• Equal Marriage Bill for Northern Ireland

    Conor McGinn MP announced today that he plans to introduce an Equal Marriage Bill for Northern Ireland.

    The move comes in the wake of the collapse of political talks at Stormont designed to restore devolved institutions and following a the Northern Ireland Secretary of State confirming that Government MPs would have a free vote on the matter at Westminster.

    The MP for St Helens North is working closely with the Love Equality campaign for civil marriage equality on the Bill, which is expected to be introduced in the House of Commons on March 28th 2018.

    Conor McGinn MP said:

    “My preference is for a fully functioning Executive and Assembly to deal with this issue, but LGBT couples in Northern Ireland should not be made to wait a moment longer for their basic rights.

    “That is why I am introducing this Bill at the earliest available opportunity. It will test the mood of the House of Commons and I am very confident that we will win any vote. It is then for the Government to legislate.

    “If my constituents in St Helens can marry the person they love, just like people in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Dublin, then I don’t see why couples in Belfast should not be able to do the same.”

    Patrick Corrigan of the Love Equality campaign for civil marriage equality said:

    “The Love Equality campaign welcomes this move from Conor McGinn MP and is pleased to be working closely with him in the preparation of the Private Member’s Bill.

    “We will be working to build support for the Bill from MPs across the UK and are confident of a convincing majority in favour. We now look to Parliament to uphold the rights of people in Northern Ireland and to respond to overwhelming public support here.

    “However, the rights of LGBT people in Northern Ireland to be treated equally should not be left to the Private Member’s Bill process. We repeat our call on the UK Government to introduce legislation to bring Northern Ireland’s laws on marriage equality into line with the rest of the UK and Ireland.”

    The Love Equality campaign for equal civil marriage in Northern Ireland is led by the Rainbow Project, Amnesty International, Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Cara-Friend, NUS-USI and HereNI.

  • Children’s Funeral Fund

    Every year, around 10,000 parents have to endure the pain of losing a child and many struggle to meet the cost of paying for a funeral – and for some this is an impossible task.

    We must do everything we can to help parents, who already facing a terrible situation, avoid the further nightmare of being plunged into debt through funeral costs.

    That’s why Conor is supporting a campaign calling on the Government to set up a new fund to help bereaved parents with the cost of children’s funerals, supporting Labour colleague Carolyn Harris MP, who struggled to pay for her young son Martin’s funeral after he was killed in a car accident at the age of eight in 1989.

    It is high time the Government acted and followed the lead of the Welsh Labour Government and introduced a Children’s Funeral Fund

  • Conor meets local early education and child care providers in westminster

    Conor meet with Nicole Politis, director of Portico Day Nurseries, which operates in Moss Bank and across St Helens, in Parliament to discuss what more the Government can do to support families who need childcare.

    Conor is Vice Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Child Care and Early Education, it is vital that children get the best possible care that doesn’t break the family bank.

    But this Tory Government is not doing enough to support high quality childcare, with more than 1,000 early years providers closing down since 2015.

    On top of this, the Government’s promised 30 hours of free childcare a week is only available for 38 weeks of the year, meaning less flexibility and higher prices for families.

    That’s why the next Labour Government will properly fund childcare and high quality early years education for all 2 to 4 year olds, supporting young families and giving children the best possible start in life.

  • Glass Futures

    St Helens Borough has a world leading reputation and a proud industrial history in the production of high quality glass, with Pilkington leading the way.
    Conor celebrated this and the future of the industry at the Glass Futures event in Parliament and to promote St Helens as a new centre of excellence for research & development, innovation and training.
    Conor is working closely with British Glass, the local authority, government and other sectors to ensure that we can build a new economic success story of glass in St Helens at the cutting edge of technological change in the years to come.


  • End Hunger UK campaign

    Conor is backing a campaign by End Hunger UK and Labour colleague Emma Lewell-Buck MP to measure ‘hidden hunger’ and fight food poverty in St Helens and across the country.

    New figures have shown that more than one in ten adults and more than a quarter of parents with children under 18 are skipping meals because of a lack of money.

    Throughout the North West, more than 170,000 three day emergency food parcels were distributed to people in need last year – up from just 7,400 five years’ ago.

    Despite this, food insecurity is not properly measured across the UK – meaning there is no quality national data to quantify the scale of the problem. Hardworking volunteers and organisations do excellent work feeding those in need across our borough, but they can’t be properly supported if the Government doesn’t measure their work.

    This is absolutely unacceptable in 21st Century Britain. The Government has a duty to tackle food poverty and must act to properly measure the scale of food insecurity so we can end hunger for good.


  • 1918 Representation of the People Act

    Today marks the centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act – 100 years since women won the right to vote.

    Conor celebrated this important milestone in Parliament, with colleague Harriet Harman and the more than 200 women MPs now elected to the House of Commons leading events today.

    The Representation of the People Act 1918 extended the right to vote to all men over 21 and the first women, making this one of the most important centenaries in British democratic history.

