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If you would like to get in touch about a campaign, please e-mail michael.dugher.mp@parliament.uk

Tiny Hearts campaign: see Sir Michael Parkinson introduce the Tiny Hearts Campaign video below.

The Daily Politics

The Daily Politics


Latest news

Michael visits King’s Oak Children’s Centre

30 July 2015

Today, Michael met staff, parents and children at King’s Oak Children’s Centre.
Many constituents have contacted Michael about proposed changes to Children’s Centres which may force these vital community hubs to reduce their childcare provision.

One of the specific concerns that was raised is a plan to convert Children’s Centres into outreach sites with no nursery provision. This could cause great inconvenience to parents who need to manage work and other commitments with their childcare.

Michael has made representations to a BMBC consultation on the matter, which will make recommendations to Cabinet in September.

Commenting on the visit, Michael said:

“It was great to meet staff, parents and children at the fantastic King’s Oak Children’s Centre today to see the excellent services on offer.

“Childcare provision is really important for families in Barnsley, especially when parents need to juggle work and travel around other commitments.

“It is a scandal that the Government has allowed these brilliant community assets to be mothballed or even closed at a time when parents need decent childcare in their communities.”


Michael shows support for our Armed Forces

26 July 2015

Michael has been showing his support for our Armed Forces during a three day visit to those serving in Cyprus. He recently joined the Armed Forces Parliamentary Trust which seeks to educate politicians about our armed forces and is a chance for MPs to demonstrate their personal commitment to those serving in one of the armed services. 

During his visit, Michael met with a number of Armed Forces personnel. This included meeting a Tornado Detachment serving on active duty on operations over northern Iraq against ISIL, as well as meeting members of 84 Squadron stationed at RAF Akrotiri.  Michael participated in training and discussions with soldiers from the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment, as well joining the Black Watch patrolling in the UN Buffer Zone.

Michael was especially pleased to be able to spend time with members of the Yorkshire Regiment - many of them veterans of Afghanistan - who were completing a tour of duty in Cyprus, before they return to the UK. 

Commenting, Michael said:

"The professionalism and bravery of Britain's Armed Forces is second to none. It was a real privilege to spend time with so many of them in Cyprus and to thank them for the amazing work that they do. I'm looking forward to spending more time with the Armed Forces as part of the brilliant Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme. I hope in particular to catch up again soon with those serving in the Yorkshire Regiment, many of whom are from Barnsley". 


“Scrapping electrification is a bitter blow for town” – Michael launches Don’t Pull the Plug Campaign

24 July 2015

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle, Michael has launched Labour’s “Don’t Pull the Plug” campaign, calling on the Government to honour its election promises and reinstate plans to electrify the Midland Main Line and the TransPennine route.

Just seven weeks after the election, the Government announced that it was shelving the vital electrification upgrades - projects that Ministers repeatedly promised to deliver ahead of, and throughout, the General Election campaign.

Labour is demanding a real commitment from the Government that it will deliver these projects within a clear and published timetable.

As part of the campaign, Labour has launched an online petition to put pressure on the Government to live up to its promises: www.labour.org.uk/dont-pull-the-plug

Commenting, Michael, who is the Shadow Transport Secretary, said:

“David Cameron has broken his election promise to electrify key rail lines in the Midlands and the North.   After five years of fare rises, which Ministers claimed would fund investment, two of the country’s most important rail projects have effectively been cancelled.

“The Tories said they would deliver a Northern Powerhouse, but they have inflicted a Northern power cut instead.

“The Government should now live up to their election promises, reinstate the work on electrification and not pull the plug on these vital upgrades for the North and the Midlands.

“It is also becoming increasingly apparent that Ministers knew all along that they were going to shelve these projects, but continued to con the public before the election.  So we are also calling on the Prime Minister and the Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, to come clean and tell everyone exactly what they knew, and when.”



Michael joins forces with local councillors to defend Darfield Post Office

24 July 2015

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle and the Barnsley News & Sport, Michael has joined with Barnsley Councillors Caroline Saunders, Pauline Markham and Dorothy Coates to defend the local Post Office in Darfield.

Muralee Panchanathan, 45, Postmaster at Darfield Post Office, feels that he is coming under increasing pressure to step down from his position as part of the Post Office’s network transformation plan.

