Michael attends The Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal launch in Hoyland
25 October 2014
On Saturday 25 October Michael welcomed Vernon Coaker MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Defence to Barnsley to help launch the annual Poppy Appeal with The Hoyland and District Branch of the Royal British Legion at the new Tesco superstore in Hoyland. Joining him was Labour's PCC candidate Canon Dr Alan Billings. At the launch Vernon had an opportunity to meet with Branch President and Arctic Convoy veteran Ken Burkinshaw and Chairman Robert Hill.
Following the launch Vernon took part in a roundtable discussion with local veterans to discuss servicemen's and veteran's issues.
Commenting Michael said "As we mark the Centenary of the First World War, it’s as important as ever to wear a poppy and remember the sacrifices and commitment made by our Armed forces both then and now"
Labour to push for historic vote in the House of Commons as part of the “Justice for the Coalfields” campaign
25 October 2014
As reported in the Sheffield Star, the Northern Echo, the Sheffield Telegraph and the Yorkshire Post, Labour will hold an Opposition Day Debate and call for a vote in the House of Commons on 28 October as part of the “Justice for the Coalfields” campaign.
The motion to be debated will call on Members of Parliament to:
- acknowledge that the recent release of the 1984 Cabinet papers showed that the government at the time misled the public about the extent of its pit closure plans and sought to influence police tactics;
- recognise the economic legacy of the pit closure programme in coalfield communities across the UK;
- and back continued regeneration and much needed support for coalfield communities as part of a wider programme to boost growth in Britain’s regions.
Labour has also called for an apology from Conservative ministers for the lies by the Thatcher government at the time about the secret pit closure plan and for looking to deploy the Army (as revealed in the recently released Cabinet papers).
Labour has also previously called on Ministers to: set out all the details of the interactions between the Government and the police at the time of the strike; to release all information about government-police communications around Orgreave; and to consider initiating a swift, independent review into what happened at Orgreave if the Independent Police Complaints Commission can’t or won’t undertake a proper investigation.
Commenting, Michael, who is the leading the ‘Justice for the Coalfields’ campaign, said:
“This will be an historic debate and vote in the House of Commons.
“Recently released Cabinet papers from the Thatcher years confirmed that the government at the time not only misled the public about the extent of the pit closure programme, but that it also sought to influence police tactics during the strike.
“It is now only right that Parliament recognises just how badly ministers at the time treated the coalfield communities and acknowledges the full scale of the economic legacy of the pit closure programme.
“The debate comes too late for so many of the miners and families in Yorkshire who saw their lives and their communities decimated after the Strike, but that sense of injustice endures today across those coalfield communities who are still dealing with the devastating consequences of what happened.
“The challenges that remain in the coalfield areas in Yorkshire are huge. That is way the vote in the House of Commons will also be asking MPs to back continued regeneration and much needed support for coalfield communities as part of a wider programme to boost growth in Britain’s regions.
“As well as this, we still need a proper investigation into Orgreave and full transparency of all government communications with the police at the time of the Strike. What happened at Orgreave 30 years ago was a black day in South Yorkshire. The Independent Police Complaints Commission needs to get its act together. If they can’t or won’t undertake a proper investigation, then Labour has said the Government should consider initiating a swift, independent review along the lines of the Ellison Review.
"It’s now time now to get to the truth and for there to be justice for the coalfields.”
Michael joins the fight against breast cancer and 'wears it pink'
24 October 2014
As reported by the Barnsley News and Sport, Michael has joined the fight against breast cancer by taking part in Breast Cancer Campaign’s flagship fundraiser, 'wear it pink' day.
On Friday 24 October people across the country will come together to find fun and stylish ways to wear pink in the office, at home or at school. Donations raised by this year’s fashion inspired event will go to Breast Cancer Campaign to fund lifesaving breast cancer research.
The proportion of women aged 53-70 attending breast cancer screening is 81.6 per cent in Barnsley, which is higher than the English average of 77 per cent.
