• 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.

  • There is a real need to reform Parole guidelines

    The appalling decision to release the dangerous criminal John Worboys has highlighted the need for reform of parole guidelines and criteria, and more transparency about decisions made by the Parole Board.

    We have been campaigning for Helen’s Law – a “no body, no parole” rule – for more than two years, and although the Government previously promised to review parole guidelines there has still been no change in the law.

    I raised this with the new Secretary of State for Justice in the House of Commons and highlighted the case of Marie McCourt, who has been bravely campaigning against the release of her daughter Helen’s killer and for other families in similar circumstances.

    The Government must now urgently review the guidelines and criteria around parole and introduce a “no body, no parole” rule so that convicted killers cannot be released without giving information about the location of hidden remains.

  • Chocolate Oranges campaign

    It was great to welcome Chris Lamb from St Helens to Parliament to promote Chocolate Oranges – giving something back to hardworking emergency and public service workers.

    Chocolate Oranges organises an annual collection of chocolate oranges for distribution to emergency and public service workers who care for us in times of need.

    The group was formed in memory of Chris’s son Elliott, whose sad death in 2010 due to a condition called Congenital Cytomegalovirus spurred Chris on to buy chocolate oranges for those who had cared for him.

    Since then, the tradition of giving chocolate oranges has gone from strength to strength. Keep up the good work Chris!

  • Conor elected Chair of the new All Party Parliamentary Group on Darts

     Conor McGinn has been elected Chair of the new All Party Parliamentary Group on Darts – the new group in Westminster championing the sport of darts.

    Conor hosted constituents Karl Holden and his dad Dave at the inaugural meeting, where they spoke about the fantastic growth in the St Helens Darts Academy and what the future has in store for darts at grassroots level. Karl also runs A180 Darts, a UK and worldwide darts business based in St Helens.

    St Helens is producing world-class darts players like Dave Chisnall, Stephen Bunting and Michael Smith and has a thriving grassroots darts scene, and the award-winning St Helens Darts Academy is improving the maths, discipline and skills of local kids through enjoyment of sport and competition.

    Conor hosted a reception and MP’s darts tournament in Parliament with Gary Anderson and Phil Taylor.

    The new cross party group will help bring our fantastic darts talent in St Helens and across the country to the fore, and will be working closely with the PDC, BDO, Government and sponsors to promote the sport.

     

  • St Helens Chamber of Commerce visit to Parliament

    It was a pleasure to welcome members of St Helens Chamber of Commerce to Parliament to discuss ways we can work together to help local firms, entrepreneurs and workers in St Helens.

    Members of the Chamber travelled down to Westminster from St Helens for a working lunch, where the challenges of Brexit and the impact of leaving the EU on local and regional businesses was high on the agenda.

    The Chamber members also highlighted the need for the Government to invest in infrastructure in St Helens and across the North West to help businesses grow.

    Total infrastructure spending per head from 2016/17 onwards is just under £5 billion across the North West, compared to almost £20 billion for London and the South East.

    Alongside my colleague Marie Rimmer MP, I will be working closely with St Helens Chamber to stand up for workers and businesses across St Helens and get the best possible Brexit for our community with more investment from Government in our area.

  • Palmer and Harvey

    In recent days the Palmer and Harvey company – which has a regional centre in Haydock – went into administration.

    This will result in hundreds of job losses in the constituency and across St Helens and the wider region, which is devastating news for the community just weeks before Christmas.

    Some workers only found out they had lost their jobs when they arrived for their shift and the gates were closed.

    Conor raised this as an urgent matter in Parliament and asked the Business Secretary to intervene and support Conor and the USDAW trade union to stand up for those affected. Since then, Conor has spoken with the administrators PwC. Conor has also spoken to St Helens Chamber of Commerce, which is offering free, in-house re-training and CV writing guidance for any workers who have been made redundant and they can be contacted on 01744 698800.

    Since the announcement Conor has been working with all involved to try and salvage something from this desperate situation.

    It is know known that at least 250 jobs will be lost at the Haydock site and there are huge questions for the company to answer about how this situation arose. Conor intends to pursue those questions in Parliament and by whatever other means necessary, along with MPs in other areas affected and the trade union movement.

    But the priority now is to try and find alternative employment for those affected as quickly as possible and to make sure they receive their full redundancy and associated entitlements where that applies.

    To that end, an event has been organised in St Helens Town Hall this Thursday 7th December at 10am.

    The event will commence with a presentation from the Jobcentre Recruitment Team providing advice and guidance on:
    • Redundancy Rights and Information
    • Financial Information
    • Jobsearch
    • Welfare Benefits
    • Other Options
    • Useful Contacts

    Following the presentation there will be the opportunity to meet some local employers who have current vacancies.
    In addition, Conor has written to the Business Secretary to ask if he can provide a hardship fund for those affected to tide them over from their last pay packet at the end of November to hopefully their next one or at least to help them through the Christmas period. This is especially important for those who have worked for the company for under 2 years and therefore are not eligible for any redundancy pay.

    Conor has also written to the DWP to ask for any benefits claims by those affected to be expedited so they will receive payments before Christmas.

    If you are an affected worker and need more information, you can contact your union rep, the administrators (who assure me they have written to every employee affected) or, if you are a St Helens North constituent, Conors office.

     

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