• the re opening of our schools

    As the parent of a Year 1 child at a local primary school and a toddler at a local nursery, I want to be confident that my children and all children in St Helens borough, as well as those who teach and care for them, are returning to a safe environment. We all want our children’s education and enjoyment of normal school life to resume, but this cannot be done at the expense of their health and safety, nor that of teachers and other staff working in our schools.

    Many of our schools have been open throughout this crisis, and I thank all those headteachers, teachers and staff who have provided support for vulnerable children and ensured that key workers have been able to continue in their vital work.

    Unfortunately, the Government’s approach to this announcement, as it has been with their wider communication of how we move forward, has been muddled, and exacerbated anxiety and concerns. It has been made clear that the re-opening of schools is dependent on a number of factors: a lowering of coronavirus cases; a national plan for social distancing; tests available for staff and pupils; for each school to have planned for the safety of all and a plan to protect vulnerable teachers.

    I have been working with my Labour colleagues and frontbench Education team to urge the Government to work collaboratively with trade unions – who I have been in direct contact with – and parents’ organisations to identify and address issues within schools before the Government finally confirms a date for their reopening.

    I have visited a local school – St Cuthbert’s High School in Parr – to see for myself how schools might move towards opening up to more pupils when safe to do so; it is challenging, to say the least. Thank you to Mrs Twist and her excellent team for facilitating this. I have also written to all schools within the constituency asking them their views on the proposed increase in pupils attending.

    Additionally, I have worked closely with St Helens Council, and commend the Cabinet Member responsible for Education, Cllr Sue Murphy, for working closely with schools, engaging with local trade unions, and supporting headteachers in the decisions they come to. It is also important that in these early stages, parents who are concerned and choose not to send their children to school because of concerns they have are not penalised.

    We have many fantastic schools across St Helens borough. Our headteachers and governing bodies will act in the best interests of pupils, staff, parents and the wider community. They will have my full support and confidence in making these decisions in the difficult weeks and months ahead.

  • supporting Merseyside Police’s vital work

    Earlier this week, I spoke with Chief Constable Andy Cooke about Merseyside Police’s vital work during the current Covid-19 pandemic, and raised shared concerns over a minority of individuals who continue to recklessly ignore social distancing guidance.

    The police have my full backing to deal robustly with this issue, and I fully support the Chief Constable and his recent statement urging people in St Helens borough to adhere to the Government’s instructions.

    These are unparalleled times, and I extend my gratitude to the vast majority of local people who are sacrificing so much by staying at home and doing the right thing. Sadly though, some people are consistently and flagrantly ignoring the rules, jeopardising our collective efforts and putting both themselves and others at risk.

    I know it is really hard, but I would ask all local residents to please continue to stay at home, protect our NHS, and save lives as a result.

  • a thank you to our schools and those who work in them

    People across our communities are pulling together, in tough circumstances, to play their part in defeating this virus and keeping us all safe. Our incredible local schools are no exception, and I know from contacting our local head teachers and teaching unions in St Helens North that they are working day-in, day-out to support staff and pupils, and keep schools open for the children of frontline key workers.
    I want to thank and offer my full support to all staff in our local schools: from cleaners, caretakers, cooks, office staff, as well as midday supervisors, learning support staff and our wonderful teachers as they each continue to go above and beyond what is asked of them at this difficult time.

  • visiting chester zoo

    I visited Chester Zoo to discuss the zoo’s work with local schools in St Helens borough – including Allanson Street Primary School in Parr – and their wider conservation efforts.

    Chester Zoo is not only a first-class attraction bringing millions of visitors to the North West region every year, but it also supports a highly skilled staff of hundreds and its world-leading scientific research benefits over 70 field projects in 25 countries.

  • Liverpool City Region’s bus system

    It’s exciting to hear that Liverpool City Region’s bus system will undergo its most radical transformation in a generation, as it moves towards a more integrated London-style transport network.
    Too often, de-regulation over recent decades has let down local people, providing them with highly expensive, confusing and irregular bus services. By bringing back control over our bus routes, timetables and the fares we pay, our Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram shows once again that he is putting local passengers before profit.
    I’ll keep supporting him and working closely with regional leaders to deliver cheaper, better-connected and dependable buses for people living here in St Helens borough and across our entire city region.

  • Helen’s Law, at Second Reading

    Last week, MPs passed the Bill we have all come to know as Helen’s Law, at Second Reading.
    For decades, Marie McCourt has shown dignity, tenacity and sacrifice in persevering with this campaign, even after her own daughter’s killer was released just weeks ago.
    Because the Government has introduced the Bill itself, Helen’s Law will now make swift progress and become law. This rare step is testament to Marie McCourt’s character, the strength of her love for Helen, as well as her determination to do right by her memory.

  • Primodos

    I am supporting calls for the Prime Minister to ask for a public review of Primodos, the controversial hormone-based pregnancy drug.

    Of the 1.5 million women who took the drug in the 1960s and 1970s, many gave birth to babies with deformities, miscarried, or had stillbirths. Yet, early official warnings about Primodos were delayed, or ignored altogether by some doctors. Even today, previously commissioned medical reviews of the drug remain shrouded in secrecy.

    I have worked with some of those affected who live in St Helens. My constituent Elaine Pennington and others like Marie Lyon deserve answers, and I’ll do all I can alongside my colleagues in Parliament to support their campaign for more information and greater transparency from the Government.

    Follow the link to read the EDM’s text in full: https://edm.parliament.uk/early-day-motion/53505/primodos-hormone-pregnancy-drug-test

  • #HeartUnions week

    I’m fully supporting the TUC and affiliate unions this week as they celebrate #HeartUnions week.

    I’m a lifelong trade unionist and proud to champion the efforts of activists and members especially here in St Helens and the North West. I encourage all workers to join a union and I’ll keep working with the trade unions to shine a light on issues faced by working people locally and across the country.

  • St Helens Town Deal Board

    I recently attended the inaugural meeting of the St Helens Town Deal Board, a new body which brings together local representatives of the public and private sectors with the goal of helping our local authority deliver economic regeneration here in St Helens.
    I was encouraged to see all attendees demonstrate such passion and enthusiasm for our area, along with a real willingness to each play their part in driving St Helens towards a deliverable town investment plan.
    I was also surprised to be mentioned in the House of Commons by the Minister for the Northern Powerhouse! As I have always said, I will work with him and the Government to get this funding for the town and our community.

  • All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Liverpool City Region

    I’m delighted to have been re-elected as Secretary for the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Liverpool City Region (LCR).

    The group brings together over 20 MPs and members of the House of Lords to work with Mayor Steve Rotheram, local council leaders, as well as representatives from the private and voluntary sectors, all with the aim of maximising opportunities for jobs, growth and investment in St Helens borough and across our city region.

    Find out more about the APPG’s work here: https://appglcr.org.uk/

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