Monthly Archives: June 2017

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2017 Miners’ Gala – 133 years of a strong socialist community

Durham is approaching that time of the year again when all the brass bands are ready to march and people are booking up hotels. In fact, this year there are expected to be around 200,000 attendants, meaning that hotels have been sold out and camping has taken over, this could be the biggest gala yet.

The Gala has a long tradition of significant Labour figures attending, MPs such as Tony Benn and Dennis Skinner have spoken to the crowds. Moreover, previous potential labour leaders, in 2015 Liz Kendall, Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham, have turned out but the star of this year’s show will clearly be Jeremy Corbyn. Jeremy is following a long line of Labour leaders to attend, Clement Atlee, Harold Wilson and Michael Foot who all met the crowds. Corbyn has clearly moved back to the grassroots campaigning of an older Labour and is not following the same line as Blair or Brown who notably did not attend. Corbyn’s recent spike in popularity is the clear reason for the expected rise in attendance this year.

The Gala is a highly significant cultural event, not only in Durham or the North East but the whole country. The Gala attracts music from around the country and even sometimes as wide as Europe but perhaps more significant is the wide reach to unions. Union leaders such as Tosh McDonald, Len McCluskey and Arthur Scargill have attended. This sums up the Miners’ Gala, it centres around unions and focuses on workers’ rights. Unison, Unite, RMT, NUT and many more unions turnout in force making it the worlds’ largest trade union event. This is of particular significance when union membership has dropped this year, this is a chance for the Labour Party and others to revive the movement that was so central to their foundation. This is Corbyn’s chance to consolidate on his work that has helped unions and workers’ rights return to the mainstream political agenda.

This Gala should be one to remember, with the strongest Labour Party we have had in years, out in force, this is the time when we can make change. Durham Day is a time to celebrate the success we have had in the recent election and a time to add more energy to our campaign.

Durham Miners’ Gala is on the 8th July, don’t forget to go along to the Labour Tea Tent and watch the speeches at mid-day.

To find out more go to http://www.durhamminers.org/news

To look at camping follow this link: CLICK HERE TO BOOK CAMPING AT DURHAM MINERS’ GALA 2017

 

Armed Forces Day

It is an honour to speak here today as the duly elected Member of Parliament for Easington and I am delighted to declare my support for our Forces, serving personnel and veterans and their families on Armed Forces Day. It is wonderful that we have a day that recognises the hard work, bravery and commitment of the forces community but of course we need to be supporting them all year round and the Governments must ensure that our Armed Forces are getting a fair deal on pay, welfare, housing and services.

This year marks two important anniversaries, the 35th anniversary of the Falklands War and the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele. The latter conflict saw over 250,000 British soldiers killed and of course we should never forget the 225 British soldiers and airmen that lost their lives while serving their country in the South Atlantic Falklands conflict. The contributions of these brave men and women must be remembered which is why days and events like this one today are absolutely paramount.

I often think MPs in the Houses of Parliament are too quick to put our servicemen and women in harms way without ensuring they have the necessary and appropriate equipment for the job they are asked to do. We must also ensure that when our men and women come back from active duty they are properly supported and that includes ongoing medical care and supported housing where there needs requirement, including when they leave the services. It is an disgrace that as many as 9000 veterans are homeless and living on the streets. Veterans are a huge part if the Forces community and I am backing the proposal of several measures to support service personal in the transition back to civilian life and to legislate against discrimination against veterans. No-one, man or woman, should face discrimination for their service in our Armed Forces.

Although we have a great team of dedicated volunteers locally, I am supporting the calls for the creation of a Veterans’ Register. This would mean no ex-servicemen or women coming out of the services fall through the net and no-one is left to fend for themselves. The problems faced by veterans should not be underestimated; suffering from PTSD and other medical problems due to their service can be particularly hard and we should work together to support them after their outstanding work for our country. I also support proposals for a Veterans’ Interview Programme which is designed to work with employers and businesses to guarantee a job interview for ex-service personnel. I further offer my support for the Homes Fit for Heroes initiative which will offer free home insulation to disabled veterans and will continue to encourage business, local authorities and community groups to sign up to the Armed Forces Covenant. We can work together to welcome back our servicemen and women and treat them with the respect they deserve.