Commenting, Michael said,
"Every year in the UK over 50,000 women and around 350 men are diagnosed with breast cancer. Sadly, 12,000 women and 80 men die from this disease each year. That’s why I’m proud to support Breast Cancer Campaign’s fundraising efforts to support world-class breast cancer research that saves and improves lives, giving people quicker diagnoses and more effective treatments.
“I am pleased to see that the proportion of women attending breast cancer screening in Barnsley is above the English average. Screening continues to be one of the most effective ways to spot breast cancer as early as possible. However, there is still so much to do and I hope you’ll all join me by wearing it pink and showing your support for breast cancer research.”
Michael welcomes plans to put fans at the heart of football
24 October 2014
As reported by the Barnsley Chronicle, Michael has backed plans to give football fans a voice in their boardroom and buy a significant slice of the shares when the ownership of their club changes.
The proposals would see the biggest legislative shake-up in the governance of English and Welsh football clubs since the advent of the game. The plans, drawn up in consultation with 95 football supporters’ organisations, would require supporters to come together to form a single accredited trust, like the Barnsley FC Supporters Trust, in return for the right to:
appoint and remove up to a quarter and not less than two of a football club’s board of directors;
purchase up to 10 per cent of the shares when a club changes ownership, if they so wish.
This would ensure those running clubs share information, power and responsibility with supporters. The proposals mean fans could hold the owners of their club to account on all issues on and off the field including ticket prices, shirt sponsorship, ground naming rights, and changing the colour of the strip or the name.
Commenting, Michael said, “This is a welcome move to put fans at the heart of their football clubs. These plans would give trusts like the Barnsley FC Supporters Trust, who work hard to improve and strengthen the link between fans and the club, a voice and stake in their clubs.
“Football clubs are part of people’s identity and sense of belonging. Barnsley FC is great club and I have seen for myself the excellent work they do in the community through their Community Sports and Education Trust. These proposals will strengthen the relationship between our football clubs and their supporters, ensuring, once again, that fans have a voice at the heart of their club.”
Michael attends National Positive Practice in Mental Health Awards
24 October 2014
On Thursday 23 October Michael attended the National Positive Practice in Mental Health Awards at Sheffield United FC Bramall Lane.
Organised by Angie and Tony Russell, who also set up the Barnsley based charity, Reflections Art in Health, these prestigious national awards recognises excellence in mental health services and shines a spotlight on those services and outstanding individuals who are making a real difference - a celebration of all that is positive in mental health. Michael congratulated all those attending and took to the stage himself to entertain the audience by singing with his guitar.
Commenting Michael said “Mental health is a huge issue and it still doesn’t get the attention or funding it deserves. Awards like these are a fantastic way of changing this and raising the profile of mental health. The extremely high calibre of all those on the shortlist made judging for these awards incredibly difficult. All those nominated demonstrated very clearly their dedication to improving mental health services and how their hard work really can make a difference”.
“It was a pleasure to attend the awards ceremony this evening and to meet those talented people who are making a difference to the lives of so many in our community”
Michael becomes patron of the Labour Friends of Real Ale group
24 October 2014
On Thursday 23 October Michael was pleased to be invited to become patron of the Labour Friends of Real Ale group during his attendance at their first social event at The Burton Bridge Inn in Burton-upon-Trent, organised by its founding chairman Jon Wheale.
Jon is Labour’s candidate for Burton and his work within the Labour Friends of Real Ale group will be instrumental in championing real ale causes within the Labour Party, trade union and co-operative movement, and supporting the brewing and pub industries – a vital and important industry that must be protected.
Dugher's column: ‘Don’t suffer alone in Breast Cancer Awareness Month’
23 October 2014
Not many people talk about secondary breast cancer, not even in October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In order to raise much needed awareness for this terrible disease, Michael has written a column for the Barnsley Independent.
You can read the column in full by clicking here.
UKIP form alliance with far-Right Polish MEP
22 October 2014
Nigel Farage’s UKIP has allowed a far-Right Polish MEP whose Party Leader has been accused of making racist remarks and denying the Holocaust, to join the grouping of MEPS in the European Parliament set-up by UKIP.