The move would see Darfield’s current Post Office facilities transferred into a Post Office Local Branch, operated from within another store, such as the Co-op, which could restrict access and usage of local postal facilities.

Commenting, Michael said:

“The people of Darfield rely on the range of services that are offered at Darfield Post Office and it’s important to stand up and defend this.

“The public and the postmaster are in agreement that the store should stay as it is and we need to fight to save our Post Office.”



Michael praises Falcons football club for setting up team for disabled kids

24 July 2015

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle, Michael has praised the Hoyland Common Falcons football club for creating a new team for disabled under 15 year-olds after receiving a £3,000 grant. 

Commenting, Michael said:

“The money will help improve public health and participation in sport, and it’s great that disabled young people will be able to join the new Under-15s team.  I hope they have a fantastic season.”


Michael pays respects to local heroes at unveiling of Afghanistan memorial

17 July 2015












Michael attended the dedication service in St Marys Gardens adjacent to St Marys Church of a memorial plaque to three local men; Captain Martin Driver (1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, Pte Matthew Thornton (4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment) and Marine David Marsh (40 Commando Royal Marines) who died whilst on active service in Afghanistan.

The plaque, commissioned by Barnsley Council’s Armed Forces Champion Cllr Joe Hayward, was unveiled by Barnsley Mayor, Councillor Brian Mathers.

Joining Michael were relatives and friends of the men, Dan Jarvis MP and Angela Smith MP, Cllr Sir Steve Houghton, Leader of Barnsley Council and other local councillors plus representatives of the Royal British Legion including Aubrey Martin-Wells

The service was conducted by Father David Nicholson.

Speaking after the unveiling Michael said: “It was an honour today to pay tribute to three brave young men from the Borough of Barnsley who gave their lives in the defence of freedom.  We will remember them”


Michael attends launch of BIADS fundraising calendar

17 July 2015

As patron of Barnsley Independent Alzheimer's and Dementia Support (BIADS), Michael attended the launch of a fundraising calendar at their Dementia Support Centre on Dodworth Road.

The  calendar, inspired by the Rylstone & District WI ‘Calendar Girls’, has been created as a fun way of raising money for BIADS.  Nine carers took part along with a BIADS’ volunteer, a member of staff and a Memory Team member.  The calendar photographs were taken by keen amateur photographer Dave Oughton, who has been diagnosed with dementia, with Dave’s wife Pam raising the money for the first print run by doing a sponsored slim. 

At the same event a Just Giving campaign was launched, designed to raise £20,000 to secure a vital befriending service.

Operations Manager Margaret Mason said: “We’re thrilled that the ladies from our Friday drop-in have taken time to do this for us.  We really appreciate their hard work as most of them are carers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but what really makes this calendar so special is that Dave has done such a fantastic job and has shown that life goes on after a diagnosis of dementia.

I would also like to ask people to support our Just Giving appeal to raise funds for our vital befriending service.  We have been looking for ways of finding the money to enable this to continue after current funds run out in July, so we are relying on this campaign to be a great success and allow us to continue providing support to Barnsley people.”

Commenting Michael said: “This calendar is a brilliant way of supporting BIADS.  If you purchase one of these calendars you’ll not only help a great local charity but be reminded of the brilliant work performed by BIADS all year round.”


'Thousands will be worse off'

17 July 2015

In his regular column for the Barnsley Chronicle, Michael delivered his verdict on last week's budget, highlighting that over 5,000 working families in Barnsley East will be worse off and 300 18-21 yr. olds in Barnsley could lose out on receiving any Housing Benefit.

To read the column in full click here.


Michael Tells Government: “Don’t Pull The Plug”

16 July 2015

At the regular Transport Questions in the House of Commons today, Michael called on the Transport Secretary not to pull the plug on the electrification of train lines in the North and Midlands, after the Government broke its pre-election promises to do so.

Speaking from the Despatch Box, Michael demanded that the Government honours its promises to electrify the key rail lines and that they come clean on how exactly the decision to ‘pause’ these vital projects was reached.

Labour has today launched the Don’t Pull The Plug Petition, which you can sign here.
You can see Michael’s question to the Secretary of State for Transport in full below by scrolling to 09:47:42.


