Last week Wirral MPs Alison McGovern and Frank Field attended a meeting at the Department for Health to raise the plight of their young constituents who have both received a diagnosis of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma otherwise known as DIPG
Alison and Frank met with the Under Secretary of State for Health Lord O’Shaughnessy to bring to his attention the cases of Lucy Moroney and Edie Molyneux. Both children are from the Wirral and are battling against DIPG which is a form of brain tumour.
Lucy and Edie have both received local and national coverage in the press for campaigns to send them to Mexico. The Wirral community have got behind both of them to help fund treatment in Mexico.
Mexico offers treatment for DIPG that isn’t available in the UK which means Lucy and Edie have to travel with their families all the way to Mexico to undergo treatment there. Their families believe this treatment offers the best chance for them.
Speaking about Lucy and Edie Alison said: “I have met with both the parents of Lucy and Edie and their situation is heart breaking. Receiving such a diagnosis is devastating and the families haven’t only had to deal with this but they have also needed to fundraise to travel all the way to Mexico for treatment. They explained to me how hard this has been for them.
Adding: “Wirral people will have been following Lucy’s and Edie’s stories in the local media and I want to thank them for getting behind the fundraising efforts. I wanted to raise the issue of treatment for DIPG with the government. I believe it is really important the government look at this issue and I want the government to explore what can be done to help not just Lucy and Edie but other children facing the same situation.”
Edie’s MP Frank Field said: “Alison and I have been so touched by the experiences of Edie, Lucy and their families. We are now really anxious, having shared those experiences with the Minister, to ensure the Government follows up our request for the NHS to contribute the remainder of the sums required to cover all the costs associated with their treatment. The contributions made so far by Wirral residents have been stunning. We now need the Government’s efforts to be equally stunning in meeting what is left of the shortfall.’
Last week Wirral MPs Alison McGovern and Frank Field attended a meeting at the Department for Health to raise the plight of their young constituents who have both received a...
New Ferry/New Beginnings
I want to start the New Ferry update by letting everyone know how hard New Beginnings have been working to get their new building ready before opening to the public next month. I know they have been working tirelessly and that they will benefit the community a lot once it is set up. They will offer services including counselling for people who were impacted by the blast. We also have the Phab Hub in New Ferry which does great work to support the community. Wirral Council have submitted the further information to accompany the regeneration plans to the government. If you remember the government requested further information before they would respond I have sent a letter to the government along with Metro Mayor Steve Rotherham urging them to help now that they have all the information from the local authority. I have also invited people to get in touch if they want to share their views with Sajid Javid. The council updated residents and businesses about this at recent meeting. The police also updated residents at the meeting on the investigation with the defendants set to appear in court in April.
It was a pleasure to be interviewed by both Birkenhead School and Bebington High School for their BBC School reports project. Students from both schools conducted interviews with me about my role as an MP for the initiative which gives pupils from school a chance to make their own news and I was very impressed with them. I look forward to seeing the final interviews. It was a great to welcome Wirral Grammar School for Boys to Westminster recently following their tour of Parliament. I caught up with them afterwards to talk about their tour and the workings of Westminster. This month I also spoke about Bebington High School in the House of Commons during a debate on numeracy and Literacy. I have been meeting with the school regularly. The issue I raised was the lack of government resources put in to education in Wirral. Minister for Nick Gibb agreed to meet with me about the specific case of Bebington High School. I want every pupil in Wirral to be receiving excellent education and I know the schools do a marvellous job. I wanted to address government funding and this is why I raised it in the House.