The Armed Forces Pay Review Body must be allowed to make recommendations on pay rises for our Armed Forces. There has been additional pressure put on the incomes of Forces families from increases in National Insurance, changes in tax credits and increases in rental charges for those in Service Family Accommodation. It is vital that a career in the Armed Forces continues to provide for those in it and that it is attractive to our best and brightest. Crucial to this is ensuring that our Service Personnel are properly paid for the work they do. We have seen historically high outflow rates and recruitment and retention problems in specific vocations, particularly pilots and engineers. We need to re-examine retention and recruitment policies in order to combat this. We must work together to push for a better deal for those in our Armed Forces.

Finally, I want to praise the hard work of our councillors like Dave McKenna and his team, it is easy to forget how time consuming and difficult it is to organise an event for Armed Forces Day. Without their efforts Armed Forces Day simply wouldn’t be possible; so I thank them for that.

Thank you for your kind attention.

 

Grahame Morris pledges to be an arthritis champion

Grahame Morris has pledged to work alongside leading charity, Arthritis Research UK to represent the thousands of people in Easington living every day with the pain of arthritis.

Arthritis is the single biggest cause of disability and pain across the country with 10 million people living with arthritis. and other musculoskeletal conditions such as back pain. The pain, fatigue and lack of mobility caused by arthritis affects every aspect of a person’s life, making everyday tasks such as making a cup of tea, travelling to work or getting out of bed extremely difficult.

As well as the personal impact, these conditions amount to the third largest area of NHS spending, with an annual budget of £4.8 billion, and are the cause of one in five working days lost in the UK.

Grahame Morris has pledged to support Arthritis Research UK’s Prevent, Transform, Cure manifesto in Parliament as an Arthritis Champion, which calls for:

  • Making arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions a public health priority
  • Ensuring people have timely access to health and care services that enable them to improve their musculoskeletal health
  • Ensure people with arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions have fair and timely access to services that support them to be in work, including financial support
  • Protect the UK’s position as a global leader in science and sustain the benefits of the life-science sector to the economy 

Speaking about becoming an arthritis champion, Grahame said:

I’m proud to champion Arthritis Research UK’s policy calls to tackle the prevention, transformation and cure of arthritis. We need to put the issues affecting people with arthritis at the forefront of Parliament’s agenda.

“I’m committed to making a difference. Together we can fight this painful condition that has such a huge impact on all aspects of people’s lives in Easington.”

Dr Liam O’Toole, chief executive officer of Arthritis Research UK, said:

“I’m delighted that Grahame has become an Arthritis Champion. It’s imperative that we have the support of as many MPs and Peers as possible to stand up for the rights of people with arthritis.

“There needs to be a public health approach focusing on preventing arthritis, transforming services and finding a cure for the 10 million people affected by this devastating condition. It’s vital we work together to make life better for everyone affected by arthritis.”

For further information visit www.arthritisresearchuk.org/campaign or email action@arthritisresearchuk.org

It’s time to take the fight to the Tories!

It has been a whirlwind of an election campaign and I’m extremely privileged to be back in Parliament!

This election was quite clearly a rejection of cruel Tory policies and sent a message that they are not welcome in the North.

I have waited my whole political life to stand on the 2017 Labour Manfiesto and it humbles me that so many people agree that we need a Britain that works for the many, not the few.

Labour won seats we didn’t expect to win, Stockton South, Canterbury and Kensington to name but a few. However the fight continues as the Conservatives are attempting to force through a Queen’s speech with the help of the DUP.

This simply cannot work, and if there is another General election soon, then we must be prepared.

I am ready to hit the ground running and hold this Tory Government to account on behalf of all of the good people of Easington. Bring it on…