Over the past few months I’ve been working on a range of topics that I’d like you to know about and contribute to. I’m really interested in your thoughts so please get in touch if you have ideas on how to take these campaigns forward.
Jo Cox Loneliness Commission
I was honoured to be asked by Jo’s family to carry on her groundbreaking work on loneliness, and have just begun chairing a cross-party campaign that will launch later this year. You can read more about this in the Yorkshire Post here. I am going to arrange an event locally to bring together different groups who will have things to contribute to the work of the Commission, if you are part of a group that might like to get involved please let me know.
I have also been continuing the work of former MP for Leeds West, John Battle, into the dangers of asbestos. As many of you will know, the JW Roberts factory poisoned many people in Armley with deadly asbestos fibres that can and did cause cancer. And still today thousands of schools across the country contain asbestos and the government has failed to properly tackle this long standing public health issue. I am chairing the Asbestos in Schools group in Parliament and will push the government to make all schools save. You can read my thoughts on the issue here.
It was my passionate belief in comprehensive education and ensuring all children get the best start of life that originally motivated me to get involved in the Labour Party more than twenty years ago. With Theresa May looking to allow new grammar schools I outlined why this risks damaging social mobility and highlighted the work of Leeds’ first woman MP Alice Bacon in fighting for the comprehensive school system in the Yorkshire Evening Post here. I am also writing a biography of Alice which will be published in the autumn.
Finally, in my role on the Treasury Select Committee I have been pushing government to deal with excessive charges applied by banks to customers with overdrafts – in some case higher charges than for pay day loans. Here are my thoughts on the issue.
I will continue to campaign on these, and other, issues over the coming months. If you have any questions or campaigning ideas on these issues, I would love to hear from you.