• Conor’s article in The Catholic Universe on the EU Referendum

    Conor’s recent article for The Catholic Universe on the EU referendum and why Britain and Ireland are StrongerIn can be found below.

    Catholic Universe

     

  • Conor’s comments on saving community pharmacy in the Sunday Express

  • Conor backs the TUC’s ‘Dying to Work’ campaign to protect terminally ill workers

    TUC

    Conor has given his support to the TUC’s ‘Dying to Work’ campaign which is seeking to change the law to provide additional employment protection for terminally ill workers.

    Dying to Work was set up following the case of Jacci Woodcook, a 58-year-old sales manager from Derbyshire, who was forced out of her job after being diagnosed with terminal breast cancer.

    Conor McGinn, MP for St Helens North, said: “People battling a terminal illness deserve choice and shouldn’t be forced to undergo stressful HR procedures with the risk of losing the positive stimulation and distraction of work. Furthermore, it is shocking to think that if people with terminal illnesses are dismissed or forced out of their jobs that their loved ones will lose the death in service payments that the employee has planned for and earned through a life-time of hard work.”

    In addition to support from across the political spectrum, the campaign has also been endorsed by a number of trade unions and charities, including Breast Cancer Care and Second Hope.

    Furthermore, the company, E.On have today (Monday 18th April) become the first company to sign the Dying to Work voluntary charter to provide support to their employees and the campaign in a ceremony in College Green.

    Conor continued: “I am proud to back the TUC’s Dying to Work campaign and why I will be encouraging businesses in my constituency to sign up to the TUC’s voluntary charter to help ensure that the current law is changed.

    TUC Deputy General Secretary Paul Nowak said: “Worrying about your job should be the least of your concerns when you receive a terminal diagnosis.

    “It’s fantastic that Conor has joined MPs from all parties to show his support and get involved in this campaign to make terminal illness a protected characteristic.”

    “Hopefully now more employers will now follow E.ON’s lead by signing the Dying to Work Charter and we will see further action in Parliament to deliver this vital employment protection for terminally ill workers.”

     

  • Conor leads Parliamentary debate on dementia with Lewy bodies

    Conor McGinn MP today led a Westminster Hall debate on securing recognition and increased awareness of dementia with Lewy bodies, and support for those suffering from it and their families

    Above is a clipping of his speech and below is article he wrote on the issue which originally appeared on the Politics Home website.

    Conor: Dementia with Lewy Body – “lesser – known but equally cruel” – Politics Home – 26th April 2016

    EVERYONE is aware of dementia and its devastating impact on sufferers and their families. However, too few people are aware of a lesser-known but equally cruel disease.

    It’s called Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and shares symptoms with both Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

    The condition, also known as Lewy body dementia, affects more than 100,000 people in Britain, including at least five per cent of those aged 85 and older.

    But the diagnosis and data is not as good as it should be, so the true number of victims could be far higher.

    DLB shares mental symptoms like confusion and loss of memory with Alzheimer’s. It shares motor issues like slow movement with Parkinson’s.

    That means it can be misdiagnosed, raising the risk that sufferers are prescribed the wrong drugs – something that can prove fatal in the worst cases.

    That’s why I ‘m working as an ambassador for the Lewy Body Society – the only charity in Europe dedicated exclusively to raising awareness of this debilitating disease and finding ways to fight it and supporting sufferers and their families.

    I’m raising the issue in Parliament today (TUESDAY) of the disease – caused by abnormal amounts of a certain type of protein in the brain – as part of that work.

    With the number of people suffering from all forms of dementia set to rise to more than a million by 2021, we need earlier and better diagnosis.

    This will mean people will be able to get swifter treatment and have the best quality of life possible for as long as possible.

    In 2012, David Cameron said he wanted to make England “the best country in the world for dementia care and support” by 2020.

    Some progress has been made. A new Dementia Research Institute will be up and running by 2020 with the backing of £150 million in funding.

    But we need to be doing far more. Dementia Lewy bodies is the second most common form of dementia, but it is not mentioned in the Government’s 2020 Dementia Challenge strategy. That needs to change.

    We need a commitment for proper funding to help DLB sufferers and provide detailed research into the disease. At present, the Lewy Body Society does not get a penny in support from Whitehall.

    The Department of Health should set up training programmes to help GPs and other healthcare professionals identify DLB correctly, to raise awareness of the condition and how it differs from other forms of dementia.

