of restrictions set out in the 2004 Hunting Act. At the 2019 General Election, as part of our Animal Welfare Manifesto, the Labour Party proposed strengthening the Hunting Act to close any potential loopholes. Please accept my assurances that I will continue to monitor this issue.

Diabetes UK 'Cheque for Tech'
25 November 2020
I have been contacted by a number of constituents regarding increased funding for diabetes technology. I have been raising this issue in Parliament for a number of years, and in December 2018, I led an adjournment debate on artificial pancreas systems, you can view the debate here. More recently I wrote to the Chancellor to ask to consider additional funding as part of the 2020 Spending Review, you can view the response here.

Homelessness and the 2020 Spending Review
25 November 2020
Please click here to view a response from Steve Barclay MP at HM Treasury, in response to my letter asking a commitment to prioritise funding for homelessness services in the 2020 Spending Review.

Fund the Fire and Rescue Service
25 November 2020
Please click here to view a response from Steve Barclay MP at HM Treasury regarding the funding of fire services.

Badger Cull
25 November 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, George Eustice MP regarding badger culling.

Medical Research Charities
25 November 2020
Please click here to view a response from HM Treasury regarding protecting medical research undertaken by charities such as the British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK.

NHS Fertility Services
25 November 2020
Please click here to view a response from Lord Bethell at the Department of Health and Social Care regarding the provision on fertility services during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori
20 November 2020
Please click here to view a response from James Cleverly, Minister of State at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, concerning Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori.

NHS Funding
20 November 2020
A number of constituents have contacted me calling for an increase in funding for the NHS in the upcoming spending review.
I have raised this matter with the Chancellor and will put a copy of any response received on my website.

Environment Bill

20 November 2020
A number of constituents have contacted me concerning the Environment Bill, which has reached the Committee Stage in the House of Commons. As I am chairing the Committee Stage of the Bill, I am unable to comment on it.

Parliamentary Scrutiny of UK Aid
19 November 2020
On 16 June the Prime Minister announced to Parliament that the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) would merge. The new international department, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), was launched on 2 September 2020.
In the government’s response to the International Development Committee’s Second & Fourth Reports (Effectiveness of UK Aid: Interim Report & Effectiveness of UK Aid: potential impact of FCO/DFID merger); the government said [regarding scrutiny arrangements]:
'The Government agrees that Parliament has an important role in scrutinising UK aid spending. Select committees are fundamental in scrutinising the Government’s spending and policies, and we are grateful for the constructive and collaborative approach adopted by the International Development Committee. The Government’s view is that Select Committees in the Commons should generally mirror Government departments. The Prime Minister has said, he expects Parliament will want to set up a new committee to scrutinise the new department. Ultimately the structure and remit of Select Committees is a matter for Parliament'.
The correspondence [latest publications] between the Chair of the International Development Sub-Committee on the Work of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact and the Foreign Secretary, published 17 November, in which the Chair raises some of your concerns about the role and responsibility of the new FCDO.
I am not aware of any imminent vote on changes to committee arrangements. If there is a vote, I will look carefully at what is being proposed. With regards to UK policy on overseas aid, I am committed to the UK investing 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) on international development.

'Access to Nature'
19 November 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Environment Secretary regarding the 'Access to Nature' campaign.

Pubs and Breweries - Covid-19
19 November 2020
Please click here to view a response from Amanda Solloway, Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, regarding support for pubs and breweries during the covid-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
19 November 2020
Please click here to view a response from HM Treasury regarding the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Cancer Research Funding
19 November 2020
Please click here to view a response from HM Treasury regarding funding for cancer research.

NHS Staff Pay

19 November 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Steve Barclay, regarding NHS staff pay.

Nutrition - Covid-19
19 November 2020
Please click here to view a response from Wendy Morton, Minister of State at the Foreign Office, regarding the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on nutrition, particularly in relation to some of the poorest people in the world.

Universal Credit Uplift
19 November 2020
Please click here to view a response from Will Quince, Minister for Welfare Delivery, regarding the £20 Universal Credit uplift.

Remembrance Day 2020
11 November 2020
Despite the restrictions, I wanted to pay tribute to those who have served so valiantly for our country. Here is a picture of me laying my poppy wreath.
They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, We will remember them.

2021 Exams
11 November 2020
Please click here to view a response from Nick Gibb MP, the Minister of State for School Standards, regarding examinations taking place in 2021.

Persecution of Christians during the Covid-19 pandemic
11 November 2020
Please click here to view a response from Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth, regarding the persecution of Christians.

Education - Covid-19 Restrictions
9 November 2020
A number of constituents have contacted me calling for the closure of schools and colleges as part of the current lockdown.
Last week, there was a vote in the House of Commons to implement the most recent Covid-19 restrictions, and you can see how I voted here. I do, however, share your concern, but I am not convinced that the approach of closing down schools and colleges would be appropriate. It would have profound consequences for children and young people’s future prospects and their mental health.
I will, nevertheless, keep a close eye on developments and would not firmly rule out supporting such a closure if the evidence points in that direction.

Graded Exercise Therapy
9 November 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Department for Health and Social Care regarding the use of Graded Exercise Therapy for the treatment of CFS and ME.

Covid-19 Legislation
5 November 2020
Many people have contacted me regarding legislation, passed on 4 November 2020, to implement a four week lockdown in England.
My view is that the restrictions are necessary in order to try to bring the number of infections down, prevent further deaths and protect the NHS. In Knowsley, when the Tier 3 restrictions were introduced, the infection rate peaked at 716.4 per 100,000 (as of 12 October 2020), so it has been a serious problem.
Even though the rate of infections has now fallen to 589.3 per 100,000 (as of 23 October 2020), it remains a grave problem.
This legislation should have been brought forward following the advice of Sage which the government was aware of on 21 September 2020. The advice from Sage can be found here. The government has been far too slow to act.
You can check how I voted and read a transcript of the debate that took place here in Hansard.

Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill
4 November 2020
A number of constituents have contacted me about the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill.
On 3 November, alongside Labour colleagues, I voted against the Third Reading of this Bill but, MPs passed the legislation by 345 to 260 (majority 85). In addition, three further divisions took place on Amendment 1, Amendment 32 and New Clause 5. Despite voting in favour of all three, MPs again voted them down. You can read a transcript of the debate that took place here in Hansard.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashooori
4 November 2020
A number of constituents have contacted me calling for the release and return of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashooori, who are currently imprisoned in Iran.
I have raised this matter with the Foreign Secretary, and will put a copy of any response received on my website.
An Urgent Question about this issue was raised in the House of Commons on 3 November, a transcript of which you can view here.

Maternity Services - Covid-19
4 November 2020
Please click here to view a response from Nadine Dorries, Minister of State at the Department of Health & Social Care, regarding maternity services during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Breast Cancer Funding
4 November 2020
Please click here to view a response from HM Treasury concerning funding for breast cancer care, treatment and research in the Spending Review.

Zoos & Aquariums - Covid-19
4 November 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Environment Secretary, George Eustice, regarding support for zoos and aquariums during the Covid-19 pandemic.

£20 uplift to Universal Credit
28 October 2020
A number of constituents have contacted me regarding making the £20 uplift to Universal Credit permanent, and expanding the provision to include those on legacy benefits. I have written to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak MP to urge him to consider these proposals. I will publish any response I receive.

Asylum Seeker's Right to Work
28 October 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Minister for Immigration Compliance and the Courts, Chris Philip MP.

EU Negotiations.
28 October 2020
Please click here to view a response from Paymaster General, Penny Mordaunt MP regarding concerns over EU negotiations.

Environmental Issues on the National Curriculum
23 October 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Minister of State for School Standards, Nick Gibb MP regarding environmental issues on the National Curriculum.

Free School Meals
22 October 2020
Yesterday, during Prime Minister’s Questions, I asked the Prime Minister is he will make a moral and political choice to assure the 7,108 children in Knowsley reliant on free school meals, that they will be able to access extended provision during the holidays until Easter 2021. You can view what I said here or read a transcript here.
Despite calls by the Labour Party, the proposal was later voted down by the government 322 votes to 261. You can view a transcript of the debate here.

