• Knowsley & St Helens Combined Schools football team now be allowed to continue to play

    I am delighted to see that the Knowsley & St Helens Combined Schools football team will now be allowed to continue to play as one team until at least the end of the season.

    Alongside council and parliamentary colleagues from Knowsley and St Helens, I raised concerns with the English Schools FA about the decision to abruptly stop recognising the joint team, thereby depriving young people from our boroughs of the chance to play competitive sport. While it is a disappointment that they are still unable to play in this year’s national competition, it is good news that the boys can continue to play together at a local level. I will be lobbying the English Schools FA to allow the team to continue on a fully recognised basis into the future.

    Grassroots football – particularly at youth level – is vital to the future of the game, so this decision is good news and I would like to pay tribute to all the local players, schools, clubs and parents who championed the young footballers’ case which led to this u-turn.

  • opening the new rail station and transport interchange at Newton-le-Willows

    I was delighted to open the new rail station and transport interchange at Newton-le-Willows today alongside Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram.

    Newton-le-Willows has a proud history as a pioneering railway town. It’s at the heart of the North West and the gateway between the Liverpool City Region and Greater Manchester. The redeveloped rail station, new routes and plans for increased capacity confirm the town’s status as a key North West and Northern region transport hub.

    This significant investment in the station will hugely improve the facilities for passengers and better connectivity will help bring jobs, and growth to St Helens borough.

    I want to congratulate all the people involved in bringing this ambitious and impressive project to fruition and well done to everyone involved in the opening, particularly the Mayor of St Helens Borough, local councillors, Newton and Earlestown Community Group, and thanks to the Riddling Rack for providing refreshments.

  • Edge Hill University

    I was hugely impressed by the politics undergraduate students I met on my visit to Edge Hill University.

    Their enthusiasm and challenging questions show what an asset they are to the local area – and they gave me a tough workout!

    Many students at Edge Hill University are from St Helens borough, and we are proud of our close link with such a great institution.

  • Racing post article

    I was delighted to write for the Racing Post and highlight the challenges facing British horseracing.

    As Chair of the APPG for Racing and MP for Haydock Park, I will continue to champion this hugely important industry which contributes to our local community and economy here in St Helens Borough, and across the country.

  • keeping young people out of the criminal justice system

    In a recent Parliamentary debate on prison sentences, I raised the need for the Government to support initiatives in working-class communities like ours to give young people opportunities while keeping them out of trouble and stopping them sliding into the criminal justice system.

    We are lucky to have volunteers such as Dom Hodnett at clubs like Wildcard Boxing Academy in Parr,  and many other sporting and community groups across St Helens borough working hard to make sure local kids have things to do, can learn about focus and discipline, and are being encouraged to aim and achieve

  • no deal Brexit

    I respect the referendum result and I also have serious concerns about the way the Prime Minister has handled negotiations with the European Union over the past 20 months.

    However, I disagree on the merits of a no deal Brexit. I believe leaving the EU without a deal would be the worst possible outcome to this process, with severe consequences for our country across many areas.

    Amongst other issues, a no deal Brexit would mean no reciprocal deal on citizens’ rights, including those British citizens currently living, working and studying in EU countries. It would mean an end to the frictionless and tariff-free trade with the EU that our manufacturers rely on. Indeed, 44% of our exports are to EU countries and 50% of our imports come from the EU. Many businesses – such as the car industry – have supply chains and productions processes interwoven throughout Europe. A no deal Brexit would also mean no agreement on how to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

    Unfortunately, I believe the Government’s approach to the negotiations is threatening our country with either a bad deal that would harm jobs, rights and living standards, or a catastrophic no deal scenario.

    That is why I have long argued that the choice facing Parliament cannot simply be between a bad deal or no deal. I do not believe the Government has the right to subject our country to chaos because of its own failure to negotiate a good deal. Therefore, if any deal is voted down by Parliament, I believe there should be a general election to try to get a government that can negotiate the best deal for our country or failing that a peoples vote.

    This is a critical point in our history and businesses need certainty and stability from the Government. I will continue to press the Prime Minister to put the national interest first.

  • Investment in St Helens North

    I visited UK Power Reserve’s site in Newton Le Willows. Their £10m investment is a strong vote of confidence in St Helens borough as the best place in the North West for businesses to locate. The gas-fired facility will provide enough power for the equivalent of 20,000 homes.

    UK Power Reserve is one of the leading providers of low carbon electricity to the UK energy market. This site is generating power for local businesses and communities to meet their energy needs.

    UK Power Reserve employees Alessandra, and Stephen took me on a tour of the site. We spoke about the benefits that the company’s multi-million-pound investment will have in St Helens borough and how this can strengthen ties with the local community, ensure a balanced and resilient electricity system and boost businesses.

    This significant investment in St Helens North shows the confidence the business sector has in our local economy and workforce.

     

  • new role as chair of coalfields communities APPG

    I have been elected as Chair of a committee in Westminster that champions the voice of coalfield communities like ours in St Helens borough. The Coalfields Communities APPG raises awareness of issues that former mining areas face and promotes regeneration and economic development. My new role gives me the opportunity to build on the past work of the group and to press the government to focus resources and support in areas like ours.

    I recently spoke in Parliament about the work of great organisations such as the Industrial Communities Alliance and the Coalfield Regeneration Trust, who work closely with MPs, local authorities and businesses to invest in communities across the country.

    I met with the Chair of the Industrial Communities Alliance my friend Cllr Terry O’Neill from Warrington and Cllr Joan Dixon from Bolsover to discuss how we can work together to improve our coalfield communities. On issues from culture and sport to housing and the high street, the voice of former mining communities needs to be heard in Westminster. I will use my new role to make sure it is.

  • Clickworks, St Helens’s new digital hub

    I visited Clickworks – St Helens Chamber’s new digital hub – to see it in action following its recent opening. It was great to see the place is buzzing with activity from local businesses making the most of the facilities and equipment. I spoke to apprentices and students on a digital marketing course and was hugely impressed with their knowledge about the changing face of marketing, and the impact technology is having on the workplace and society.

    Technology is revolutionising the way we work and live. Liverpool City Region has one of the UK’s fastest growing hubs for digital companies with around 26,000 people employed in the digital and creative sector. It was fantastic to meet young people from St Helens borough who are ready to make the most of these opportunities.

    Clickworks is an incredible resource and represents the bright, confident future we have in St Helens.

  • Saints kick off new season

    The Super League kicks off tonight as Saints face our arch-rivals Wigan in the first game of the season.

    Good luck to Justin, James and the team for the season and let’s hope we get off to a winning start.

    But even before a try has been scored, we have started the new year on a positive in St Helens with the news that our town and borough has been chosen to host three games at the 2021 Rugby World Cup. This is testament to the hard work of Eamonn and everyone at the club, supported by St Helens Council and the entire local community, particularly our grassroots rugby league clubs, volunteers and supporters.

    Being a World Cup venue will not only bring economic benefits to the borough but will delight local fans who will be looking forward to seeing some of the best teams in the world at the best ground in the country.

    But before then we have plenty to look forward to and I wish Saints all the very best for what will hopefully be another memorable – and winning! – season.

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