Michael’s praise for Heart Surgery Unit

15 July 2015

As reported in Barnsley News and Sport, Michael has praised the Children’s Heart Surgery Unit at Leeds General Infirmary after new figures show that over 500 operations a year are now carried out on site. The figures were released by the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund.

The unit is currently under a review which will make a recommendation on its future, after a previous review was found to be based on a flawed analysis of the unit’s performance. The news that over 500 procedures are now carried out annually is a positive step which increases the likelihood that the unit will remain open.

Michael has been campaigning since 2011 for the Leeds Children’s Heart Unit to remain open and throughout this process he and families in Barnsley have made it clear just how important the Children’s Heart Unit at Leeds is to them. It provides access to nearly 14 million people within 2 hours travel time, including 5.5 million people in Yorkshire & the Humber.

Commenting, Michael said:

“It is a welcome development to see the Children’s Heart Unit at Leeds performing to such a high standard and I know that many of my constituents have benefited from the excellent service at the facility.

“After all of the uncertainty over the future of Leeds Children’s Heart Unit, I hope that the current review into the provision of children’s cardiac services will recognise the great job that the unit is doing for people across Yorkshire and secure its future.”


Barnsley East CLP Summer BBQ

12 July 2015

On Saturday 11 July, Michael hosted the annual Barnsley East CLP Summer BBQ with special guest Tom Watson MP, the former party campaigns co-ordinator, author of 'Dial M for Murdoch' and leading candidate for the deputy leadership.

For information about Tom's campaign for the deputy leadership click here.


Michael writes in the Daily Mirror on Labour’s future and supporting Andy Burnham

11 July 2015

Michael has written in today’s Daily Mirror about the need for Labour to remember why it lost the election, and the importance of learning from these mistakes to win in 2020.

Trust on key issues like economic credibility and immigration are essential to win elections, and Michael writes that Andy Burnham is the only Labour leadership candidate who is prepared to face up to these difficult challenges.

You can read Michael’s piece in full here.


Over 5,000 Barnsley East families hit by budget

10 July 2015

As reported on We Are Barnsley and Barnsley News and Sport, Michael has criticised the Tory Government’s budget as bad for Barnsley. Figures now show the extent of the damage that the budget will cause to family finances.

The Chancellor has launched a fresh crackdown on child tax credits, with working families set to lose out. There are 5,200 working families with children who claim tax credits in the Barnsley East constituency who will be affected by this. 69 per cent of families receiving tax credit in Barnsley East have children in them, which means that families with children will have less money at the end of the month and less financial security under the changes.

The budget is also damaging for aspirational young people, with grants for students from low-income families to be scrapped. Barnsley already has fewer young people that go on to university than other parts of the country, with just 23 per cent of people from Barnsley East going on to study at university.

On top of all this, public sector pay is set to be frozen for four years from 2016, which will severely restrict growth in disposable income for public sector workers in Barnsley. This fresh squeeze comes after years of public sector pay restraint.

Commenting, Michael said:

“With young people, working families and public sector workers all losing out under this Tory budget, it’s clearly bad for Barnsley.

“We need to help young people get the best possible start in life by investing in high quality apprenticeships and training. Instead, by scrapping university grants, this Tory Government is pulling the rug from under young people’s feet before they have had a chance to succeed.

“It’s working families who are bearing the brunt of this Government’s cuts to welfare, with nearly 7 out of 10 families in Barnsley East who receive tax credits having children in them.

“On top of this, public sector pay is set to be frozen for four years from 2016, which will mean a decade of pay cuts for nurses, teaching staff, police and other vital public sector workers.

“At the same time, the Government will cut inheritance tax, spending nearly a billion pounds by 2020 to help just 26,000 wealthy people in the country.”



Michaels's concern after a local medical centre closes

10 July 2015

As reported by the Barnsley Chronicle and the Sheffield Star, Michael has expressed concern after Shafton Medical centre closed suddenly on 1 July, with many local patients having to travel to Brierley for medical appointments instead.

Commenting Michael said: "Any switch in practices must be temporary and plans need to be drawn up swiftly for a permanent facility in Shafton"


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