British Heart Foundation
22 October 2020
A number of constituents have contacted me regarding financial support for the British Heart Foundation. I have raised this with the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Stephen Barclay MP to ask that he urgently review government support to charities such as the British Heart Foundation who make an invaluable contribution to research into heart and circulatory diseases.
Any response I recieve will be published online.

Support for the Hospitality Industry
22 October 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets, Paul Scully MP on government support for the restart, recovery and revival of the hospitality industry.

Sale of Arms to Israel
22 October 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa, James Cleverly MP on the sale of arms to Israel.

Access to Abortion
19 October 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Department of Health and Social Care, regarding access to abortion during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill
16 October 2020
The Bill is, as the title suggests, is about covert human intelligence sources. In practice, this means undercover agents who infiltrate terrorist groups, serious organised crime groups, paedophile rings and human trafficking groups.
Enabling undercover agents to operate in those difficult circumstances is very important in order to disrupt existential treats such as mass murder, slavery and sexual exploitation as well as the growth of terrorist networks that seek to undermine our free society.The Bill essentially put the ability of undercover agents to carry out such activities on a statutory footing.

I do, however, have some concerns about the need for proper safeguards to ensure that the powers are not misused.
These concerns were set out by my colleague, Conor McGinn MP in his speech to Parliament which can be found here.
The amendments Conor referred to in his speech, which can be found here, reflected the sort of safeguards I believe were necessary. My votes on various amendments can be found here. Unfortunately, however, those amendments were defeated.
This meant that, although I thought it necessary to put the activities on a statutory footing, the safeguards I thought were not incorporated in the Bill.

In those circumstances, I did not want to oppose the principle of the Bill but could not support it in its current form. That being the case, abstaining on the third reading was, in my view, and appropriate response.

Restrictions on Birth Partners
16 October 2020
I have been contacted by a number of concerned constituents regarding the restrictions to birth partners to access scans and births. I have raised this with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock MP. Any response I receive will be published online. Whilst I await a response, you can view here a response from the Chief Executive of St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Ann Marr OBE on this issue.

E-Scooters
14 October 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, regarding e-scooter trials.

School Breakfast Bill
14 October 2020
A number of constituents have contacted me regarding the School Breakfast Bill, which will ensure free breakfasts are provided to schools with high numbers of disadvantaged pupils.
I very much support the Bill and am pleased it passed its First Reading yesterday. The Second Reading is due to take place on 5 February 2021.

Agriculture Bill
14 October 2020
A number of constituents have contacted me concerning the Agriculture Bill, and amendments to the Bill which sought to uphold British food and animal welfare standards in future trade deals.
Together with my Labour colleagues, I voted in favour of the amendments, which were put before the House of Commons on 12 October. Unfortunately, the amendments were rejected and the Bill will be returned to the House of Lords.
You can view the progress of the Bill here.

Aegean Islands Migrant Camps
12 October 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Minister for Immigration, Chris Philp, regarding migrant camps on the Aegean Islands.

World Food Day 16th October
9 October 2020
A number of constituents have contacted me regarding 'World Food Day' on 16th October.
I have written to the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab MP, to ask that he make further aid commitments to end the rising cases of malnutrition following the Covid-19 pandemic. I will publish any response I recieve.

Pancreatic Cancer UK's 'No Time to Wait' Campaign
9 October 2020
A number of constituents have contacted me regarding Pancreatic Cancer UK's 'No Time to Wait' Campaign.
I share their concerns over the disruptions to cancer services and diagnoses during the Covid-19 pandemic. I have been in frequent contact with Pancreatic Cancer UK throughout the pandemic.
I previously raised this issue with the Cheshire and Merseyside Cancer Alliance, you can view their response here.
Finally, I have added my signature to the 'Catch up with Cancer Campaign' EDM710, you can view my signature here.

Shelter's Report 'Building Our Way Out'
9 October 2020
A number of constituents have written to me to draw my attention to the Shelter report 'Building Our Way Out'. I do support the recommendations in the report and have written to the Secretary of State for Housing, Robert Jenrick MP, asking him to give serious consideration to adopting them. I will publish any response I receive. You can view the report here.

Financial Help for those stranded abroad
9 October 2020
Following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, I repeatedly wrote the Foreign Secretary and the Chancellor to ask for financial assistance for those stranded abroad.
Please click here to view the response I received from Nigel Adams MP, Minister of State for Asia.

Hen Harriers
9 October 2020
Please click here to view a response from George Eustice MP, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, regarding the illegal killing of hen harriers and other birds of prey.

Impact of Centre Assessed Grades on Universities
9 October 2020
Please click here to view a response from Michelle Donelan MP, Minister of State for Universities regarding the impact of Centre Assessed Grades on universities.

NHS Pay
9 October 2020
Please click here to view a response from HM Treasury regarding NHS Pay.

Coronavirus Act Renewal Motion
2 October 2020
A number of constituents have contacted me concerning the Coronavirus Act Renewal Motion, and have asked that I support a number of amendments to the motion.
The Speaker declined to call any amendments and the motion was passed 330 to 24.
Together with the majority of my Labour colleagues, I did not block the motion as I recognise that, in a pandemic, any government requires extraordinary powers. However, the Act is by no means perfect and I am disappointed with the government’s all or nothing approach.
You can find further details by clicking here.

Animal Sentience
2 October 2020
A number of constituents have contacted me calling on the government to introduce Animal Sentience legislation at the earliest opportunity, thus ensuring it is in place post-Brexit.
I have raised this matter with the Environment Secretary, and will put a copy of any response received on my website.

Asylum Seeker Employment Criteria
2 October 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Minister for Immigration, Chris Philp MP, regarding permission to work for asylum seekers.

Beer Duty
2 October 2020
Please click here to view a response from HM Treasury regarding Beer Duty.

Post-16 Education
2 October 2020
Please click here and here to view responses from the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson MP, regarding support for the Post-16 education sector during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Refugee Resettlement in the UK
2 October 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Minister for Immigration, Chris Philp MP, regarding the resettlement of refugees in the UK.

Covid-19 Restrictions

October 2020
A number of constituents have contacted me to enquire about how the tier three restrictions in the Liverpool City Region will affect them. Constituents may find it helpful to view this table, as it provides a simplified view of the restrictions. The Department of Health & Social Care also provide further information about the restrictions here.
More generally, I believe the three tier system announced by the government is problematic for two reasons. First, it is not accompanied by a financial package sufficient to protect jobs and businesses in Knowsley and the wider city region.
Secondly, SAGE have said that they do not go far enough. We need a circuit breaker which would be more effective in bringing down the rate of infections. I believe we should follow that advice.

Covid-19 Statement
October 2020
The new restrictions for our area, announced on 1 October 2020, were in response to a sharp increase in infections in Knowsley and the Liverpool City Region. Council Leaders and local MP's, myself included, believe that additional restrictions are justified. We do, however, have criticisms of the way in which the government is handling the pandemic and the lack of transparency over the scientific evidence on which the decisions are based. Moreover, we have made it clear to the government that, if we are to avoid the collapse of the hospitality, leisure and retail sectors in the city region, with consequential job losses, a financial support package of some £700 million is urgently needed. We are pressing very hard on this. Earlier this week, the emergency powers legislation was renewed. The Brady amendment, which would give parliament more say in the introduction of any new powers, was unfortunately not selected by the Speaker. Had it been so, I would have supported it. The government has indicated that parliament will have more involvement and, as the opposition, we will use those opportunities to highlight where the government is going wrong and what improvements are necessary. It is important that we all recognise that Covid-19 is still present, and in recent weeks, the number of infections in Knowsley and our city region has increased alarmingly. That being the case, it would be irresponsible not to support increased restrictions to reduce the spread. I understand and share people's frustration that these measures have been introduced. Not being able to visit loved ones or enjoy our leisure time is a big sacrifice to make. If we are to return to a more normal life, however, we cannot allow the infection rate to continue unchecked. I would urge people not to follow online conspiracy theories. The virus is with us and is killing people all over the world. I urge people to follow the restrictions fully so that we can all play a part in stopping the virus spreading and killing more people.