Centenary of women getting the vote
This month marked 100 years since women were first given the vote in the UK. The Representation of the People Act gave the right to women over 30 who owned a property and as time has gone on that has extended to all women over today’s voting age which is 18. There has been a lot going on to mark the centenary in Parliament and around the country to remember the struggle that our previous generations went through for the future generations. It’s quite hard to imagine for women now not being able to have this right but for so many women it was a reality. We should always remember the sacrifice of the suffragettes to give us the ability to have a say in how we are represented in Parliament and use this opportunity to see how we can carry on to increase equality in our Parliament and our society. There is still progress to be made around equality. I gave an interview to Radio Merseyside to talk about the centenary and the significance of it and what life is like being a female MP in these current times. It is important that all our future generations know the history and the sacrifice that was made. We will never know where women would be now without that struggle with the authorities and with Parliament for the right to vote.
Contaminated blood Urgent Question
There was an urgent question held in the House of Commons on the 29 January put forward by my Labour colleague Diana Johnson MP regarding the contaminated blood scandal. Diana is leading on this issue and I was in the chamber to hear the Urgent Question and to take part in the debate. I have met privately with a family who lost their son because of contaminated blood and I raised their own experience during this debate. They spoke candidly about their experience. The Urgent Question focussed on an inquiry and the delay in establishing a chair to lead it. I will continue to follow any developments in this case. I would also continue to want to speak to anybody who has been affected if they want to come and see me.
We need more transparency from the government about the economic impact of Brexit and what the government’s own assessment is showing. People have a right to know about the national and regional impact. The embarrassing leak of analysis to Buzzfeed a few weeks ago just highlights the transparency that the government seems to be hindering. It’s important we have a clear idea of what the impact will be and what the government’s own analysis is showing. The British public deserves to know what studies are showing about the impact of Brexit. I spoke in a debate about this matter in the House of Commons when Kier Stammer raised it. The Brexit fact bus was in Liverpool today. The bus aims to counteract the bus used by the Leave campaign in the referendum and the infamous statement about funding for the NHS in the event of a leave vote. I was pleased that the bus visited our region and gave a counter-argument to the claims by the likes of Boris Johnson. On January the 29 in Parliament, there was an event which I helped host with invited guest Yanis Varoufakis. The event was well attended and I was also joined by my colleagues Heidi Alexander and Chuka Umunna. Yanis Varoufakis is a Greek economist and he made a valuable input to the discussion regarding the future relations of the UK with Europe in terms of a trading relationship. As part of my work for Britain to remain in the single market I am calling for members and supporters to have more of a say on Labour’s Brexit policy by establishing a dedicated policy commission on Brexit. I am calling on the National Executive Committee to set up such a policy commission and I am encouraging people to share their comments on Brexit if they should wish to do. I think it’s important that they are given the opportunity to do so. In excess of 16,000 responded to the request to share their views on Brexit. I think this shows that people in the Labour Party do want to be listened to about Brexit.
There’s been an escalation in the conflict in Syria. We know the attacks in Syria are merciless and that innocent civilians are suffering every day with attacks on the most vulnerable in places which should be safe havens such as hospitals. It’s a desperate situation. I have written an article on the current situation in Syria. I have also asked a question in the House of Commons when the chamber discussed the use of chemical weapons in Syria. My question was about what we can do to monitor and collect evidence for the crimes committed against civilians.
Organ donation Private Members Bill
I was in Parliament today for the second reading of this Bill. The Bill has been put forward by Labour MP Geoffrey Robinson and aims to change the system in England to an opt-out system. The current law means that a person has to opt-in to be a donor in the event of their death so this would make a huge difference if it became law. It would mean that everyone is considered an organ donor unless they state otherwise. Organ donation saves lives and I am happy to support this Bill. It’s an important issue and I know this matters to a lot of people. We need more donors and this Bill is a way to achieve this happening. The Bill is supported by the likes of the British Heart Foundation. The Bill passed its second reading which was good news and I was happy I was there to support it.
