It is in times of trouble that the best of our communities shines through brightest.
The horrific vandalism of the Outwood Memorial Hall over the festive period was saddening and shocking, and when I visited shortly afterwards to see the damage it hit home that this mindless violence was not only an appalling way to treat a war memorial dedicated to those that died for our freedom and security, but also how much this was an attack on our community.
Since that time I have been so proud of the way our local area has come together. From organising posters around Outwood with details of the missing items to securing the Hall, and keeping everybody informed via the Outwood Network and other local Facebook groups, residents have shown that together we are stronger than any acts of crime against our area. I will soon be meeting with Chief Superintendent Hepworth from West Yorkshire Police to continue to stress the importance of this case. As many of you may already know, following a meeting with the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, police funding has been increased further by almost 1bn. I will keep up the pressure on the Police and Crime Commissioner to ensure we see results to help fight crime and anti-social behaviour.
This disgraceful vandalism has hit hard our local associations, and it is even more heinous the fact that it has targeted a war memorial. In times in which the pillars of our history are being derided and desecrated, it is fundamental to protect the memory of those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom and our democracy. For this reason, I recently signed a letter supporting the erection of a Holocaust memorial in Westminster. Antisemitism and all form of racism have no space in modern society and it is disgusting to see some condoning such behaviours in mainstream political parties.
Last week many Labour MPs have left their party, due to a leadership that protect bullies and emarginates people with other views. Luciana Berger, a member of Labour for over 20 years, has said in the House of Commons that: “the Labour Party is institutionally antisemitic in its processes, its attitudes and behaviour and we ignore this at our peril.” Terrible allegations from someone who has been a member for over 20 years.
A few other former Conservative MPs have left the party, because of their disagreement with the Government. By delivering on the Conservative manifesto commitment and implementing the decision of the British people to deliver Brexit, we are doing the right thing for our country. While I am saddened by the decision of these three MPs to leave the party, it is fundamental that we stand on our manifesto and leave the EU, not asking for a second referendum which would betray not only the Leave voters, but also the Conservative ones who believed in the 2017 manifesto.
Finally, animal welfare is something very close to my heart. This summer I raised hundreds of signatures for a petition to ban puppy farming. I was pleased to hear from the Secretary of State for the Environment, Michael Gove, that the Government will proceed with a ban on commercial third-party sales of puppies and kittens in England, so to finally forbid the brutal practice of puppy smuggling from third countries. Wonderful news for all pet lovers and another step forward for our country in animal welfare legislation.
If residents would like to contact me with any issues that they feel I can be of assistance with, please do not hesitate to contact me on: Andrea.Jenkyns.MP@Parliament.UK.