• St Helens day

    St Helens Day took place this year to mark our borough’s 150th anniversary.

    In 1868 Queen Victoria granted the charter that incorporated the municipal borough of St Helens, integrating Eccleston, Parr, Sutton and Windle. 150 years on, St Helens Day offered time to reflect upon some of those that make our borough special. Pioneers in Glass production and pharmaceuticals are just two examples alongside musicians, sportsmen and women and many more.

    The civic parade, led by the Mayor, celebrated the people of the borough. The St Helens 150 programme has seen local arts and cultural partners working alongside the council to create an exciting year of events right across the borough.

    As well as reflecting upon the town’s proud history we also look forward to a bright future for the borough.

     

  • the contaminated blood scandal enquiry

    The victims of the contaminated blood scandal have been waiting years for justice. So, I’m glad the Government has responded to our calls for action and is getting the long-awaited inquiry moving.

    It has accepted the terms of reference recommended by inquiry chair Sir Brian Langstaff which means he can now start his investigations.

    This is good news for my constituent Sandra Molyneux who lost her husband Alan in 1985 after he contracted a virus from a blood transfusion at the Royal Liverpool Hospital. Alan was a haemophiliac and needed regular treatment for his condition, but was one of thousands infected with contaminated blood. Sandra was left widowed at the age of 32 with two children as a result of his death from the infected blood which was imported from the USA in the 1970s and 1980s.

    I raising her case since I became the MP for St Helens North and it’s high time the Government offered more than words to Sandra and all those who have endured similar pain.

    As well as fighting for Sandra as her local MP, I have campaigned for action in my role as a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood.

    The first stage of the inquiry’s work will be to gather evidence from the Government, the NHS and many other organisations as well as, most importantly, those who have been directly affected by the scandal.

    That work needs to be as comprehensive as possible, but it also needs to be completed as quickly as possible for the sake of all those who have waited so long.

    The impact of contaminated blood has had a profound impact on so many people’s lives. I hope we can finally get justice for Sandra and the other victims who have suffered so much.

  • speaking in the council of Europe

    2018 is a very important year for St Helens, marking 150 years since our borough was created.

    But it is also 70 years since St Helens’ twinning with Stuttgart in Germany, a historic partnership that I raised at the Parliamentary Assembly to the Council of Europe.

    St Helens is an innovative borough that powered the industrial revolution with coal, glass chemicals and rail.

    Our twinning with Stuttgart came about after the horrors of the Second World War. In 1948, the Mayor of St Helens, Alderman Walter Marshall was the first British civic leader to visit the city after hearing a presentation from a Stuttgart resident about the challenges there.

    Mayor Marshall, in a very radical, visionary and generous act, held out the hand of friendship – and the people of St Helens and Stuttgart have been linked ever since.

  • it is time to legalise same sex marriage across the country

    I’m proud that the cross-party group of MPs backing our Bill to legalise same sex marriage has called on the Prime Minister to take the Bill into protected government time, after it was blocked at Second Reading in the House of Commons.

    The recent intervention by the Prime Minister to do just this with the Private Members’ Bill to make ‘upskirting’ a specific criminal offence – after it was also blocked – shows that the Government can intervene to make important changes when needed.

    It is outrageous that, in 2018, same sex couples in Northern Ireland who love each other are prohibited by law from marrying, but those in England, Wales, Scotland and the rest of Ireland are permitted to do so.

    I am very clear that a change in the law should be introduced by a fully functioning devolved administration, but the lack of a functioning government in Northern Ireland should not delay the delivery of fundamental rights.

    Now is the time for the Government to help this vital cause by bringing the Bill to legalise same sex marriage in Northern Ireland into its own time in the House of Commons.

  • Labours new policy on free bus travel for under 25s

    Labour has announced a new policy to fund free bus travel for under 25s across the country – which would save money for thousands of young people in St Helens.

    Across our borough around one in four children grow up in poverty, with years of Tory austerity hitting family finances and stretching budgets.

    Introducing free bus travel for young people will support them to travel to work, to school or college and to visit friends.