Other visits and updates
Last Friday I visited Chester Labour students to talk about women in politics and the barriers yet to be broken. I had a really good time with the students and applaud them on a great event. I also went to launch of Imagine Wirral to find out about Wirral Council plans for culture and creativity in the borough over the next year. The launch took place at Birkenhead Town Hall and included speeches from Cllr Christine Spriggs, the Chief Executive Eric Robinson and Council Leader Phil Davies. Wirral has a brilliant cultural heritage and it will be exciting to celebrate and build on this. There was some great entertainment on the night as well which I really enjoyed. Some time ago I took part in a student project which looked at the economic impact of the Port Sunlight River Park. I have been told that positive results came out of this showing that there has been positive findings. I will be continuing my work alongside the park as Chair of the committee and I just wanted to put on record the welcome findings from the study. I am waiting for brochures detailing this study but if you’d like to see one please get in touch. The volunteers work incredibly hard at the park and do activities such as litter picking for the local area. There is New Ferry Big Spring Clean coming up on the 3rd March meeting at Mayfields Car Park at 10am if anyone would like to take part. It was a pleasure to visit Birch Tree Manor this month in Port Sunlight to talk about care with the residents there. I was invited along for Dignity in Action Day. Care and looking after our elderly population is a really important issue. Care is not just taking care of somebody’s needs but also treating them with compassion and empathy. This was the main aspect of the discussion. I gave a speech about this and then discussed it with residents afterwards. I visit care homes and residential homes regularly to discuss issues such as care and this is something I will continue to do.
New Ferry/New Beginnings I want to start the New Ferry update by letting everyone know how hard New Beginnings have been working to get their new building ready before opening...
Eastham Walk in Centre
I was very pleased to see Eastham’s Walk in Centre reopen this month. I attended the celebration event on the 2 December and I want to thank all campaigners for helping to get this vital service reopened. I also want to thank them for organising the celebration event. The tireless work put into campaigning and the subsequent news about the opening is a great victory. The opening hours at present are Monday-Friday 1-5 and Saturday and Sunday 12-4pm with the centre expected to fully re-open in May. I have been joining Labour spokesperson for Eastham Jo Bird on campaign session to speak to Eastham residents about the walk in centre and any other issues that they wanted to raise with us.
Vauxhall Motors in Ellesmere Port
This month it was reported about further job losses at Vauxhall in Ellesmere Port. Since the PSA group took over Vauxhall there have been a number of debates that have taken place in Parliament. Vauxhall is a crucial employer in Wirral which employs many of my constituents and many people will be concerned by the latest reports. This month I have raised my concerns about Vauxhall on two occasions in the House of Commons in relation to the impact of Brexit and leaving the single market. I worry about the consequences on employment including employment within the manufacturing industry. Here is my first intervention on Vauxhall after the job loss news broke and I followed this intervention with a second question a week later.
The Council hosted another meeting on the 15 January to brief residents and businesses about the latest situation. The council submitted regeneration plans and were awaiting an initial response from the government about whether they would fund these plans. I pressed Sajid Javid in Parliament to see where a reply was up to because the Council had been expecting to hear something back from them. Sajid Javid’s response to my question in Parliament was basically a swipe at Wirral Borough Council. I was angry about this because all people in New Ferry care about is knowing whether their town will be regenerated or not. Also Wirral Council have had a lot to deal with since the explosion. The damage caused meant that people were displaced from their homes and business couldn’t trade. That means a lot of work and time was and is still is required of the council to give attention to these issues and a lot of their resources were focussed on helping people and the town. The government came back asking for some further information from the council and they are working on this. Regarding the police investigation, there is an update and there have been charges brought against an individual and a gas company. This is a significant development which I welcome in terms of progress but it is important now that we leave this to be handled in the correct way by the correct people in the justice system. New Beginnings are working hard to prepare for the opening of their new base in the old Lloyds bank building on Bebington Road. When this opens they will offer a range of community services. I wish them luck with the future and look forward to working with them.