Calling on the Health Secretary to Improve Covid-19 Testing
30 September 2020
Today I have written to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock MP, calling for the Covid-19 testing system to be run by the local NHS in cooperation with Knowsley Council. From my discussions with local hospital trusts, Knowsley Council and Healthwatch Knowsley, I have been able to establish that the testing capacity in Knowsley could be significant by using the NHS, rather than the Serco system which is costly and not fit for purpose.
You can view my letter here.

Green Recovery
28 September 2020
Please click here to view a response from Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Minister of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, regarding the government's plans for a green recovery.

'Stop Cancer becoming the Forgotten C'
28 September 2020
I am supporting Macmillan's 'Stop Cancer becoming the Forgotten C' campaign.
Coronavirus has caused a devastating backlog in cancer treatment and care. This campaign calls on the government to do all they can to reduce the backlog and ensure cancer isn't forgotten during or after this pandemic.
You can find out more about the campaign by clicking here.

Counselling in Schools
28 September 2020
Please click here to view a response from Vicky Ford MP, Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families, concerning funding for counselling in schools.

UNISON - Give NHS Staff a Payrise
25 September 2020
A number of constituents have contacted me in support of UNISON's campaign to increase the NHS staff salary by £2000 per year.
I very much support the campaign, and have contacted the Chancellor and Prime Minister about this matter. Any responses received will be put on my website.

Environment Bill
25 September 2020
A number of constituents have been in touch asking me to support a change to the Environment Bill, enshrining the WHO's guideline for PM2.5 into law.
I am chairing the Committee Stage of the Bill and am, therefore, unable to comment. However, I am sure the issue will be considered at Committee Stage.

Overseas Operations Bill
25 September 2020
A number of constituents have contacted me to raise concerns about the Overseas Operations Bill. The Bill passed its Second Reading on 23 September and has progressed to the Committee Stage, where Labour will seek to amend and improve the legislation.

Support for the Aerospace Sector
25 September 2020
Please click here to view a response from Nadhim Zahawi MP, Minister for Business and Industry, regarding financial support for the aerospace sector.

Non-hospital Covid Deaths
25 September 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Department for Health and Social Care regarding data relating to the number of non-hospital covid deaths.

Covid-19 and Higher and Further Education
25 September 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Minister for Universities, Michelle Donelan MP, regarding the impact of Covid-19 on Higher and Further Education.

Investor-State Dispute Settlements
25 September 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Minister for International Trade, Ranil Jayawardena MP, regarding Investor-State Dispute Settlements.

Refugee Channel Crossings
25 September 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Minister for Immigration, Chris Philp MP, regarding refugee channel crossings.

Children's Mental Wellbeing
21 September 2020
Please click here to view a response from Vicky Ford MP, Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families, regarding children's mental wellbeing and the Children's Society's Good Childhood Report.

VAT on Suncreen
21 September 2020
Please click here to view a response from HM Treasury regarding the possibility of reducing or removing VAT on suncreen.

No-Deal EU Exit
9 September 2020
A number of constituents have contacted me to raise concerns about a no-deal exit from the EU at the end of the transition period.
I strongly agree that a no-deal approach which the government are threatening would be disastrous for our economy and good standing with the EU and wider world.
I will not support such an outcome.

Workplace Protections for People with Diabetes
9 September 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, Kwasi Kwarteng MP, regarding protections in the workplace for people with Diabates during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Gender Equality in Foreign Policy
7 September 2020
Please click here to view a response from Baroness Sugg, Parliamentary Under- Secretary of State in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and Special Envoy for Girls' Education, regarding ensuring gender equality at the heart of foreign policy.

Kirkby Neighbourhood Community Fund 2020
2 September 2020
Suez have announced that the 2020 Kirkby Neighbourhood Community Fund is now open for applications. Up to £50,000 is available for community groups developing community, health and wellbeing and environmental projects in Northwood, Cherryfield, Shevington, Whitefield and Knowsley Village.
Applications need to be submitted by Monday 19 October 2020 and the successful projects will be announced at the end of the autumn.
For more information and to download an application form please click here.

Agriculture Bill 2019-21
2 September 2020
A number of constituents have contacted me concerning the Agriculture Bill and to raise concerns about the regulation of food standards in the UK once the transition period ends. I share these concerns and will not support any deal in parliament that fails to provide proper protection.
The Agriculture Bill was last debated in the House of Commons on 13th May, before being passed to the House of Lords. Three amendments were put to the House on 13th May, New Clause 2, New Clause 7 and Amendment 39. I voted in favour of New Clause 2, which relates to imported food complying with UK food standards. Unfortunately this was defeated 328 to 277.
I also voted for New Clause 7, put forward by Keir Starmer MP, which would introduce a Coronavirus emergency food plan. Unfortunately this amendment was also defeated 352 to 221 votes. The Agriculture Bill is currently at the Report Stage in the House of Lords.
A number of constituents are also calling on the government to prioritise an Animal Sentience Law. I have previously raised this with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and you can view a copy of the response received here.
I will continue to monitor these issues closely and will continue to hold the government to account.

Local Government Funding
2 September 2020
A number of constituents have contacted me to raise concerns about a shortfall in funding for local services. I have raised this matter with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, and I will put a copy of any response received on this website.

Business and Planning Bill 2020
2 September 2020
A number of constituents have contacted me to raise concerns about planning reforms in the Business and Planning Bill 2020.
I have raised this matter with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, and I will put a copy of any response received on this website.

Obtaining Refunds for Cancelled Flights
2 September 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Secretary of State for Transport regarding the difficulties many people are facing obtaining a refund for cancelled flights during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Merseyrail Travel Information
27 August 2020
As people are beginning to return to public transport, Merseyrail are reminding passengers of the extra measures they have put in place to keep both passengers and staff safe. Please click here for more information.

West Coast Railway Bank Holiday Disruption
27 August 2020
Network Rail have advised that upgrades are taking place on the west coast mainline. They advise passengers to plan ahead for bank holiday journeys in and around Liverpool over the 29th-31st August bank holiday. You can find out more information here.

British Business Bank's Start Up Loans
27 August 2020
British Business Bank have hit a milestone of issuing 75,00 loans, with 119 being issued in Knowsley worth £1,003,237. To find out more please click here.

International Debt
27 August 2020
Please click here to view a response from HM Treasury regarding internarional debt in low-income countries.

Crisis 'A Home for All' Campaign
27 August 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government regarding the 'A Home for All' campaign by the charity Crisis.

Mahmoud Nawajaa
27 August 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa, James Cleverly MP regarding the case of Mahmoud Nawajaa.

Aerospace Sector
27 August 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Minister for Business and Industry, Nadhim Zahawi MP regarding the aerospace sector.

Supertrawlers
27 August 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Secretary for State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, George Eustice MP regarding supertrawlers.

Environmental Roundtable
27 August 2020
Following a previous online meeting with constituents regarding their concerns about environmental issues, I agreed to host an online roundtable with key stakeholders from Knowsley Council and the Liverpool City Region., which took place on Thursday 6th August 2020. I am grateful that we were able to cover a wide variety of issues including household waste, green development, schools, public transport and the plans by Knowsley Council and the Liverpool City Region to become net carbon zero by 2040. I was impressed by the number of green projects that are being undertaken, and I am confident that they will have a positive impact in our region and to the planet.
Given the current circumstances, I am aware that a lot of constituents are eager to take up more walking and cycling to improve their health and as an alternative to other types of transport. I was pleased to learn the Liverpool City Region has plans to increase the amount of pop up cycling lanes, with hopes to secure funding for more ambitious schemes to create more permanent and semi-permanent cycle lanes. In addition, Knowsley Council has increased efforts to encourage more cycling in Knowsley and build confidence in residents to use these cycle routes. Recent investment has enabled the widening of walkways to include more cycle lanes. You can view a cycle map for Knowsley here, and maps for the wider Liverpool City Region here.

Covid-19 and Blood Cancer
19 August 2020
Please click here to view a response from HM Treasury regarding support for people with blood cancer during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Covid-19 and Child Benefit
19 August 2020
Please click here to view a response from HM Treasury regarding financial support for families through the Covid-19 outbreak.

