Michael writes Commons Diary for the House magazine
29 June 2016
Michael has written a week long entry for the Commons Diary in the House Magazine.
The diary entry, which covers the past week, including the EU referendum, is open to parliamentarians to reflect on news and current affairs.
You can read Michael’s full entry in the diary here.
Michael’s question during Prime Minister’s statement on the EU referendum
27 June 2016
Michael has asked a question during the Prime Minister’s statement on the result of the recent EU referendum.
“Will the Prime Minister agree that there are profound lessons to be learned at that despatch box and indeed the one opposite about how we listen to and responsibly address the perfect legitimate concerns that the good, decent, working class people have about things like unskilled immigration and also the consequent self-evident alienation they feel about their current political leadership?”
You can see Michael’s question in full below.
Michael praises Barnsley Reserves at Defence Questions
27 June 2016
Michael has raised his recent visit to Burma Company, 4th Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment, during Defence Questions in the House of Commons.
Michael praised the work of the reservists, led by Officer Commanding Major Darren Schofield.
You can see Michael’s question in full below.
Michael marks Armed Forces Day
25 June 2016
Today is Armed Forces Day. Michael has written a blog in support of our Armed Forces and our veterans, which you can read here.
As a member of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme (AFPS), which gives MPs the opportunity to gain experience with the Armed Forces, Michael makes regular visits to the armed forces both locally in Barnsley and in the wider region. This weekend he has visited Barnsley’s reserves, attended the Armed Forces Day service in Barnsley Pals Centenary Square and visited a training weekend for cadets from the region.
On Friday, Michael visited the Barnsley Reserves in the Burma Company in Barnsley ahead of Armed Forces Day. The Burma Company currently consists of 83 reserves. The Company is part of the 4th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment. It welcomes both ex-regulars and new recruits who want to challenge themselves.
During the visit Michael met with around 25 troops. This was a great opportunity for Michael to thank the Reserves for the amazing work they do, giving up their free time to serve the country.
Michael also attended a special service in the Barnsley Pals Centenary Square today, to celebrate the brave men and women in our Armed Forces and to honour Britain’s many veterans.
During the service Cllr Linda Burgess, the mayor of Barnsley, and Cllr Joe Hayward, the Council’s Armed Forces Champion, both delivered moving readings. The service was led by Reverend Canon Stephen Race, who is the parish priest at St Mary’s Church in Barnsley.
Michael also joined a training weekend for cadets from Humberside and South Yorkshire’s Army Cadet Force (ACF) today. On this visit he met a number of cadets from across South Yorkshire, including a cadet from Birdwell in Michael’s constituency.
The ACF’s cadets are all between 12 and 18 years old. In total, the Humberside and South Yorkshire ACF have around 1600 cadets spread across 52 detachments. In Barnsley East, there are ACF detachments in Birdwell and in Wombwell & Darfield.
Michael places charity bet on Euros match for charity in Wombwell
24 June 2016
Michael placed a charity bet on the Euros today at William Hill in Wombwell.
Michael placed a £50 bet for England to beat Iceland on Monday. Any winnings will go to Hallam FM’s Cash for Kids, a South Yorkshire charity Michael has recently become a patron of.
Cash for Kids is a charity that helps disadvantaged children across South Yorkshire. The £50 stake will go to Cash for Kids regardless of the result on Monday.
Q&A with Year 6 at Upperwood Academy in Darfield
24 June 2016
Today Michael held a Q&A with Year 6 students from Upperwood Academy in Darfield on politics. It was great to see so many young students engage with politics and democracy.
Michael got some great questions and he would like to thank class teachers Mr Bramall and Mr Jordan, and of course all Year 6 pupils, for inviting him to visit.
Michael visits Community Places care home in Great Houghton with local councillors
24 June 2016
Today Michael visited Community Places, a specialist care home in Great Houghton, with Cllr Allan Hampson and Cllr Dorothy Higginbottom from Barnsley’s North East ward.
Community Places is a care home for adults with autism and other complex needs.
The home has some brilliant on-site facilities that are used to teach residents the skills they need to live as independently as possible.
Michael had the pleasure of meeting lots of members of staff on this visit. He also got a full tour of the facilities, including the home’s sensory room and state-of-the-art kitchen in which residents can learn crucial skills that will help them live as independently as possible.
