Welcome to my weekly Westminster roundup.
Following a recent meeting with the Royal Air Force Association we discussed the issue of veteran mental health at some length, on Monday I took these concerns to the Minister for Defence People and Veterans, Tobias Ellwood MP.
In England, 1 in 6 people reports experiencing a common mental health problem in any given week. Within both military serving and veteran communities, there exists additional stigma which prevents individuals from seeking help. I asked: “What steps are his department making to reduce this stigma and to support military charities, such as the RAF Association, who are actively supporting these individuals?”
Our brave veterans put everything on the line to defend our freedoms and we need to do much more to support these heroes with mental health problems. I will continue to push this important issue locally and in Westminster.
Earlier this month at my Health Fair in Morley I met an incredible little girl called Lydia. Lydia is nine years old and has hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and suffers from joint pain, tummy pain and numerous other symptoms and can’t do the things that other children can do.
At Health and Social Care questions on Tuesday, I raised this issue with the Health Secretary and asked him what the government was doing to raise awareness of this condition? I am very pleased that the Health Secretary has agreed to meet with me and discuss EDS.
Later that day, I met with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), one of the UK’s leading sight loss charities and the largest community of blind and partially sighted people. I have met numerous people locally who have from sigh loss issues and my sister also suffers from being partially sighted. It was a pleasure to meet with RNIB and hear more about the issues facing blind and partially sighted people.
On Wednesday I took part in a Westminster Hall debate on accessibility at railway stations. Disabled and elderly people rely heavily on transport services and it is vital that they can access railway stations to ensure a good quality of life. As part of my campaign to ensure disabled access at Morley rail station, I will continue to campaign for this important issue.
Also on Wednesday, I was delighted to be re-elected as the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Education. Having worked in education I understand the importance schools and colleges have on the life chances of our young people. I am delighted to have been re-elected & I look forward to working on improving dialogue between the education sector & Parliament.
Finally, as you will be aware today is 29 March 2019. On this day two years ago, we were promised that we will leave the European Union and I am irritated beyond belief that we haven’t left on that day.
Many of you will know Brexit is an issue I care deeply about. At the referendum 60% of our area voted to leave, Yorkshire voted to leave, England voted to leave and the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU. I did not support the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement yesterday, because it is my strong opinion that this is a bad deal. It does not deliver on the promises made to the British people and it will leave us weaker and threatens the future of the United Kingdom.
I have been put under a lot of pressure by senior colleagues in parliament to back down and support this deal, but I cannot and will not break my promises to the people of Morley and Outwood.
Time and time again we were told that “no deal is better than a bad deal”, well this is a bad deal and I can’t in all conscience support a deal which costs £39bn when this should be spent at home in the UK.
This is an issue of trust, and for democracy to work, the British people need to have faith in their elected representatives that they are going to deliver. I stood and was elected on a manifesto promise and I will not break this promise. We need to end freedom of movement, we need to take back control of our money, our laws and our trading future - we need to regain our sovereignty!
I hope that you continue to place your trust in me and I as ever if I can be of any assistance please don’t hesitate to contact my office at email@example.com or call me on 0113 345 0380 or 01924 695 655.