Reception Baseline Assessment
19 August 2020
Please click here to view a response from Nick Gibb MP, Minister of State for School Standards, regarding the Reception Baseline Assessment.

As You Write It Competition
11 August 2020
The Shakespeare North Playhouse in Prescot has teamed up with the One Show to create an exciting new writing competition. The competition is open to all children and young people aged between 7 and 16 years old.The final three winners will receive a special award and have their play performed at The Shakespeare North Playhouse when it opens in 2022.
The deadline for is just before midnight on Monday 31st August 2020. For more information please click here.

Write to Work Competition
11 August 2020
Write to Work is looking for new participants to enter its 12 week free writing programme that is specifically for unemployed people who live in the Liverpool City Region. The course will be delivered entirely online in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Over 12 weeks it will deliver specialist writing workshops via Zoom video conferencing, hosted by published writers and industry professionals, all offering their personal insights and tips for succes.
Applications close on 17 August, for more information please click here.

Hong Kong
11 August 2020
Please click here to view the response from Nigel Adams MP, the Minister of State for Asia, regarding the siutation in Hong Kong.

Support for Creative Industries
11 August 202
Please click here to view the response from Caroline Dinenage MP, the Minister of State for Digital and Culture in regards to support for grassroots music venues and the creative industry sector.

Foreign Office Merger
11 August 2020
Please click here to view the response from James Duddridge MP, the Minister for Africa, regarding the merger of the Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, to create the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

Mohammed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa
11 August 2020
Please click here to view the response from James Cleverly MP, the Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa, regarding the death sentences against Mohammed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa in Bahrain.

Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage
5 August 2020
Application for the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage are open. Deadline Midday 17 August, click here for details.

Refunds for Cancelled Flights
5 August 2020
Please click here to view the response from Chris Heaton-Harris MP, the Minister of State for Transport, regarding refunds for cancelled flights.

Rough Sleeping
5 August 2020
Please click here to view the response from the Luke Hall MP, the Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing, regarding emergency accomodation for rough sleepers.

Covid-19 Testing
5 August 2020
Please click here to view the response from the Department of Health and Social Care regarding the testing of Covid-19.

Support for Theatres and the Creative Industy Sector
5 August 2020
Please click here to view the response from the Caroline Dinenage MP, the Minister of State for Digital and Culture. regarding the support for theatres and the creative industry sector during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Contacting your GP during Covid-19
29 July 2020
A number of health organisations have contacted my office encouraging people to contact their GP if they are unwell during the current pandemic.
Target Ovarian Cancer have specifically raised concerns with me about the drop in ovarian cancer referrals since March, and they are encouraging woman to contact their GP if they are experiencing symptoms of ovarian cancer.
Symptoms include a bloated tummy; permanently feeling full; needing to urinate more often and stomach pain.
For more information about ovarian cancer and the work of Target Ovarian Cancer, please click here. For more information about cancer symptoms, please click here.

Emergency Grassroots Music Venues Fund
29 July 2020
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has announced the launch of a £2.25 million Emergency Grassroots Music Venues Fund to support grassroots live music venues at imminent risk of insolvency.
This £2.25 million fund is designed to help organisations remain solvent until 30 September, and will be available to a broad range of venues that present live grassroots music events to the public. The fund is opened for applications from this Saturday 25 July 2020 until midday on 3 August 2020. Applicants can apply for funding ranging from £1,000 up to £80,000, to cover operational costs incurred between 4 August and 30 September 2020.
Further information can be found by clicking here.

BAME History Teaching in Schools
29 July 2020
Please click here to view a response from Nick Gibb MP, Minister of State for School Standards, regarding the teaching of BAME history in schools.

Trade Bill
23 July 2020
On Monday 20 July, the Trade Bill was put to the House of Commons for its third reading.
I had voted in favour of all amendments put to the House: New Clause 4, New Clause 11, New Clause 17 and Amendment 10.
Unfortunately none of these amendments were passed and the Bill will now go to the House of Lords for consideration.
You can view a transcript of the debate here, and view my voting record here.

Universal Credit for under 25s
23 July 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Minister for Welfare Delivery, Will Quince MP, regarding extending Universal Credit to under 25s.

UK Travel Industry
23 July 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets, Paul Scully MP regarding the future of the UK travel industry.

'Parent Talk'
20 July 2020
Parent Talk is a new and free online support service from Action for Children that is designed to support parents during lockdown.
Support includes connecting parents with trained and experienced parenting coaches, in addition to providing tools which include financial, relationship and emotional advice.
For more information, please visit www.parent-talk.org.uk/happy.

Covid-19 and Social Security Benefits
20 July 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Minister for Welfare Delivery, Will Quince MP, regarding social secuirty benefits during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Policing and BAME Communities
20 July 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Minister of State for Crime and Policing, Kit Malthouse MP, regarding policing and BAME communities.

Chester Zoo
20 July 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Environment Secretary, George Eustice MP, regarding the reopening of Chester Zoo.

Annexation of the West Bank
20 July 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa, James Cleverly MP, regarding reports about the possible annexation of parts of the West Bank.

Face-to-Face Health and Disability Assessments
20 July 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson MP, regarding face-to-face health and disability assessments.

University Funding
20 July 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Minister of State for Universities, Michelle Donelan MP, regarding support for the Higher Education sector post Covid-19.

Support for Asylum Seekers
20 July 2020
Please click here to view a response from Chris Philp MP, Minister for Immigration, regarding financial support for asylum seekers.

Domestic Abuse Bill
10 July 2020
A number of constituents contacted me about the Domestic Abuse Bill. The debate on the Bill and how I voted on amendments can be found here.

Beauty salons
10 July 2020
I co-signed a letter to the Prime Minister urging him to offer a lifeline to those employed in the beauty industry and unable to work while salons remained and am pleased to note the reopening of salons on 13 July. You can find a copy of the letter here.

Theatres and the Arts
10 July 2020
I supported the campaign for additional support for theatres and the arts and was a co-signatory of this letter to the Prime Minister. While welcoming the support the government has subsequently announced for theatres, many performers and those employed in work supporting the cultural sector, such as technicians, are not included in the package and I continue to press the case for those people.

ExcludedUK
10 July 2020
At the request of constituents, I joined the inaugural meeting of the ExcludedUK All Party Parliamentary Group, which has been established to highlight the plight of self-employed workers who are not receiving government support during the COVID-19 crisis. I have raised concerns with ministers on behalf of many individual constituents and businesses and will continue to campaign for those workers. You can also view a recent report from ExcludedUK here regarding the challenges and impact of exclusion from Covid-19 financial support schemes provided by the UK Government.

Airlines
10 July 2020
I have been supporting airline and travel industry employees, including EasyJet and BA workers and have signed Unite's BA pledge. Staff who work for British Airways deserve better treatment than they have had from the company. That is why I wholeheartedly support the campaign to stop British Airways from Betraying Britain. The same sentiment applies to other airline workers.

Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children
10 July 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Minister of State for Security, James Brokenshire MP, regarding family reunion for unaccompanied asylum seeking children.

Children's Services Funding
29 June 2020
Please click here to view a response I have received from Simon Clarke MP, Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, reagrding funding for children's services.

Homelessness and Rough Sleeping
29 June 2020
Please click here to view a response from the Cabinet Office regarding homelessness and rough sleeping during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Belly Mujinga
29 June 2020
Please click here to view a response from Chris Heaton-Harris MP, Minister of State for Transport, regarding the investigation into the death of Belly Mujinga at Victoria Station.

Access to Abortion Services

29 June 2020
Please click here to view a response from Helen Whately, Minister of State for Care, regarding access to abortion services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scope - 'The Disability Report
29 June 2020
Please click here to view a response from Justin Tomlinson, Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, regarding the government's response to Scope's Disabilty Report.

Diabetes and Returning to Work
29 June 2020
Please click here to view a response from Lord Callanan, regarding people with diabetes who are concerned about returning to work.

LFC - 'Stay Safe. Support from Home'
19 June 2020
Liverpool Football Club are encouraging supporters to support the team from home whilst games are played behind closed doors. You can find out more information about the club’s ‘Stay Safe. Support from Home’ message by clicking here.