The EU Withdrawal Bill went through its report stage this month in the House of Commons and will now go to the House of Lords for scrutiny. The Bill passed the Commons because it gained the support of the majority of MPs. The Bill’s purpose is to repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and to legislate for Britain when the country leaves the EU. It has been the source of much debate since it was introduced to the Commons and MPs have put forward many amendments. It’s a very large piece of proposed legislation and one that will have important consequences. I am continuing my work to campaign for our country to remain a member of the single market. I have written an article with my colleague Heidi Alexander MP about Farage's calls for a second referendum. And about Donald Trump and why I think he backs a hard Brexit.
Food poverty Westminster Hall debate
Stephen Twigg MP for West Derby held a debate in Westminster Hall last week on the issue of food poverty in Merseyside. I attended this debate to listen to Stephen address the issue and support him in bringing this to attention. (Hansard copy of debate attached) I also contributed to the debate. My office is a food bank voucher collection point and it’s always upsetting when somebody comes in to ask for a food voucher mainly due to issues with their benefits and the rollout of universal credit. This is the point I raised in my intervention during the debate. Unfortunately, during January our office was used a number of occasions for food vouchers. It’s simply not acceptable for this to be happening and it was important that a debate focussed on this issue with a specific emphasis on Merseyside. The government must act to stop from happening and look at the impact that changes to benefits are having on people. You can read the debate and my contribution here
Thornton Hough Retirement Village application
I have objected to the plans for a retirement village to be built on greenbelt land in Thornton Hough. The plans have been submitted by English Care Villages. The grounds on which I objected the application include building on greenbelt land and the disruption caused by the initial construction to local traffic. I have also raised concerns about how Thornton Hough would cope with a new influx of residents given that it is a small village and the pressures that this would bring. I sent my objections to the Head of Planning David Ball for his consideration and will continue to be in touch with residents of Thornton Hough and surrounding areas going forward as we monitor developments about this planning application. I know a lot of my constituents are concerned about it and they have contacted me detailing these concerns.
Brackenwood school visit
I will be paying a visit to Brackenwood Primary School to hear about their Unicef campaign. It’s heartening to see children recognise the plights of other children in the case of the school project it is looking at the rights of refugee children. The children will hand me letters for me addressed for the attention of the Home Secretary so that I can deliver them to Parliament.
Second Reading of the ‘Fitness for Human Habitation’ Bill
Last Friday I was in Parliament for the Second Reading of the ‘Fitness for Human Habitation’ Private Member’s Bill put forward by Labour MP Karen Buck. I am usually in my constituency on a Friday but it was important for me to show my support for this Bill. The Bill aims to strengthen tenants’ rights with regards to properties which are hazardous and unhealthy and it has my full support. Of course people’s homes should be safe to live in. That should be a given. It should be expected that tenants live in habitable conditions and that if they don’t they can make a challenge to their landlord. Karen’s done great work with bringing this to the attention of the House and I congratulate her and I will continue to support the Bill. The Bill was officially backed by the government on the day.
All Parliamentary Party Group for Genocide Prevention
I chaired an event in Parliament for the All Parliamentary Group which focusses on the prevention of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity. It is so important that we all must learn lessons from the horrors of the past for the sake of future generations. Today we see still see persecution of innocent people in countries and work to prevent this from happening should never stop. The event focussed on calls for an Atrocity Prevention Centre to be to be established at the Holocaust Memorial which will be built in the shadow of Parliament. The calls came from Holocaust survivors who were present at the event.
From previous reports, you will know that I have been campaigning for a Hillsborough Law. It is a piece of legislation drafted by Lawyers and aims for public authorities and public servants to tell the truth. I have some meetings in Parliament about this and most recently one which included Jeremy Corbyn and he was very supportive. I will continue to work to make progress to get this Bill into legislation.
Eastham Walk in Centre I was very pleased to see Eastham’s Walk in Centre reopen this month. I attended the celebration event on the 2 December and I want to...
Alison McGovern presses Secretary of State for a response on New Ferry regeneration proposals
The Wirral South MP challenged the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid yesterday about New Ferry during his statement about local government funding.
