Last month Parliament was particularly busy with the lead up to the summer recess. Lots of committee work on Statutory Instruments (amending legislation) as well as work on the Education Select Committee.
I’m particularly proud of the committee’s report which was published last week - “Into independence, not out of care: 16 plus care options”. It is by far one of the best pieces of work to which I have contributed in Parliament.
Another piece of work of which I am proud is the inquiry we held last year with the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, which looked at entitlements for our cared for young people. A fabulous response with well over 1,000 submissions from young people and professionals with several hundred young people attending workshops which I held over last summer.
The outcome was a series of recommendations which we are working incredibly hard to fulfil. Meetings this last month in relation to that report have been with Ofsted, The College of Social Work, The Chief Social Worker for England and various Ministers.
On the legislation front, the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill was brought forward by the Government as emergency legislation. I spent six months in a previous session on a pre-legislative scrutiny committee looking at the draft Communications Data Bill line by line. During that session we interviewed the Metropolitan Police, Sir Charles Farr from our security services, as well as a plethora of civil liberty groups and communications providers.
There was overwhelming evidence that we needed to give our security services the tools they need to do their job without tying one arm behind their back, but the challenge of any good legislation is a fine balance between freedoms and necessity. The bill which we have just passed in Parliament I believe does just that.
On the constituency home front we have seen excellent weather which has supported the Brighouse 40’s weekend, the Mytholmroyd Gala and Todmorden Agricultural Show to name but a few of the weekend events where we have held street surgeries.
The Tour de France weekend was an absolutely fantastic event with well over 200,000 people out on the streets on the Sunday enjoying the spirit and excitement of that which was ‘Our Olympics’ in the north. Over 1.8 billion people watched the race go through the Calder Valley worldwide and everything about the day showed the world just what a wonderful place it is we live in.
I spent much of Saturday attending pre-tour events in Mytholmroyd, Elland, Brighouse and Ripponden, whilst the day itself was spent first of all at the excellent Milestone in Ripponden having breakfast with constituents, then for the rest of the day at The Fleece where I was a guest presenter of the Sunday Politics Show, then watching the race with the Ripponden Lions. A fantastic, brilliant day where we were all incredibly proud to show off the Calder Valley at its best.
I was delighted to welcome the Education Minister, Liz Truss MP, to the Calder Valley. We visited the new maths provision at Rastrick High School and also the excellent apprenticeship programme at Hipperholme and Lightcliffe Day Nursery.
I also attended many local events over the last month with the annual Brighouse Brass Festival being memorable, as was a classical concert up at Walshaw Lodge with Margaret Bruce showing off her world class skills as a concert pianist.