Arms Export Licences to the United States
17 June 2020
Please click here to view a response I have received from Ranil Jayawardena, Minister for International Trade, regarding the issuing of Arms Export Licences to the United States.

Dominic Cummings
12 June 2020
I recently contacted the Prime Minister stating that Dominic Cummings position was untenable due to his conduct during the lockdown. Please click here to view the response I have received from 10 Downing Street.

PPE for Care Homes
12 June 2020
Please click here to view the response I have received from the Minister of State for Care, Helen Whately, regarding the availability of PPE for care homes. I will continue to monitor this matter closely.

Re-opening Knowsley Safari Park
12 June 2020
I am pleased that the government has agreed to safari parks and zoos re-opening from Monday 15 June, and I am pleased to have played a part in the campaign to persuade the government to do so. You can see the Early Day Motion that I tabled here.

Black Lives Matter
12 June 2020
I am deeply concerned about recent developments in the United States, particularly in relation to the abhorrent murder of George Floyd. I have added my name to a letter that my colleague, Dawn Butler MP, has sent to the government calling for a halt to the export of riot control projectiles and equipment to the United States. You can view the letter here. I have also signed EDM 520 on this. In addition, I have asked the Home Office to carry out an urgent review of systematic racism in the criminal justice system.

EU Trade Deal
12 June 2020
The General Election in December last year effectively confirmed the previous referendum result to leave the EU. That, however, preceded the current COVID-19 crisis which will, inevitably, lead to severe economic consequences and job losses. We already know, for example, from the Office for National Statistics, that the UK economy shrank by 20.4% in April. That makes it doubly important that we get a good trade deal with the EU, otherwise the economic prospects for our country will be even worse. I believe it is right in these circumstances to extend the transition period beyond the end of this year in order to avoid leaving with a deal that would put our economy at even greater risk. That is Labour's position too and we will continue to press for more time to protect our jobs and businesses. Any other trade deals, for example with the US, must ensure that our food standards and workplace protections are protected.

Israel and the West Bank
12 June 2020
I have raised my concerns about the recent actions of the Israeli government with the Foreign Secretary.

Face-to-Face Benefit Assessments
12 June 2020
I have asked the Work and Pensions Secretary to reconsider face-to-face benefit assessments for those with mental health problems.

Work Place Support for those with Diabetes
12 June 2020
As Vice-Chair of the All Party Group on Diabetes, I have been working with Diabetes UK to try and persuade the government to provide additional work place support for those with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.

Save our Airports and British Airways
12 June 2020
I have strongly supported the campaigns to protect our airports, and jobs at British Airways.

Re-opening Schools
12 June 2020
I have raised a number of issues about the safety of schools reopening too early. Many thanks to Knowsley Head Teachers, parents and Knowsley Council for letting me know about the practical problems as well as health concerns they have.

Co-Op Report into Retail Crime
12 March 2020
On 4 February, I wrote to Minister of State for Crime, Policing and the Fire Service, Kit Malthouse MP, regarding the Co-Op's report into abuse towards shop workers. You can read his response here.

Eating Disorder Awareness Week Debate
5 March 2020
I was successful in securing a 90 minute debate in Westminster Hall to commemorate Eating Disorder Awareness Week.
I used my speech to highlight three issues: the eating disorder diabulimia for those with type 1 diabetes, the impact of celebrity and social media and finally, access to treatment for those with eating disorders.
You can watch a video of the debate Here as well as view a transcript on Hansard Here.

Make Ends Meet Letter
25 February 2020
I recently signed the Make Ends Meet letter by Alison McGovern MP to the Chancellor and the Prime Minister. This letter is to request them to tackle food poverty in childhood, you can see the letter Here. I will publish any response I recieve.

Eating Disorders Awareness Week
20 February 2020
I recently attended a Beat Eating Disorders event in parliament, which raised awareness of the work the charity do and promoted Eating Disorders Awareness Week taking place between Monday 2nd March and Sunday 8th March.
Beat Eating Disorders is a UK based eating disorder charity who offer support to those affected by eating disorders. Beat Eating Disorders estimate that 5 million people in the UK are living with or are affected in some way by an eating disorder making the work of charities such as Beat Eating Disorders imperative.
For more information about Eating Disorders Awareness Week and the work Beat Eating Disorders do, please click here.

Debate on protection for retail workers
11 February 2020
I recently spoke at a debate on protection for retail workers. You can see what I said here and here.

Treasury Question on the furture of car manufacturing
11 February 2020
During Treasury Questions, I asked a question on if the governmental proposal for phasing out of diesel, petrol and hybrid vehicles to 2035 has factored in potential job loses in the motor manufacturing industry. You can see what I said here

HS2 Question to the Prime Minister
11 February 2020
I recently asked a Question to the Prime Minister about what benefits HS2 will bring to the Liverpool City region. You can see what I said here.

Animal Cruelty Sentencing
4 February 2020
In January I was contacted by a number of constituents regarding increasing the maximum sentence for animal cruelty from six months to five years. On 17th January I wrote to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to call on the government to prioritise this proposal. You can see the response here.

JDRF 'Pathway to Choice' Report Launch
4 February 2020
I recently hosted an event in the House of Commons for JDRF, a leading type 1 diabetes charity, which funds research to cure, treat and prevent type 1 diabetes. At this event, I called for action to boost access to wearable medical technology for people living with type 1 diabetes.
JDRF’s new report Pathway to Choice reveals the barriers to accessing medical tech to better treat the condition. Currently, only a small proportion of people in the UK living with type 1 diabetes use the range of wearable medical devices that are available on the NHS.
Those who do can have their long-term health outcomes boosted. But the proportion of people with type 1 diabetes who are on an insulin pump, for example, varies from over 40 per cent in some specialist NHS services to less than five per cent in others.
Ihave written to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care regarding what action they are taking to improve access to technology for people with type 1 diabetes – and reduce the barriers patients currently face.

Beer Duty
28 January 2020
Please click here to read a response from Simon Clarke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, regarding beer duty.

European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill 2019-20
20 December 2019
I have been appointed by a resolution of the House of Commons as a temporary First Chairman of Ways & Means (a Deputy Speaker) until the House elects Deputy Speakers in the new year.
That means that I cannot vote on the European (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill at either the Second Reading or during any of the subsequent parliamentary proceedings. Nor am I able to make any further comment on the progress of the legislation, the content of the Bill or proposed amendments as I am required to maintain strict impartiality.

Brexit update
21 October 2019
On Saturday in Parliament, I voted for Oliver Letwin’s amendment to Boris Johnson’s motion. The amendment was carried. This means that Parliament withholds its consent for the deal, unless and until, the withdrawal bill implementing Brexit has been approved by the House of Commons. I voted for the amendment for two main reasons. First, I thought it was a bad deal: it does not provide the assurances I would need to ensure that thousands of manufacturing jobs would not be lost in Knowsley; does not guarantee food and medicine supplies and security; does not provide a trustworthy assurance on workers’ rights and; would fatally undermine the Good Friday Agreement. Secondly, I do not trust Boris Johnson’s assurances. Sadly, he has in his short time as Prime Minister, demonstrated that he cannot be taken at his word. Similarly, I do not trust the Tory Party. On workers’ rights, for example, it was the Tory Party which opted out of the Social Chapter of the Maastricht Treaty, opposed the introduction of the National Minimum Wage under the last Labour government and repeatedly referred to rights in the workplace as ‘red-tape’. Over the coming weeks, the Brexit process will remain uncertain as Parliament considers the relevant legislation. Albeit half-heartedly, Boris Johnson has applied to the EU for an extension. I honestly do not believe that any deal is likely to emerge which meets the concerns I have about how Knowsley and our country will be adversely affected. In the circumstances, therefore, I think it would make sense to put the current deal back to the people, alongside the option to Remain. I do understand the reasons why more than half of the people of Knowsley voted to leave in 2016, but it has become increasingly clear that none of those reasons are likely to be met by this deal. None of us - me included – could have known how complicated and damaging the process of leaving the EU would turn out to be. That being the case, I think it would make sense for all of the us to have the opportunity to confirm whether or not this deal is right for our country.