Her intervention comes after Wirral Council submitted a regeneration plan to the government in November. The Secretary of State responded to Alison by putting the blame back onto Wirral Council without giving any sort of definite answer about when Wirral Council could expect to hear from the government.
Speaking of the response Alison said: “I am dismayed and angry at the Secretary of State’s response today. I was hoping for some positive developments. Ever since the explosion Wirral Borough Council have been working hard to help people who have been affected. People in New Ferry don’t want to have their town to be dragged into a blame game and they deserve more than empty answers from ministers. All they want is the help to regenerate their town following a devastating incident. The regeneration plan has been submitted by the Council and they are waiting on an initial response from the government before anything can move forward.
Adding: “People in New Ferry have already waited since March for help but the government has provided no support whatsoever. Wirral Borough Council, on the other hand, has provided more than £300,000 in funding following since the explosion. This is at a time when their budget has been seriously restrained by government. During the election, Jake Berry who is a Minister in Communities and Local Government gave a glimpse of hope to people when he paid a visit to New Ferry. Hopes were soon dashed though when the government decided to offer nothing in emergency relief. I and the Council are eagerly waiting for their response to the submitted plans.”
Alison McGovern presses Secretary of State for a response on New Ferry regeneration proposals The Wirral South MP challenged the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid...
Alison led a group of Eastham Walk-In Centre supporters to hand in 1874 strong petition to the Wirral Clinical Commisioning Group at their governing body meeting today. Alison addressed the CCG as she handed in the petition.
Commenting on the continuing campaign to re-open Eastham Walk-In Centre Alison said: "I was pleased to get the opportunity to say a few words and deliver this weighty petition of signatures on behalf of local residents which calls on the Wirral CCG to re-open the Eastham Walk-in Centre. Having listened to people since the closure was announced I know this is a vital community health service and that people are concerned and upset about it being closed.
Adding:"Campaigners have worked very hard to protest against the closure and highlight the issue locally and I thank them for this. I also thank all those who supported us by signing the petition. I invited Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth to meet with people who have been troubled by the closure. We know the closure has been described as temporary but until we get a re-opening date we will continue to demonstrate how much this service is missed and how important it is. I reiterated how valued this service is to the community this afternoon to the governing board. The CCG seemed to listen carefully to both myself and the other campaigners at their meeting."
Alison led a group of Eastham Walk-In Centre supporters to hand in 1874 strong petition to the Wirral Clinical Commisioning Group at their governing body meeting today. Alison addressed the CCG...
Jonathan Ashworth will visit Eastham on Monday 11 September to speak to Wirral people about the closure of the local NHS walk in centre service.
Jonathan was invited by Alison McGovern MP who is concerned that staff from this service have now relocated to help with the crisis at Arrowe Park meaning an end to the walk in centre at the clinic.
Speaking about the closure, Alison said “I am really concerned about this news and I have received many responses from constituents who also do not want to see this happen.
The Eastham Walk in Centre has served as a valuable NHS service in this part of the Wirral. I have championed Eastham Walk in Centre for seven years and I won’t give up on NHS services now. The CCG have had to take urgent steps to deal with the A&E crisis, and a shortage of qualified staff has led to this closure. Tory cuts, pay held down in the NHS, and a failure to train staff is the root cause, and we must hold the Government to account.
Adding: “Local Labour activists have already protested about this and I want to thank those have signed the petition against the closure. I look forward to welcoming Jonathan Ashworth who I know shares my concern about the removal of this important NHS service and the impact on the community. He has visited previously, and was so impressed by the staff and the service offered to patients.”
If you are interested in attending please arrive for 11 am at St David's United Reform Church Eastham. If you need any further information then please contact the office on 0151 645 6590. If you want to attend please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jonathan Ashworth will visit Eastham on Monday 11 September to speak to Wirral people about the closure of the local NHS walk in centre service. Jonathan was invited by Alison...