    That’s why Labour have launched a year-long campaign that will celebrate the great achievements of the women suffrage movement and map out the next steps to achieve full equality for women.

    Conor is  also supporting the Vote 100 programme of events and activities in Parliament to commemorate the women and men who fought to achieve electoral equality, and Conor be working with the House authorities and others to ensure that in December we also properly mark the centenary of the election of Countess Markievicz, the first woman MP.

    Throughout the year there will be a major exhibition in Parliament – “Voice and Vote” – as well as an exciting programme of talks and tours in Parliament. Schools and community groups from across St Helens North who wish to take part can find out more by contacting my office on conor.mcginn.mp@parliament.uk.

  • Conor elected to Council of europe

    Conor McGinn, St Helens North MP, has been elected to represent the UK at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, a key international body that promotes democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

    Mr McGinn vowed to use his new position to fight to protect the rights of workers in St Helens and across the UK.

    He was elected to serve on the influential Politics and Democracy Committee and the European Social Charter Committee.

    The Council of Europe is a 47-member international organisation that aims to uphold human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe.

    Mr McGinn’s role on the Politics and Democracy Committee will see him involved in dealing with urgent political situations and crises in the organisation’s member states which include the UK.

    His work on the European Social Charter Committee will give him the chance to continue his efforts to protect the hard-won rights of British workers – a key issue ahead of Britain’s departure from the EU next year.

    Mr McGinn will be the whip for the 18-member Labour delegation, which is now the second largest delegation within the Socialist Group on the Council of Europe.

  • fighting to protect local music venues

    I’m backing plans for a new law that will help protect our local music venues.

    We are lucky to have great venues and music projects in St Helens, like Jamm Studios and the Citadel – where the Stone Roses are among the bands that have taken to the stage – and opportunities for new talent to perform at the Westfield Street and Reminisce festivals. But some venues are struggling and I want to do my best to help, which is why I am backing the Planning (Agent of Change) Bill.

    More than a third of music venues across the country have shut down in the last decade, and venues in St Helens are still at risk of closure when nearby developments pile extra costs on to them.

    This is a huge risk to the musical heritage of St Helens and the North West and as secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Music, I am sponsoring the proposed law by John Spellar MP to help protect our venues.

    The Planning (Agent of Change) Bill would mean developers would have to take account of the impact of any new scheme on pre-existing businesses, like music venues, before going ahead with their plans. That could mean, for example, the developer taking responsibility to pay for soundproofing to avoid the risk of new neighbours complaining about noise from a music venue.

    This is a vital step towards making sure our music venues survive and thrive and I hope the Government gets behind the proposals to get them on to the statute book.

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  • Conor warns over drop in number of people starting apprenticeships

    St Helens North MP Conor McGinn has warned of the potential impact on jobs and skills in St Helens after figures show the number of people starting apprenticeships across the borough has dropped by a fifth.

    The Department for Education statistics show there were 2,850 apprenticeship starts in St Helens during the 2011/12 academic year, but this has dropped to 2,280 for the 2016/17 school year.

    The figures show a growing skills crisis in St Helens, with 20 per cent fewer apprenticeship starts across the borough, some four times higher than the national average.

    Young people in St Helens are particularly badly affected, with 22 per cent fewer under 19 year olds starting apprenticeships, when the national figure is just 7 per cent.

    Mr McGinn has criticised the Government for leaving St Helens behind and not doing enough to support young people into apprenticeships across the borough.

    Meanwhile, Labour has pledged to invest £1 billion in vocational training and to reintroduce Educational Maintenance Allowance for young people as part of a new National Education Service, ensuring everyone can access high-quality education.

    Commenting, Mr McGinn said:

    “St Helens is a great place to learn, work and do business, with innovative local firms and a proud industrial heritage.

    “But a shocking 20 per cent drop in apprenticeship starts across the borough in the last five years shows the Government is leaving St Helens behind and if this is not halted it will mean a jobs and skills crisis for future generations.

    “This is also a let-down to St Helens College, the Chamber of Commerce and local businesses supporting apprenticeships.

    “My top priority is to bring more jobs and investment to St Helens. Following the launch of the Government’s industrial strategy this week, I will be pressing ministers to make sure that strategy includes improving transport links and attracting investment to St Helens and across Merseyside.

    “Young people deserve better, which is why Labour has pledged to reintroduce Educational Maintenance Allowance – which was scrapped by the Tories – and to invest £1 billion in a new National Education Service.”

  • Internet Service Providers have misled customers for too long with inaccurately advertised “up-to” internet speeds, instead of a reliable average speed.

    The industry must act to end this scandal and stand up for consumers who are too often paying top prices for low speeds or an unreliable internet connection, with research showing up to three quarters of households pay for an internet speed they never receive.

    I welcome moves by the Advertising Standards Agency to ensure providers instead advertise average speeds, so consumers can make a more reliable choice and get better value for money.

    A decent broadband connection is vital for businesses and customers in St Helens and across the country, and I raised the importance of this in the House of Commons and urged Ministers to introduce a change immediately.

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