Staffing, funding and operation of the Railway
17 October 2019
Please click here to read a response from Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, about the staffing, funding and operation of our railways.

Child Online Safety
16 October 2019
I recently visited St Columba’s Catholic Primary School to discuss online safety as part of Google’s ‘Be Internet Legends’ campaign.
The campaign is aimed at 7-11 year olds and teaches them to use the internet safely in a fun and informative way. Children learn to avoid hackers, phishers and bullies via workshops, assemblies, online platforms and free training resources.
For more information about the campaign please click here.

Albemarle & Bond / Herbert Brown Pawnbrokers
15 October 2019
Please click here for a response from the Financial Conduct Authority regarding the decision by Speedloan Finance Ltd to close their pawnbroker stores, trading as Albemarle & Bond and Herbert Brown.

Giving Tuesday
1 October 2019
I recently met with the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) to hear about the essential role that charities play in bringing communities together.
One way that charities can promote the work they do is through the Giving Tuesday campaign. The Giving Tuesday campaign holds the world record for the most amount of money raised online in 24 hours, and aims to help as many charities as possible and celebrate the causes we all care about.
For more information please visit www.givingtuesday.org.uk and www.cafonline.org.

Alcohol Health Alliance’s ‘What would you choose?’ campaign
27 September 2019
In England, alcohol is the leading risk factor of death, ill-health, and disability for those aged 15-49. Between 2012 and 2017, alcohol-specific deaths have risen by 10% in the UK. I pledge my support for an increase in alcohol duty to help fund health and prevention services. Alcohol causes substantial harms to families and communities across the UK. When asked by members of the Alcohol Health Alliance the stark question – what would you choose? – the answer is clear. I am backing targeted, evidence-based measures aimed at making our communities safer and reducing alcohol harm. For more information, please visit: www.ahauk.org

The National Lottery Community Fund
25 September 2019
The National Lottery Community Fund is now available to fund new projects that bring people together and build strong relationships in and across communities.
In 2018/19, the National Lottery Community Fund awarded over £500 million to community projects.
For more information please visit www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/funding.

Alzheimer's Research UK 'Share the Orange' Campaign
19 September 2019
I am supporting Alzheimer's Research UK’s ‘Share the Orange’ campaign, which aims to raise awareness and improve understanding of the diseases that cause dementia.
The scale of dementia is unprecedented and continue to increase. It is now the leading cause of death in the UK, and without effective interventions, one in three children born in the UK today will one day develop dementia.
Alzheimer's Research UK are calling on the government to commit to a significant increase in funding for Alzheimer’s and dementia research, with a view to bringing about effective treatments people so desperately need and help bring about an end to the crisis of dementia in our society.
For more information about the campaign please visit https://www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/orange.

Brexit
29 August 2019
The events of the last twenty-four hours are deeply disturbing. First, in seeking to bypass Parliament, Boris Johnson is acting in a profoundly undemocratic way. Secondly, there is no constitutional precedent for such action. The last occasion on which anything remotely similar occurred was on 20 April 1653 when Oliver Cromwell forcibly dissolved parliament using armed forces support and subsequently proclaimed himself Lord Protector.
I will not support any action designed to deliver a no-deal Brexit or, for that matter, any deal that does not have parliamentary approval. To do so would be to accept that the government effectively has a free hand to do whatever it wants, which is why I think it is wholly undemocratic.
Even though the Queen has agreed to the prorogation – which automatically occurs when a new session begins with a Queen’s speech, although usually this is just a few days – there are still potential ways in which parliament can assert its rights and I will support any such measures.

Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories
16 August 2019
Please click here to read a response from Andrew Murrison, Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa, regarding Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Brexit
14 August 2019
I do not believe that a No Deal Brexit would be in the best interests of the people of Knowsley. Indeed, it would lead to economic carnage with significant job losses in manufacturing, particularly in the automotive industry. I will not, under any circumstances, vote for a No Deal Brexit. Nor do I believe that Boris Johnson will be able to negotiate a deal with the EU that would guarantee the workplace rights, environmental protections, food supply and security co-operation we already enjoy as members of the EU. As a former Northern Ireland Minister, I will not support any deal that would imperil the Good Friday Agreement. In addition, I will vigorously resist any attempt by the Tory government to bypass parliament in order to facilitate a No Deal Brexit.

State Pension Age for Women
8 August 2019
Please click here to read a response from Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, regarding changes to women's State Pension age.

'Give a Day to Policing'
7 August 2019
I will be taking part in the 'Give a Day to Policing' scheme this month.
The scheme gives MP's the opportunity to spend a day with their local police force to see the work they do and challenges they face.
For more information please click here.

Environment Bill
30 April 2019
Please click here to read the response from Dr Therese Coffey, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Environment, regarding the Environment Bill.

Police Commissioner launches search for new Youth Ambassadors
22 July 2019
Merseyside's Police Commissioner is looking for 10 enthusiastic, skilled young people to volunteer to support, challenge and inform the work of her office and the wider criminal justice system.
The role will last for 12 months and is open to those aged between 16 and 24, who live, work or study in Merseyside. Click here to find out more.

‘Has welfare became unfair?- the impact of changes on disabled people'
19 July 2019
I recently attended the launch of a report entitled ‘Has welfare became unfair?- the impact of changes on disabled people'.
The report was funded by the Three Guinea’s Trust and commissioned by the Disability Benefit Consortium, which consists of 80 charities calling for more support for disabled people.
As part of their investigations, it was discovered that disabled people have lost, on average, payments of around £1,200 each year because of changes to the system. People without a disability lost, on average, £300.
For more information, please visit www.bit.ly/DBC_report.

Winston Churchill Memorial Trust - Churchill Fellowships
17 July 2019
The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (WCMT) runs the Churchill Fellowships, a unique programme of overseas research grants. These support UK citizens from all parts of society to travel the world in search of innovative solutions for today’s most pressing problems. Anyone can apply, regardless of age, qualifications or background. Fellows come from all parts of UK society and all walks of life. The only threshold is that you must be a UK resident citizen aged 18 or over. The only criteria are the power of your ideas and the potential of your commitment to make a difference when you come home.
WCMT are open for applications in 2019 from 16 May to 17 September at 5pm. This is for travels in 2020 and beyond. For more information, click here.

Gender Recognition Act 2004
9 July 2019
Please click here to read a response from Penny Mordaunt, Minister for Women and Equalities, regarding the Gender Recognition Act 2004.

Justice for Windrush Petition
4 July 2019
I have signed Dawn Butler's petition calling on the Prime Minister to resolve all outstanding Windrush cases before leaving office.
Anyone wishing to view and sign the petition can do so here.

Over-75 TV licence concession
2 July 2019
Please click here to read a response from Rt Hon Jeremy Wright MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport about the BBC's recent decision to link the TV licence concession for over-75s to Pension Credit.

Renewable Electricity Subsidies
25 June 2019
Please click here to read a response from Chris Skidmore, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, regarding renewable electricity subsidies for biomass electricity generation.

A New Housing Regulator after Grenfell
24 June 2019
Please click here to read the response from Kit Malthouse MP, Minister of State for Housing, about concerns for building safety after the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017.

Disability Employment
20 June 2019
I am supporting Scope's #WorkWithMe campaign, which encourages businesses to create more inclusive workplaces for disabled people.
A number of barriers prevent disabled people from getting into, staying in and progressing in work, from poor attitudes to inflexible working practices. Disabled people are twice as likely to be unemployed when compared to non-disabled people. This needs to change.
For more information please visit www.workwithme.support.

Carers Week 2019
14 June 2019
I recently attended an event in Parliament to celebrate the valuable contribution carers make locally as part of Carers Week 2019.
The seven charities driving Carers Week 2019 are calling on individuals, organisations and services throughout the country to improve the lives of carers by getting them connected to practical and financial support. They are also calling for a step change in the way society supports those caring unpaid for family and friends.
Thousands of events are taking place across the country this week, and thousands of people have already pledged their support for carers online. To find out more about events or for further information about caring please visit www.carersweek.org.