Michael warns Barnsley bus services under threat – and urges residents to register their opposition to cuts
22 June 2016
As reported by Barnsley News and Sport, the Barnsley Chronicle, the Sheffield Star and We are Barnsley, Michael has warned that plans to change Barnsley’s bus routes will leave passengers with fewer bus services, with the 8 and 8a from Barnsley to Worsbrough Dale set to be axed and only partially replaced.
Michael is urging bus passengers and local residents to register their opposition to plans scrap the 8 and 8a service – which serves Barnsley, Worsbrough Common, Ward Green, Worsbrough Bridge and Worsbrough Dale - with only a partial replacement.
The plans will also see a reduced service on other routes in Barnsley, including the cancellation of the 37 bus on Saturdays – which serves Barnsley, Lundwood, Cudworth, Shafton, Grimethorpe, Brierley and Hemsworth – from September onwards and which will make it more difficult to get around on public transport.
South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive is holding a consultation on the plans on behalf of the Barnsley Bus Partnership, which is open to the public until 31 July.
Michael has previously campaigned, as Shadow Transport Secretary, for more power to be put in the hands of passengers and for local authorities to be given the power to set routes and fares, so that passengers and residents can get a better deal.
Many local residents and bus passengers were left stranded at the bus stop when Tates Travel collapsed in February this year, causing major disruption to local services.
Michael took that case up with the Traffic Commissioner, which issued a fine and an improvement order to Tates before its collapse, and he is now urging Barnsley residents to have their say over the new proposals.
Commenting, Michael said:
“Local residents rightly expect punctual and reliable bus services to get about. What we saw earlier this year with the collapse of Tates Travel is that we need an effective local busses with a network of routes that properly serves the local community.
“Plans to scrap the 8 and 8a service with only a partial replacement, which will hit passengers travelling between Worsbrough and Barnsley Town Centre, as well as reductions to other services including the cancellation of the 37 on Saturdays, which runs from Barnsley through Cudworth, Shafton, Grimethorpe and Brierley in my constituency, could have a major impact on passengers’ daily journeys, meaning it is more difficult to get around.
“It is really important that people have their say on these proposed changes – the consultation is open to the public and anyone can make a submission online. I would encourage all my constituents to visit travelsouthyorkshire.com and defend their local bus services.”
Michael urges young people to join him on the Anthony Nolan stem cell and blood donor register
21 June 2016
As reported by the Barnsley Chronicle and Barnsley News and Sport, Michael has urged young people in Barnsley East to Join the Anthony Nolan stem cell and blood donor register.
As a registered donor with Anthony Nolan himself, Michael wants to encourage as many young people as possible to follow suit and potentially save a life.
In the UK, someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer every 20 minutes. This means that 25,000 people get diagnosed with a blood cancer every year. With so many families affected, it is vital that eligible donors – young people between the ages of 16 – 30 – sign up with Anthony Nolan.
Signing up with the charity takes no time at all; it is a painless, easy process which you can start online.
Commenting, Michael said:
“Anthony Nolan does absolutely fantastic work raising awareness of people affected by blood cancer and other blood disorders and connecting them to potential donors. In the UK, someone is told they have blood cancer every 20 minutes. That means 25,000 people a year get diagnosed with blood cancer. This is why Anthony Nolan’s work is so vital.
“The charity’s outreach programme is a great way for young people, aged 16 – 30, in Barnsley to find out about joining Anthony Nolan’s register and to see if they can help a stranger in need of a life-saving transplant.
“I’ve written to local students urging them to sign up to Anthony Nolan’s fantastic interactive outreach programme, which gives young people a great opportunity to find out more about this important work.”
For more information and to register with Anthony Nolan yourself, please visit www.anthonynolan.org.
Michael plays at LIVE in Barnsley 2016
18 June 2016
Michael has played at the annual LIVE in Barnsley festival. Michael, who is a proud patron of the festival, played an afternoon set at the Old No. 7 Bar in Barnsley.
The festival gives local acts a chance to play at venues across Barnsley town centre, with thousands of people attending. During his set, Michael paid tribute to the late Jo Cox MP, who was murdered in her Batley and Spen constituency, by singing the Beatles' 'Here, There and Everywhere'.
