Summer’s finally here – and we’ve been enjoying some sunshine in Dewsbury! It was a busy last few weeks in Parliament, and amidst the turbulence and unrest following the EU Referendum result, with leadership changes and challenges; my role has been more important than ever in pressing the Government on issues that matter to local people.
Responding to local concerns, I called on the Prime Minister to convene an urgent meeting of a cross-party commission to look into the rise in race hate crimes. In a statement I wrote, signed by West Yorkshire MPs from all parties, we appealed for unity. It is vital that we come together to condemn all incidents of racism and xenophobia in our communities and I will keep up the pressure on the Government to improve the way that hate crime is tackled.
Now is not the time either, to let the Government off the hook on challenges faced by our local NHS services. Speaking in the final adjournment debate before summer recess, tabled last week by Labour’s Yvette Cooper MP, I raised the concerns of patients I met on a recent visit to Dewsbury Hospital. Sadly, the same problems prevail – namely, a serious shortage of staff. Again, pressing the message I raised only a few months ago, I urged the Minister Philip Dunne to ensure tangible progress is made for the sake of patient safety.
Looking forward, it is essential that changes to hospital trust services are not taken in isolation. I formally objected to the proposals to downgrade Huddersfield Royal Infirmary largely because of the impact they will have on Kirklees as a whole. I look forward to an upcoming meeting with the regulators—NHS Improvement, the CQC and the NHS providers and commissioners, where I will continue to press for the co-ordination of crucial support and strengthening of our local NHS services.
With the House of Commons now in recess I’m using this opportunity to get involved in even more events and activities across the constituency. I love meeting people and this is the time of year that I get to go to events that I wouldn’t normally be able to.
And there have been some truly fabulous local events lately. Amongst the many, more than I can list, it’s been a real privilege to join groups like Kumon Y’all, who do some excellent work promoting community integration. Their recent family fun day brought people to the Savile Town Playing Fields to enjoy a fun day together, regardless of their differences. Over at Kick Off Dewsbury, I caught up with the fantastic team there, who are also doing great things toward breaking down barriers and building community cohesion.
Meanwhile in Mirfield, the Arts Festival showcased some great local music, art and culture, whilst the Safe Anchor Trust’s pirate’s day gave me the chance to hear about their fantastic work providing free access to the waterways for special needs groups.
We really do have some excellent local groups and volunteers who make these things possible, and I’m very much looking forward to joining more terrific events over summer and working with these groups to ensure they’re able to keep up the good work. Hope to see you there!