Following the news that the Eastham Walk in Centre is due to close Alison McGovern said: “I have spoken out publicly about my dismay at this decision already. I found out at the same time as the news became public and I was as shocked and concerned as everyone else who uses this service has been. I have received lots of contact on this from constituents who live locally and are really worried and angry about this. The local labour party have held a protest today which runs between 2pm this afternoon until the late evening and this will take place outside of the centre. There will be petitions available there for people to come along and sign. Please do go down and add your support to fight for Eastham walk in centre. I have previously championed this service and fought for it to remain open and I will continue to highlight the need for this service which is due to close today with the staff relocating to Arrowe Park.
Following the news that the Eastham Walk in Centre is due to close Alison McGovern said: “I have spoken out publicly about my dismay at this decision already. I found...
As a supporter for the UK to remain in the single market following the EU referendum Alison has recently launched a new website dedicated to this cause.
Alison has teamed up with fellow Labour MP Heidi Alexander ahead of Labour Party conference to launch the campaign and you can find all the details including how to become involved here
As a supporter for the UK to remain in the single market following the EU referendum Alison has recently launched a new website dedicated to this cause. Alison has teamed...
Alison is doing a tour of cafes around her constituency and wants to meet her constituents to discuss anything of their choosing.
This could be an issue that is affecting you personally, a local issue that is affecting you and your neighbours or a national issue that you want to share your opinion on.
The reason for the tour is to hear your views and hear about an issue you may need assistance with. It's not an appointment system and you can just turn up.
Cafes are great community spaces which can help combat loneliness and offer a space for local people to come together. Alison wants to meet you in a relaxed environment for an informal chat about political or local issues. Your conversation will be discreet and Alison will spend as much time with individuals as possible depending on the number of people attending each session of the tour.
Alison has already held three sessions but below are the up and coming dates
22 August 11 am Gorge'Us Tea Rooms Spital Road Bebington
24 August 11 am Blooming Skull Coffee New Ferry
29 August 10 am Claremont Farm Cafe
You don't need to book but if you have questions then do ring the office on 0151 645 6590.
You can check if Alison is your MP by giving the office a call to confirm with your postcode. All cafe visits will last two hours.
Alison is doing a tour of cafes around her constituency and wants to meet her constituents to discuss anything of their choosing. This could be an issue that is affecting you...
Alison has joined a group of 30 other MPs to urge the government to delay the rollout of universal credit in a letter to the Guardian newspaper.
The letter from the MPs appeared in the Guardian newspaper earlier this month. A copy of the letter appears below.
We are concerned about the Department for Work and Pensions’ proposed rollout of universal credit (UC) in our constituencies during November and December. There is a real worry that the introduction of UC at this time will cause extreme hardship for many people in vulnerable situations, exacerbated by the financial burdens of the festive period. We understand that the proposed changes were designed to make the social security system simpler, more reactive to individuals’ issues and more efficient. However, evidence from other parts of the country where UC has been introduced already, shows that it is far from the efficient system trailed. In many cases, recipients have had to wait seven weeks for payment of the benefits. This puts an incredible strain on individuals and we have seen in other areas an increased use of food parcels during this period. There are also issues around the removal of the severe disability premium, which leaves many disabled people in a precarious position. In addition, although there is a provision for crisis loans, the mandatory paying back of £150 in three lump sums of £50 adds a further strain on individuals who are already in a difficult financial situation. Overall, the rigid nature of this approach can exacerbate the debt of those in receipt of UC.
The current timetable will cause our residents severe hardship over the months which are most financially difficult. We urge David Gauke, secretary of state for work and pensions, to instruct his department not to roll this system out in November and December, but look to a date later in 2018.
Alison has joined a group of 30 other MPs to urge the government to delay the rollout of universal credit in a letter to the Guardian newspaper. The letter from...