    We must raise the awareness of this brutal disease and increase the funding and research to tackle it.   That’s the best way we can ease the pain of sufferers and their families.

    The original article can be found here.

    A transcript of Conor’s speech in full can be found here.

  • Conor: Let England Celebrate Its National Day Too

    Huff post

    As a son of the Emerald Isle, I know about having good craic.

    But when it comes to enjoying a day off, why should the Irish and our Scottish friends have more fun than everyone else?

    Anyone fortunate enough to live in Northern Ireland gets ten Bank Holidays a year, including days off for St Patrick’s Day and The Twelfth of July.

    In Scotland, workers get nine Bank Holidays, ever since they were granted an extra day a year in 2008 to mark St Andrew’s Day.

    But it is a different story in England which has just eight Bank Holidays – compared to an EU average of 11 public holidays. In fact, as far as I know, only the Mexicans get fewer public days off.

    St George’s Day this Saturday will again go unmarked by a public holiday. It’s the same in Wales where the eight Bank Holidays do not include St David’s Day.

    I believe it is time that changed and we honoured the patron saints of England and Wales in same ways as we honour those of Scotland and Ireland.

    That’s why I’m calling today on the Government to look at the possibility of creating an extra Bank Holiday in both England and Wales.

    It would give both nations a chance to celebrate their proud heritage in the same way as the Irish and the Scottish.

    And, it would provide a boost for tourism and give millions of workers a well-earned day off to enjoy as they wish with family and friends.

    I recognise there could be some concerns from businesses that might talk about the risk of lost productivity. But happy workers are productive workers.

    Bringing England and Wales more into line with Scotland and Northern Ireland is not only the fair thing to do, it’s also the right thing to do.

    St Patrick’s Day has been an official public holiday in Ireland since 1903. The Irish diaspora here in Britain, in America and across the globe have raised a glass and joined annual celebrations, wherever they may be.

    It brings together strangers in foreign lands who share a common heritage and it helps promote the culture and values of Ireland across the world.

    These are benefits that England and Wales should also be enjoying.

    It’s time the Government acted to end the unfairness that has seen workers in England short-changed for too long when it comes to Bank Holidays. So, this St George’s Day, I echo the famous words used in the House of Commons many years ago, and say to the Prime Minister: speak for England, David, and give the English their national day off too!

    This blog originally appeared on the Huffington Post website on 20th April 2016

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/conor-mcginn/let-england-celebrate-its_b_9739906.html

  • Commons first as Conor wishes the Queen a Happy Birthday as Gaeilge

    In what is thought to be a first in the House of Commons, Conor McGinn MP for St Helens North and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Irish in Britain, wished the Queen a Happy Birthday in Irish during a debate to mark the occasion.

    Conor noted the important role the Queen had played in British-Irish relations and commented upon her visit to Ireland before wishing her many happy returns.

    Early in the day Conor phoned his constituent Norah Collins, originally from County Galway, to congratulate her on reaching the same milestone as Her Majesty. Norah attended the Queen’s 80th Birthday lunch in 2006.

    Speaking in Parliament, Conor said:

    “I rise to wish Her Majesty the Queen many happy returns on behalf of my constituents in St Helens North, one of whom, Norah Collins, also celebrates her 90th birthday today.

    “She is originally from County Galway and I thought it was somewhat appropriate that I spoke to her this morning, because of course the Queen has done so much to further good relations between Britain and Ireland.

    “As chair of the all-party parliamentary group on the Irish in Britain, I know that the community here felt special pride at her state visit to Ireland and the reciprocal visit here by the President of Ireland.

    “On behalf of the all-party group and the community here I say, “Breithlá sona duit a Banríon.” Happy birthday to the Queen.”

     

  • Academisation of schools

    I know that this is an issue of concern to many people, particularly parents and teachers and I note that two petitions opposing the Government’s proposals have each received over 140,000 signatures. I am also aware that several organisations have expressed their opposition to the plans. The Local Government Association and Councillors from across the political spectrum, for example, have voiced concerns about local needs and accountability, while the National Union of Teachers, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers and the National Association of Head Teachers have argued that the Government’s proposals will distract schools from their core functions of teaching and learning.

