• welcoming our friends from Stuttgart

    Last weekend the borough of St Helens welcomed a large delegation from our twin city of Stuttgart and I was happy to join with them as we celebrated together the strong ties, forged at the end of the Second World War and still going strong 70 years later.

    In a series of events including a food and drink festival, arts exhibition and the opportunity for the Mayor and politicians from Stuttgart to rededicate us all to the longstanding friendship and to work together to strengthen those bonds.

    I had the opportunity only recently to speak at the Council of Europe about the importance of our twinning, and it was a pleasure to welcome Deputy Mayor Dr Martin Schairer and the delegation here to my constituency. To underline the depth of our relationship the group contained representatives of schools, arts, businesses and the players of TSV Uhlbach who played a match against St Helens Town FC.

    The visit was a great success, with even the football ending in an honourable 4 all draw with no penalty shootout! I had the opportunity to talk with Dr Schairer about our ongoing relationship and the benefits both St Helens and Stuttgart have had from our relationship and how we can strengthen them moving forward

  • st helens sports festival

    I had a great time at Ruskin Drive for the annual St Helens sports festival which attracted 5,000 pupils over the 2 days in the sun.

    The sporting event was established in 2011 to mark the count down to the London Olympics only stopping in 2016 to welcome a £3.6 million redevelopment. Two years on, the event offered a chance to reflect on how sport contributes to the borough’s culture and how important it is to celebrate healthy lifestyles.

    There was a range of sport to enjoy ranging from football to tennis. Also, they hosted the Lancashire Inter League Group cricket match between Liverpool Competition U14s and Greater Manchester Cricket League U14s on the Sunday.

    It is important that we continue to fund sporting activities and I would like to thank the Council’s sports development team, the clubs based at Ruskin Drive and across the borough who use their time to promote sport in the local area.

     

  • The Garswood & Seneley Green Carnival

    The Garswood & Seneley Green Carnival this year was yet again a great success.

    I would like to thank Councillor Sue Murphy for organising the carnival and all the volunteers who were involved in making the event so enjoyable.

    Furthermore, I’d also like to thank Garswood Primary School for hosting the event.

    The carnival offered a variety of stalls and events which were enjoyed by all – and the sunshine along with the crowning of the annual Rose Queen made it a great day.

    The annual event brings the local community together – well done to all involved.

  • 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.

  • St Helens armed forces day

    I was delighted to join the Mayor of St Helens to mark Armed Forces Day with regular, reserve & cadet forces, veterans, charities, community organisations and St Helens Council in Victoria Park.

    Attractions on the day included live music from the Victoria Park bandstand from the Lancashire Artillery Pipes and Drum and the Lancashire Artillery Volunteers Band.

    Visitors were also able to meet serving Armed Forces personnel as well as veterans and view the vintage military vehicles on display.

    It is a testament to the hard work of the Council’s Armed Forces Champion, Councillor Lynn Clarke, that so many turned out to mark the day and thank to all those involved in our Armed Forces community

  • Cancer Research UK

    I’m backing Cancer Research UK in their call for the Government to train and employ more NHS staff to diagnose and treat cancer.

    With an increased and ageing population, projections show that half of all people in the UK are expected to be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetimes.

    Across St Helens, NHS staff work with dedication and enormous professionalism to treat patients, but the Government is not providing enough support.

    Currently, 1 in 10 diagnostic staff posts are unfilled and by 2035, there will be an additional 150,000 cancer patients diagnosed each year.

    It is therefore crucial that our NHS is properly equipped to deal with this, and early diagnosis and proper treatment is vital to increasing survival rates.

    Recruiting and training more diagnostic and treatments staff is paramount, and the Government should commit to this.

  • Heathrow expansion will benefit St Helens North

    Businesses in St Helens, companies across the North West and national trade unions have all told me a third runway at Heathrow will be good for workers, good for jobs and good for economic growth in our region and across the UK.

    I’ve been clear that Heathrow expansion must be matched by a renewed commitment to fund transport infrastructure that builds road and rail connectivity across the North.

    In a free vote in the House of Commons tonight, I’ll join dozens of other Northern Labour MPs to support the decision – which was initially made by the last Labour Government – to build a new runway at Heathrow as an important investment in our national and regional economies.

    In St Helens & Newton-le-Willows we are lucky to be served by two airports – Liverpool John Lennon and the nation’s second international hub airport at Manchester – both of which stand to gain from additional capacity at Heathrow.

    Heathrow is currently operating at 98 per cent capacity, denying regional airports like Liverpool a direct link, which is damaging inward investment across the Liverpool City Region.

    The new runway at Heathrow provides an opportunity to create new routes, boosting jobs and growth across Merseyside, with up to 180,000 new jobs expected across the country – and thousands set to be added in the North West.

    Manchester Airport is also making a significant investment in expanding its facilities and that should be matched by strategic Government support to ensure that the capacity offered by its two runways is fully utilised, including for new international routes.

    The decision to build a third runway at Heathrow and expand our national aviation capacity is an important decision for the country, but it is also vitally important for businesses and workers in St Helens and the North West. It is now time to get on with the project and realise the economic benefits for our region and the whole of the UK.

  • House magazine as ‘campaigner of the week’

    I was delighted to be recognised by The House magazine as ‘campaigner of the week’, as part of the campaign to introduce Helen’s Law.

    We are making progress, with Justice Minister Rory Stewart committing the Government to considering two policy options brought through the Ministry of Justice.

    Of course, the real credit goes to Marie McCourt, who has fought tirelessly for justice in the 30 years since Helen was murdered, and the families of many other victims.

    We are absolutely clear that convicted murderers who do not reveal the whereabouts of their victims’ remains should remain in prison where they belong, and we will keep up the fight for Helen’s Law.

  • Racing to schools

    It was great to be at Haydock Park for one of charity Racing to School’s education days for pupils and teachers from Elms Bank Specialist Arts College.

    The education days provide a comprehensive behind the scenes look at how a racecourse works, combining the fun and excitement of the races with real educational outcomes from maths and science to history and geography.

    We were expertly guided around Haydock by Carrie Ford and Jo McCain who work as Education Officers at Racing to School.

    The tour provided a great opportunity for pupils to learn more about horseracing and gain an insight into a huge national industry.

    Horseracing is the second most popular spectator sport in the country and Haydock Park showcases the very best practice in the sport, having recently been rated by Visit England as one of the top twelve racecourses in the country for visitor experience.

  • Care workers for change campaign

    I am very happy to pledge my support to the Care Workers for Change Campaign for Dignity in Social Care.

    Care workers play a huge role in St Helens and it’s important that during carers Week 2018 we highlight their enormous contribution, not just to those they care for, but to our whole society.

    But poor working conditions, job insecurity, and poverty pay has become the daily reality for those who nurse, clean, and feed our loved ones – thanks to this Tory Government’s austerity policies.

    This cannot go on and it is vital the Government steps up to ensure fair funding for social care.

    Care workers provide an essential service supporting the frail and the vulnerable within our communities. They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, whilst having the right to a real living wage.

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