• Irish parliamentarians visit to Westminster

    Conor hosted the largest ever delegation of Irish parliamentarians to Westminster this week for meetings and events with MPs, Peers and political parties to discuss Brexit and challenges and opportunities facing UK-Ireland relations, including in trade and investment.

    The delegation included members of the Dáil Éireann and the Seanad Éireann, Ireland’s lower and upper Houses.

    It was particularly good to have Éamon Ó Cuív TD there, whose grandfather Eamon De Valera was Taoiseach and President of Ireland. ‘Dev’ made a famous and impromptu visit to Earlestown in the 1930’s when he addressed a large crowd who had gathered at the train station to greet him on his journey between Liverpool and Manchester.

    The visit this week followed a visit of MPs and Peers to Dublin in February, which Conor led, and was a great opportunity for dialogue and discussion at a crucial time in our relations

  • Government Needs To Support Defence Workers In The North Of England

    St Helens North MP Conor McGinn has called on the Government to do more to support defence workers in the north of England, including bringing forward an order for new Red Arrows jets to keep the iconic team flying British aircraft.

    The world famous Red Arrows fly the BAE Systems built Hawk but without new orders now, production is at risk of ending. BAE has recently announced a thousand job losses and this week Mr McGinn met the company and defence workers affected, as well as trade union representatives from GMB and Unite.

    He also took part in the Air Combat Power Visit at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, which is a full scale display of the RAFs abilities and strengths, from Force Protection and sustaining operations on the ground, to surveillance, intelligence acquisition and air power. Mr McGinn met with the Chief of the Air Staff Sir Stephen Hillier and the RAF personnel who maintain the UK’s Quick Reaction Alert, made up of high readiness units that can scramble to meet airborne threats.

    Commenting, Mr McGinn said:

    “RAF personnel, including those I met at Coningsby, and workers in the defence industry make a huge contribution to the UK’s national security, yet production is at risk and skilled jobs in the north of England could go, including in the supply chain which would have an impact in towns like St Helens.

    “The Government must commit to ensuring the UK maintains a strong defence industrial base and properly resourced Armed Forces on air, land and sea”.

  • Conor slams Tory cuts to Merseyside fire safety inspectors

    Conor McGinn has slammed Government cuts to the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service as new figures show the number of fire safety inspectors is down by a fifth since 2013.

    Fire safety inspectors are responsible for vital statutory safety inspections and audits, but cuts mean there are now just 34 inspectors across Merseyside – down from 42 in 2013.

    The 19 per cent reduction in fire safety inspectors puts extra pressure on the Fire and Rescue Service, with less firefighters available to carry out safety checks on hospitals, schools and shops.

    Mr McGinn is calling for the Government to immediately halt the decline in fire safety inspectors and is backing a campaign by the Fire Brigades Union to keep buildings safe, protecting the public and firefighters.

    Commenting, Conor said:

    “Our firefighters do an incredible job with dedication and professionalism, often under very difficult circumstances.

    “But Government cuts to fire safety inspectors puts more pressure on already overstretched services by making it harder to spot fire risks in public buildings.

    “The Government needs to urgently get to grips with this and halt the decline in fire safety inspectors, which are down by a fifth in Merseyside since 2013, and put public and firefighter’s safety first.”

     

  • Conor campaigning against education cuts

    Conor met with Patrick White, Secretary of the St Helens National Education Union, in Parliament as part of the Union’s lobby to raise awareness of the Government’s new funding formula for schools. The new funding formula will mean cuts in budgets and teacher numbers in schools for St Helens, at a time when our hardworking pupils and teaching staff need support most.

    Across the country, 88 per cent of schools are still facing real-terms budget cuts per pupil between 2015/16 and 2019/20 and for the average primary school this will mean a loss of £52,546 per year. For the average secondary school this will mean a massive loss of £178,321 per year.

    Conor has committed to continuing  to work with the National Education Union to call out the Tory Government’s unfair and poorly thought out education cuts in St Helens and across the country.