    I share many of these concerns. While there are some great academies, there are also some excellent community schools. Indeed, the vast majority of non-academy schools affected by these plans will be primary schools, over 80 per cent of which are already rated as good or outstanding. Of course, there are also extremely poor examples of both academy schools and local authority maintained schools. I am concerned that the evidence suggesting that academy status leads to improved standards is mixed. A report by the House of Commons’ Education Select Committee during the last Parliament (in January 2015), for example, found that current evidence does not prove that academies raise standards overall, or for disadvantaged children. Ofsted have also reported recently that the academies programme is not bringing about rapid improvement and, in some cases, has led to decline.

    I believe the focus should be on improving standards across all types of schools and I am very concerned that the Government’s plans will divert resources, time and effort away from this task. Our schools are currently facing a number of difficulties, including reduced budgets, a shortage of teachers and not enough good school places. The Government’s plans will not solve these serious problems and constitute a costly and unnecessary reorganisation of the school system.

    I can assure you that I will oppose the Government’s plans and will do all I can to ensure that parents, children and communities are at the heart of decisions on our schools.

     

  • Tax Havens

    Tax havens are estimated to cost poor countries at least $170 billion in lost tax revenues every year. They damage our own economy and economies across the world, and need to be addressed.

    I believe there needs to be reform based on the principle of complete openness and transparency. Multinational companies should make public how much they pay in tax on a country by country basis, so that a proper rate of tax can be applied. Many multinational companies make a significant contribution to research and development and through the employment they provide, but we expect all companies to meet fair tax responsibilities.

    I am concerned about the rate of progress on the transparency of companies based in the UK’s crown dependencies and overseas territories, and there is much room for improvement. I support calls for the crown dependencies and overseas territories to attend the anti-corruption summit in May.

    However, after the Prime Minister’s initial failure to provide clarity regarding his link with Blairmore Holdings and the news he had benefitted from his father’s offshore investments, this demonstrates the Tories failure to keep their commitments on tax havens.  The recent revelations in the ‘Panama Papers’ have shown that the Government’s approach to closing tax havens in British Overseas Territories and Crown dependencies has not delivered the returns the Government promised. We need a full independent enquiry into the revelations that have come from the Panama papers including the use of offshore tax havens by members of the Government.

    The UK should be at the heart of efforts to achieve international progress on tax transparency and accountability and I will follow this issue closely as the anti-corruption summit approaches.

  • EU Referendum

    I am committed to keeping the UK in the European Union as I believe it is the best framework for European trade and co-operation in the 21st century. That is why I have agreed to be the StrongerIn North West Political Champion.

    The agreement of a deal on the UK’s renegotiation of our membership on 19th February brings worthwhile changes. While I would have liked to have seen the deal include more to address the real challenges of low pay in Britain and the undercutting of local wage rates, the case for our membership of the EU is much bigger than this new agreement.

    The EU has brought investment, jobs and protection for workers, consumers and the environment. Independent research has shown that EU membership is worth £ 13.5 billion every year to the North West in increased trade and Centre for Economic and Business Research figures show that 477,005 jobs are linked to the EU. Under the EU Youth Employment Initiative in the North West, Merseyside also receives £22.2m of funding to help get young people back to work.

    The strength that we derive from being part of the biggest consumer market in the world means that the average family saves around £450 a year due to lower prices. The UK is also stronger negotiating deals with countries like China and the United States as part of a group of 28 EU nations than we would be on our own.

    I agree that reform is needed, the European Union isn’t perfect. No partnership is. But the benefits outweigh the costs and this deal makes Britain even stronger in Europe than we would be out of it.

    If we were to leave the EU, the UK would still have to follow its rules when doing business there but would no longer have a say in making the rules. Issues facing us as a country in the 21st century are often global in nature, such as tackling climate change, cyber-crime and terrorism, and the EU will be a vital part of how we meet these challenges.

    I am convinced that remaining in the EU is in the best interests of the country and our people, not only for what the EU delivers today, but as a framework through which we can achieve much more in the future.

  • Conor says football really is coming home with St Helens AFC moving back in to the borough

    St Helens FC

    Conor McGinn has welcomed the news that St Helens Town AFC are to return home to play football in the borough after a period away.

    The club has announced that following the extensive refurbishment of Ruskin Drive Sportsgrounds in Windle it will be playing its home games there in the future.

    Conor said:

    “This is great news for the club and for sport in St Helens.

    “I pay tribute to John McKiernan and everyone associated with the club for their hard work and dedication over many years.

    “The new facilities at Ruskin Drive will serve our sporting clubs and community well and I look forward to seeing St Helens Town AFC back where they belong, in St Helens. Football really is coming home.”

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