    Across the Liverpool City Region, Labour is leading the way with the introduction of the Merseytravel My Ticket – the young persons discounted ticket which gives unlimited travel across the whole region for a full day and is available to all young people up to their 19th Birthday.

    This is particularly important given that young adults tend to have less disposable income and more insecure work than older people.

    Across the country, introducing free bus travel for under 25s will save up to 13 million young people up to £1,000 per year and will be paid for using money ring-fenced from Vehicle Excise Duty.

    Labour’s research has shown how the average number of bus trips made by under 25s since 2010 has declined – up to 40 per cent for those aged 21 – 25. Free bus travel will help boost these falling numbers and give young people greater mobility.

  • Universal Credit Roll Out

    This week sees the rollout of the Universal Credit Full Service to St Helens.

    The botched rollout has continued despite widespread problems, including the failure of the online system to accept certain kinds of evidence and long waits for an initial payment with delays in processing claims.

    In some other parts of the country, these delays have added to an already lengthy wait for initial payment that is built into the Universal Credit system.

    The Citizens’ Advice Bureau has already highlighted that these delays have placed people at risk of eviction as rent arrears have built up due to the delays.

    Figures from the Trussell trust also show food bank referrals have increased at more than double the national average in areas in which the Universal Credit Full Service has been rolled out.

    The Government must urgently get to grips with these problems and fix Universal Credit so that people in St Helens are not put at risk.

     

  • Eric Bristow

    As Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Darts, I was very sad to hear of the death of legendary player Eric Bristow.

    Eric was World Champion five times in the 1980s, dominating the sport and helping so much to popularise darts and take the players of the game from pubs and clubs onto our TV screens and into people’s homes and popular culture.

    I was delighted to host him along in Parliament just last year for our Westminster Darts Tournament.

    Here in St Helens, we are home to some great darts players as well as businesses like A180 Darts and the St Helens Darts Academy.

    Eric played a huge part in making darts what it is today and he will be sadly missed by everyone associated with the sport.

     

  • Rainford Rangers links to Brookvale Young Boys FC

    For almost 25 years, Rainford man Terry Duffy has had a link with a boys football club in the village where I grew up in Northern Ireland.

    Brookvale Young Boys FC have visited Merseyside several times and I was absolutely delighted to hear that Rainford Rangers are making the return visit to county Armagh this weekend.

    I popped up to a training session in Rainford last Sunday to wish the boys well as they embark on their “lads and dads” trip across the water. The club are great ambassadors for the village and the whole of St Helens. As well as visiting Bessbrook, they will be playing teams from Omagh in county Tyrone and Ballybofey in county Donegal.

    Sport has an incredible capacity to bring people together and forge lasting friendships. I am really proud of this strong connection between our community in Rainford in my constituency and the community in Bessbrook where I grew up. Long may it continue!

  • 200 new jobs for St Helens

    It is hugely welcome news and a real boost to our borough that Movianto will be bringing 200 jobs to St Helens.

    The new jobs mean more opportunities and demonstrate that St Helens is very much a place that companies want to locate and do business in.

    It also goes to show just what can be achieved when our council, our local educational institutions and the business community work together with a ‘Team St Helens’ approach.

    St Helens is open for business, and these new jobs are a shot in the arm for the local economy – particularly following the closure of Palmer and Harvey before Christmas.

  • Tory Government plans to slash budgets for fire services

    Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service does a vital job protecting our communities in St Helens and across the region.

    But new figures uncovered by the Fire Brigades Union show that this Tory Government is planning to slash budgets for fire services – with a 12 per cent cut expected for Merseyside in the four years up to 2020.

    These dangerous cuts, which will leave our firefighters with fewer resources, come on top of more than 11,000 firefighter job cuts since 2010.

    The terrible tragedy of Grenfell Tower last year underlined the importance of a fully funded fire and rescue service, but the new cuts will run down capabilities and damage morale.

    I’m backing the Fire Brigades Union in calling on the Government to urgently reverse these cuts and protect Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.

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