Bowel Cancer UK 'Time to Test' Campaign
31 May 2019
I am supporting Bowel Cancer UK's 'Time to Test' Campaign, which calls on the goverment to implement a national system of testing all bowel cancer patients at the time of their diagnosis for Lynch Syndrome.
It is estimated that 200,000 people have Lynch Syndrome, which is a genetic condition that dramatically increases the risk of developing bowel cancer by up to 80%. Unfortunately, only 5% of people are aware they have Lynch Syndrome because they have not been tested.
For more information please click here.

Universal Credit Scam
31 May 2019
Healthwatch Knowsley have recently made me aware of a scam being undertaken locally in places such as Kirkby and Prescot.
It is being undertaken by people claiming to be from the Department for Work and Pensions who are calling unannounced at people's homes, and sometimes just approaching people on the street and offering a low cost government loan.
The scammers are registering the victims for Universal Credit using the victims bank details, which they change to their own bank account once the claim is up and running, ensuring they receive the victims UC payments.
Residents are advised to never give money or share personal information with anyone contacing you unannounced, and are advised that low cost government loans do not exist.
For free advice and support, residents are advised to contact Citizens Advice Knowsley on 0300 330 9008. Residents can also report fraudulent activites to Action Fraud or Merseyside Police on 101.

End Child Poverty
29 May 2019
I recently attended an End Child Poverty event in parliament.
End Child Poverty are campaigning for political parties to create child poverty reduction strategies that will release those children in the UK growing up trapped in poverty.
For more information please visit www.endchildpoverty.org.uk.

Mental Health Blog
29 May 2019
I have recently been made aware of a blog created by a young Knowsley resident, in which uses her own experiences to raise awareness of mental health issues, in particular the impact of social media on the mental health of young people.
I have long campaigned about the media portrayal of the so-called 'perfect' body shape, and how this can negatively contribute to people's perception of themselves.
I would encourage anyone interested to visit the blog by clicking here.

Access to Cystic Fibrosis Medication
20 May 2019
I recently signed a cross-party letter to the Prime Minister, marking a year since the Prime Minister called for a "speedy resolution" to access cystic fibrosis medication.

For more information please click here.

Diabetes UK 'It's Missing' Campaign
20 May 2019
I recently attended the launch of Diabetes UK's 'It's Missing' campaign, which calls for new national standards for diabetic emotional and mental health support, and to increase support available locally to people living with diabetes.
Recently published research from the charity revealed that the relentless nature of diabetes can impact people's emotional wellbeing and mental health, ranging from day to day frustation and low mood, to specific psychological and mental health difficulties, such as clinical depression and anxiety. The findings, published in the report "Too Often Missing: Making Emotional and Psychological Support Routine in Diabetes Care", show that diabetes is much more than a physical condition.
For more information please click here.

Letters sent to claimants by the Department for Work & Pensions
7 May 2019
Please click here to read the response from Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP, Secretary of State for the Department for Work & Pensions about letters - form ESA 65B - sent to claimants by the DWP.

Environment Bill
30 April 2019
Please click here to read the response from Dr Therese Coffey, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Environment, regarding the Environment Bill.

Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories
29 April 2019
Please click here to read the response from the Rt Hon Mark Field MP, Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, regarding Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

End DSS Discrimination
26 April 2019
I recently attended an event in parliament, hosted by Shelter, calling for an end to DSS discrimination.
DSS discrimination is the practice of preventing benefit claimants from applying to rent a private property. A recent YouGov survey found that almost a third of people receiving housing benefit said they had been unable to rent a home due to a 'No DSS' policy in the last five years. This equates to hundreds and thousands of private tenants nationally.
Under the Equality Act 2010, it is unlawful to indirectly discriminate based on things like gender, disability or race. 'No DSS' adverts and other exclusionary practices can breach the act via indirect discrimination, as they disproportionately harm women and disabled people, who are more likely to receive housing benefit.
For more information, please click here.

Further Brexit Indicative Votes in the House of Commons
2 April 2019
Below I have listed the four amendments that were selected by the Speaker for division last night. Next to each amendment is the result of the division and how I voted (Yes or No):
(c) Customs Union – Ayes: 273 Noes: 276 (Yes)
(d) Common Market 2.0 – Ayes: 261 Noes: 282 (Yes)
(e) Confirmatory public vote – Ayes:280 Noes: 292 (Yes)
(g) Parliamentary supremacy – Ayes: 191 Noes: 292 (No)

Minimum income requirement for sponsoring a non-EEA national partner
2 April 2019
Please click here to read the response from the Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP, Minister of State for Immigration at the Home Office, about the minimum income requirement for sponsoring a non-European Economic Area (non-EEA) national partner to come to or remain in the UK under family Immigration Rules.

United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union vote
29 March 2019
Today, I voted against the Prime Minister's Withdrawal Agreement in the House of Commons. MPs voted to reject the Withdrawal Agreement, part of the Prime Minister's EU deal, by 344 to 286.

'Stop Christophobia' campaign
29 March 2019
Please click here to read the response from Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the UN.

Brexit Indicative Votes in the House of Commons
28 March 2019
Last night, there were a series of indicative votes in the House of Commons. Indicative votes are non-binding resolutions intended to test the will of the House of Commons. In this instance, they were used to try to find consensus on various proposals relating to Brexit, following the rejection of the Government’s draft deal with the EU (first in January by 230 votes and, again in March by 149 votes).

Below, I have listed the eight amendments that were selected by the Speaker for division. Next to each amendment, is the result of the division and how I voted (Yes or No):
(b) No deal - Ayes:160 Noes:400 (No)
(d) Common market 2.0 - Ayes:188 Noes:283 (Yes)
(h) EFTA and EEA - Ayes:65 Noes:377 (No)
(j) Customs Union - Ayes:264 Noes:272 (Yes)
(k) Labour’s alternative plan - Ayes:237 Noes:307 (Yes)
(l) Revocation to avoid no deal - Ayes:184 Noes:293 (Yes)
(m) Confirmatory public vote - Ayes:268 Noes:295 (Yes)
(o) Contingent preferential arrangements - Ayes:139 Noes:422 (No)

You can read more about each amendment on the Order Paper and see my voting record here in Hansard.

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
22 March 2019
On 20 March, I attended a special event hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Ovarian Cancer and became a ‘teal hero’.
Too many women die of ovarian cancer. We all have to act to ensure that more women know the symptoms to look out for, are diagnosed sooner and get the treatment they need. That’s why I was delighted to take part in this year’s Teal Hero event to support women with ovarian cancer and their families. Teal is the colour of ovarian cancer awareness, which is alarmingly low in the UK.
Data from Target Ovarian Cancer, which provides the secretariat for the APPG, shows just one in five women can name bloating as one of the key symptoms of the disease. The symptoms of ovarian cancer are:
- Persistent bloating- not bloating that comes and goes
- Feeling full or loss of appetite
- Tummy pain
- Needing to wee more often or more urgently
Ovarian cancer can be devastating. Every year 7,300 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the UK, and 4,100 women die from the disease. Target Ovarian Cancer works to raise the profile of ovarian cancer, spread the word about the symptoms, and train GPs in early diagnosis. Visit targetovariancancer.org.uk to find out more.

Motions relating to the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.
19 March 2019
On Tuesday 12 March, the House of Commons voted to again reject the Government's negotiated withdrawal agreement in a second 'meaningful vote'. No amendments to the motion were selected by the Speaker and it was defeated in division by 391 to 242. I voted against the Government’s deal.

On Wednesday 13 March, the House of Commons voted to reject leaving the UK without a deal by 321 to 278. The motion, tabled by the Prime Minister, stated [that this House] declines to approve leaving the European Union without a Withdrawal Agreement and a Framework for the Future Relationship on 29 March 2019; and notes that leaving without a deal remains the default in UK and EU law unless this House and the EU ratify an agreement." This motion rejected leaving without a deal on March 29 2019. The Speaker selected two amendments to the motion.
Amendment (a) altered the motion to reject the UK leaving the EU, at any point, without a deal. This amendment passed by 312 to 308.
Amendment (f), would have called for an extension to enable more time for a managed no-deal exit. This amendment was defeated by 164 to 374.
The motion as amended was put to a vote and approved 321 to 278.