  • Conor supports the Protect The Protectors campaign

    Our emergency services do an amazing job under the most difficult circumstances. But these staff often face abuse and assault, with the Police Federation for England and Wales figures showing there were more than two million physical assaults on officers in 2016, and a further three hundred thousand using a deadly weapon. The PFEW estimates that this means there is an attack on a police officer every four minutes.

    The Royal College of Nursing also highlighted a rise in assaults on NHS staff, with a survey of more than 6,000 staff showing 28 per cent had experienced physical abuse in the previous 12 months and seven in ten had experienced verbal abuse.

    Our firefighters also do an incredibly tough job under the most difficult of circumstances, and it’s important that offences against them are dealt with severely by the law.

    I was proud to sponsor Holly Lynch MP’s Bill to Protect the Protectors back in February and I am proud to continue supporting the Protect The Protectors campaign, calling for tougher sentences for those who assault emergency workers and improved support for staff.

  • Conor Pledges His Support For The Coalfield Regeneration Trust

    It was great to meet with the Coalfield Regeneration Trust recently and pledge my support to their fantastic work supporting former coalfield areas, including communities in St Helens. Since 1999, the Trust has invested over £260 million in former coalfield communities, supporting people into work, improving health and creating opportunities for young people.

    The pledge read “I pledge my support to the work of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust in delivering against its objectives to make a lasting and positive impact on the employment, skills and health of residents in former mining towns and villages.”

    Those wishing to find out about funding available should visit: https://www.coalfields-regen.org.uk/

    The CRT is an unsung hero of our community. They have been working hard under the radar in securing a better future for people from mining communities such as ours. Signing their pledge is important in demonstrating how I will not only support them, but in showing our appreciation for their dedicated work.

  • Conor marks first anniversary of ‘Helen’s Law’ Bill with demand for urgent Government action

    Conor  has written to Theresa May to express the unhappiness of victims’ families with the Government’s failure to bring in a new “no body, no parole” law for convicted murderers.

    Conors proposed new law would prevent the release from jail of killers who refuse to reveal the whereabouts of their victims’ bodies.

    He is fighting for Helen’s Law to get justice for his constituent Marie McCourt whose daughter Helen was murdered in 1988.  Despite her killer’s conviction, Helen’s body has never been found.

    Conor has stepped up the campaign ahead of the first anniversary today (Wednesday October 11) of his parliamentary battle to change the law with his Unlawful Killing (Recovery of Remains) Bill.

    In his letter to the PM, Conor said: “I must report the immense sense of frustration and continued sense of injustice that victims are feeling at the lack of progress.”

    He urged the Prime Minister to work with him to get Helen’s Law on to the statute book as swiftly as possible to ease the torment endured by Marie McCourt and many other families.

    Helen McCourt was killed at the age of 22 by Ian Simms, the landlord of a pub where she had worked as a barmaid. She disappeared close to her home in Billinge in Mr McGinn’s constituency of St Helens North on February 9 1988.

    Simms, then aged 31, was found guilty of murder in a landmark conviction based on overwhelming DNA evidence – even though Helen’s body was never found.

    Since Helen’s death, Simms has continued to torment Marie McCourt by refusing to explain what happened to Helen’s body.

    His callous silence has denied Marie and her relatives the chance to grieve properly and give Helen a proper funeral.

    Marie has described that unimaginable distress and the prospect that she could die before discovering the whereabouts of her daughter as “a special kind of torture”.

    More than 400,000 people have signed a petition backing Helen’s Law which would help grieving families give their loved ones a proper funeral.

    The new law would help people like Marie and others suffering similar ordeals, likethe parents of murdered schoolgirl Danielle Jones, who vanished from a bus stop in 2001, and relatives of Carole Packman who was killed in 1985.

     

    According to Home Office figures, there have been at least 30 murders since 2007 in England and Wales where no body has been recovered.

    “Throughout her ordeal, Marie has shown dignity and courage while continuing to fight for justice.

     “Yet, despite his cruel silence, her daughter’s killer could soon be released from jail. That would be a terrible injustice.

     “Helen’s Law would mean that if a killer refused to give information about the location of a victim’s body, they would not be considered eligible for parole and would remain behind bars.