This year, LIVE in Barnsley are supporting Cash for Kids, a South Yorkshire charity that supports individual children, groups and children's charities where children are sick, deprived or in need of extra support. Michael was proud to recently become a patron of Cash for Kids and you can read more about the excellent work the charity does here.
Michael was very grateful to organisers Steve Clifford and Dave Pearsall for organising an excellent festival this year. You can find out more about LIVE in Barnsley on their website here.
Michael's tribute to Jo Cox
17 June 2016
There will be many fine tributes made today and in the coming days about Jo Cox. Here is my own:
I first met her through the Labour Party twenty years ago. In the last year she has been a brilliant Member of Parliament here in Yorkshire where she grew up. She was a dedicated and gifted public servant, and she was an authentic community campaigner. Her commitment to international development, including from her time at Oxfam, was also especially strong.
But personally I will always remember Jo as a very kind colleague - clever, passionate, fun. I have also known her husband, Brendan, for most of the past twenty years and we worked together for Gordon Brown at 10 Downing Street. It is simply heart-breaking to think of the impact that Jo's passing will have on him and their two very young children. They are in my thoughts and prayers at this terrible time.
Brendan has said:
"Jo believed in a better world and she fought for it every day of her life with an energy and a zest for life that would exhaust most people."
With that same fine spirit and determination that he shared with Jo, Brendan has vowed to work against the hate that killed his wife. But he added: "Today is the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. More difficult, more painful, less joyful, less full of love."
Jo was murdered doing her job serving her local community. I hope that as a party and a country we can come together to mourn Jo's passing and be united in our belief in public service and in making the world a better place. And that we can also be united in our shared revulsion of violence, hatred and intolerance.
Michael becomes patron of 'Cash for Kids' as charity launches new campaign
15 June 2016
As reported by the Barnsley Chronicle and Barnsley News and Sport, Michael is very happy to have accepted the role of patron with Hallam FM’s charity ‘Cash For Kids’. ‘Cash For Kids’ works to support disadvantaged children across South Yorkshire.
‘Cash for Kids’ have now launched a new campaign to raise money through community spirit and neighbours working together. For this new campaign, called ‘Happy Street’, the charity will stage a fundraising competition between several streets across South Yorkshire in the summer weeks. The street that raises the most money will win a street party organised by Hallam FM. If you would like to nominate your street, please visit the campaign’s webpage here.
Commenting, Michael said:
“Cash for Kids’ Happy Streets initiative is a fantastic way to celebrate brilliant communities across South Yorkshire, including great neighbourhood communities in my own constituency of Barnsley East.
“The Happy Street initiative is just one of the ways in which Cash for Kids uses creativity and community spirit to raise funds to help local children.
“I am very proud to have recently accepted my new role as patron for the Charity and I look forward to working with Cash for Kids closely.”
Michael supports Royal British Legion Count Them In campaign
13 June 2016
As reported by the Barnsley Chronicle, the Sheffield Star and Barnsley News and Sport, Michael has backed a campaign by the Royal British Legion (RBL) to include a question on the next census about previous military service, so that authorities can be better informed about where veterans live and how best to support them.
Currently, limited data is available on veterans’ locations, but adding a census question will create a national pool of data that will help authorities better fulfil their obligations to veterans and their families under the Military Covenant.
You can find out more about the campaign on the RBL website here.
England’s 1966 World Cup football heroes snubbed again in honours list
10 June 2016
As reported by the Mirror, Michael has expressed his disappointment over the decision not to knight any of the surviving 1966 World Cup football heroes in the Queen’s Birthday Honours this year.
Last month, Michael wrote a letter to the Prime Minister calling for the entire team to be knighted – a decision that would have been a fitting way to mark the 50th anniversary of England’s famous win over Germany in the 1966 cup final. He has since received a response indicating not a single one of the surviving 1966 World Cup football players will be knighted in this year’s Honours.
Commenting in the Mirror, Michael said:
“This is a bitter blow to the heroes of 1966. Their families and fans will feel betrayed on the 50th anniversary of their World Cup triumph and the eve of Euro 2016. “It would have been a fitting tribute to these icons of our national game who have never reaped the rich rewards of the modern era. Over the last few years honours have been handed out to dubious individuals who are not fit to lace the boots of these men.”
You can read the full story in the Mirror here.