On Thursday 14 March the House of Commons debated a motion on extending the Article 50 period. Alongside Labour colleagues, I abstained on the division for a second referendum. The official People’s Vote campaign argued that the timing was not yet right and urged MPs not to support the amendment.

The Prime Minister’s motion to extend the Article 50 period stated [that this House]:
(1) notes the resolutions of the House of 12 and 13 March, and accordingly agrees that the Government will seek to agree with the European Union an extension of the period specified in Article 50(3);
(2) agrees that, if the House has passed a resolution approving the negotiated withdrawal agreement and the framework for the future relationship for the purposes of section 13(1)(b) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 by 20 March 2019, then the Government will seek to agree with the European Union a one-off extension of the period specified in Article 50(3) for a period ending on 30 June 2019 for the purpose of passing the necessary EU exit legislation; and
(3) notes that, if the House has not passed a resolution approving the negotiated withdrawal agreement and the framework for the future relationship for the purposes of section 13(1)(b) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 by 20 March 2019, then it is highly likely that the European Council at its meeting the following day would require a clear purpose for any extension, not least to determine its length, and that any extension beyond 30 June 2019 would require the United Kingdom to hold European Parliament elections in May 2019.
This motion was approved by 412 to 202. I voted for this motion.

My voting record for divisions relating to the European Union Withdrawal can be found here.

Accident & Emergency (A&E) NHS waiting times.
7 March 2019
Please click here to read a response from Stephen Hammond MP, Minister of State for Health about A&E NHS waiting times.

Over-75 TV licence concessions
1 March 2019
Please click here to read the response from Margot James MP, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries regarding the over-75 TV licence concession.

Northern Health Science Alliance: Tackling Health Inequalities
21 February 2019
The Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA) is a partnership of eight leading universities, eight leading NHS Hospital Trusts and the four Academic Health Science Networks of the North of England, established to improve the health and wealth of the region by building on an internationally recognised life science and healthcare cluster.
Health for Wealth: Building a Healthier Northern Powerhouse for UK Productivity was commissioned by the NHSA to look at the relationship between the North’s poorer health and its poorer productivity. You can read a copy of the report here. The report makes a number of recommendations to central government and Northern Powerhouse local and regional stakeholders. Most notably, the NHSA are asking the government to commit invest proportionally more in health, and research funding, in the North of England.

Ambulance Staff Pensions
20 February 2019
Please click here to read a response from Stephen Hammond, Minister of State for Health, regarding the retirement age for ambulance staff.

The Environment Bill
15 February 2019
Please click here to a read a response from Therese Coffey, Under Secretary of State for the Environment, regarding the Environment Bill.

NSPCC 'Close the Loophole' Campaign
14 February 2019
Please click here to read a response from David Gauke, Secretary of State for Justice, regarding the NSPCC's 'Close the Loophole' campaign, which calls for the definition of 'position of trust' under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 to be extended to cover a range of jobs or voluntary posts, where people aged 18 or over may come into contact with 16 and 17 year olds.

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards System
13 February 2019
Please click here to read a response received from Caroline Dinenage, Minister of State for Care, regarding the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards System.

Neonatal Care and Parental Leave
12 February 2019
Please click here to read a response received from Kelly Tolhurst, Minister at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, regarding support for parents of babies receiving neonatal care.

World Cancer Day
8 February 2019
I recently attended an event, hosted by Cancer Research UK, to promote World Cancer Day.
Every year, 920 people are diagnosed with cancer in Knowsley, and 1 in 2 people in the UK will be diagnosed with the disease at some point in their lifetime. World Cancer Day is an opportunity for people, organisations and countries to work together, raise awareness and take action to beat cancer.
For more information, please click here.

Mental Health and Housing
7 February 2019
I recently attended a parliamentary event bringing together people living with mental health problems, parliamentarians and representatives from Mind, to discuss mental health and housing.
Organised by mental health charity Mind, the event saw the launch of a short film called ‘Beyond Bricks’, in which three people with mental health problems describe the serious impact poor housing can have on our mental health. Around one in four people will experience a mental health problem in any given year, and research by Mind found more than two in five people with mental health problems, living in social housing, have seen their mental health deteriorate as a result of where they live.
To view ‘Beyond Bricks’ please click here. For more information about Mind, please click here.

Build Sound Minds
5 February 2019
I recently joined young people and mental health experts from leading charity, Action for Children, to support the parliamentary launch of Build Sound Minds – a campaign to help children and teenagers build good mental and emotional wellbeing.
A third of 15 to 18-year-olds assessed by Action for Children were found to be suffering from mental health issues. Pupils in need of support have been taking part in the Blues Programme, the first ever UK-wide early help intervention for teenage depression. The campaign aims to improve children and teenagers’ mental health by providing families with accessible information, tools and tips.
For more information click here.

NHS Waiting Lists
1 February 2019
A number of constituents have contacted me about NHS waiting lists. I raised my constituents' concerns with the Department for Health & Social Care. Please click here to read the response from Stephen Hammond, Minister of State for Health.

Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill 2017-19
29 January 2019
A number of constituents have contacted me about the Immigration Bill. You will know by now that I voted against the Immigration Bill at Second Reading. Although we were defeated, there will be opportunities to make amendments at Committee Stage. If the Government does not make suitable changes, I’ll vote against it again at Third Reading.

Royal College of Nursing - 'Fund Our Future'
25 January 2019
Please click here to view a response from Stephen Hammond, Minister of State for Health, regarding the Royal College of Nursing's 'Fund Our Future' campaign.

Electrical Safety in Social Housing
24 January 2019
I recently attended an event in parliament, hosted by the Electrical Safety Roundtable (ESR), for the launch of pioneering guidance to improve electrical safety in social housing.
The ESR brought together over 25 social housing providers to develop a new Code of Practice for improving electrical safety in social housing, in response to complaints that there was no formal guidance available. The ESR has released a leaflet to alert tenants to the dangers of electricity and the importance of regular electrical inspections, together with a short summary document outlining the key recommendations of the Code of Practice.
These documents can be downloaded for free by clicking here.

Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill
24 January 2019
A number of constituents have been in touch with me about this Bill which is currently going through the House of Commons. I have raised my constituents' concerns about the weakening of rights with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, and will post a copy of any substantive response that I receive on my website.

Big Energy Saving Week: 21st -27th January 2019
23 January 2019
This week, Citizens Advice has launched its annual campaign ‘Big Energy Saving Week’ to raise awareness of how to save money on energy costs.
Visit their website here to see what financial support you are entitled to.

Vote of no confidence in Her Majesty's Government
21 January 2019
On 16 January a vote of no confidence in Her Majesty's Government took place in the House of Commons. Despite voting for it, the motion was defeated by 325 to 306.

Brexit

16 January 2019
I voted against the EU Withdrawal Agreement in the House of Commons last night.
In 2016, I campaigned and voted for a ‘remain’ vote in the referendum. The assertion from some people that a no-deal Brexit is in the UK’s best interests, is not a position I share. There is now mounting and convincing evidence that such an outcome would cause enormous damage to jobs, businesses, security co-operation and chaos between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. My only reservation is in regard to the sequence of events. Now that Parliament is in a strong position to influence the outcome, it is important to work through all of the options before I think we can get to the point at which a further referendum will able to attract the support of enough MPs.
You can read more about my position in my speeches, during the Brexit debates in the House of Commons on 5 December 2018,10 January 2019 and 14 January 2019. You can also find out how other MP's voted last night by clicking here.

Universal Credit Changes
16 January 2019
Please click here to view a response from Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, regarding changes to Universal Credit.

NHS long-term plan and waiting lists
11 January 2019
A number of constituents have contacted me about the Government's long-term plan for the NHS. I have raised my consituents' concerns with the Secretary of State for Health and will post a copy of any substantive response that I receive on my website.

Finance Bill
9 January 2019
I am a co-chair of the Finance Bill and, as such, I am unable to add my name to any amendments, speak or vote on any proceedings.

Universal Credit
7 January 2019
A number of constituents have been in touch with me about the roll-out of Universal Credit. On 17 December, I raised my constituents’ concerns with the Secretary of State for the Department for Work & Pensions and will post a copy of any substantive response that I receive on my website.


Archive:

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