     “Despite the huge support of more than 400,000 people, the Government is in danger of being seen to be dragging its feet and risks betraying victims’ families and those like Marie who are being denied the justice they deserve.”

  • Conor McGinn demands protections for Good Friday Agreement in Brexit Bill

    Conor McGinn has called for the Good Friday Agreement to be protected in law as the UK leaves the European Union.

    In amendments tabled to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, the legislation that will take the UK out of the EU, Mr McGinn has called for the principles of the Good Friday Agreement to be reaffirmed in law.

    The amendments will ensure freedom of movement and trade on the island of Ireland, enshrine the power-sharing and North-South institutions set-up under the Agreement in UK law, preserve existing human rights and equality legislation and the principle of consent in relation to Northern Ireland’s future.

    The status of Irish citizens would also be placed on the statute book, with the amendments recognising rights “inclusive of and in addition to their status, rights and entitlements as EU citizens”.

    Conors changes to the Bill, which would come into force after clearing parliamentary hurdles in the House of Commons and House of Lords, would mean the Good Friday Agreement is explicitly upheld by the British Government after the UK’s departure from the EU.

    Conors proposals also seek to preserve the EU-recognised status of the Irish language, on the basis of “respect, understanding and tolerance in relation to linguistic diversity” as set out in the Good Friday Agreement.

    “As the UK leaves the European Union, Parliament has a duty to uphold the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process in Northern Ireland.

    “That’s why I am calling for the maintenance of the Good Friday Agreement – and all of its provisions and institutions – to be enshrined in law through my amendments to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill.

    “MPs from all parties recognise the importance of protecting the peace process and the tremendous progress we have seen on the island of Ireland and in British-Irish relations since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement nearly 20 years ago, and the Government has the chance through my amendments to show it does too.

    “We must act to safeguard the progress made by protecting the Good Friday Agreement and enshrining it on the statute book as we leave the EU.”

     

  • Conor elected as officer of all party group on childcare and early education

    Conor has been elected as an officer of an influential new group at Westminster, the Childcare and Early Education All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG). The group will spearhead efforts to improve childcare and early education across the country.

    The move comes after Conor – a father of two pre-school aged children himself – revealed new figures about the number of local children who are missing out on free childcare in St Helens.

    In St Helens, almost one in five (19%) of two-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds are missing out on 15 hours free childcare, according to the latest official Government figures.

    That means around 136 two-year-olds in St Helens from disadvantaged backgrounds are not getting the free childcare they need.

    Commenting, Conor said: “The Government is already failing to fund its promise to provide 30 hours of free childcare for three and four-year-olds.

    “The latest figures show that many two-year-olds in St Helens are not even getting 15 hours of free childcare.

    “The Tories are letting down families who most need help with childcare, as well as childcare providers who are struggling to meet costs.

    “I hope that, together with Parliamentary colleagues, I can use this new group to press the Government to strengthen early education for children in St Helens and across the country.”

    Of the £9.1 billion spent on childcare and early education in this Parliament, just £250 million is earmarked for the most disadvantaged children.

    Around three in 10 disadvantaged two-year-olds are still missing out on a free childcare place – despite new evidence to show that this can have a marked impact on their development.

  • Conor gains support for his EDM on National health service Pay

    In Westminster , I was delighted that Labour’s frontbench put forward my Early Day Motion on NHS pay for debate in Parliament.

    70 MPs from all parties – except, of course, the Tories – had already signed the motion calling on the Government to scrap the pay cap for NHS workers.

    When it became clear that the majority of MPs were likely to vote with Labour in support of this yesterday, the Tories cynically announced an end to the pay cap but then ran away from the vote. It was passed unanimously by the House of Commons.

    It is a great victory for our NHS staff and all those who have been campaigning for a pay rise like the Royal College of Nursing and Unison.

    I’m proud to have played a role alongside Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth in pushing the issue to the floor of the House of Commons, putting it up to the Tories and getting the motion passed unanimously.

    The Government now needs to act and pay our nurses, NHS staff and all public sector workers properly and fairly.

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