BURMESE pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi made history as the first woman – excluding The Queen – to address both Houses of Parliament, on Thursday.
Her 30-minute address – to members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords – focussed on the nature of democracy. And it included an appeal to Britain and the world beyond to support the people of Burma.
Ms Suu Kyi – who was detained under house arrest in Burma for more than 20 years – is leader of the National League for Democracy Party in Burma.
On April 1 her party took 40 seats in the Burmese Government, making her leader of the Opposition.
Following her speech in Westminster Hall, Stalybridge and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds said: “Aung San Suu Kyi has battled for democracy in her country for more than 20 years.
“Her fight has been one of self-sacrifice, of patience and of courage – and she is an inspiration to us all.
“I am delighted that she was invited to address both Houses of Parliament – and I am proud to have been able to hear her speak.”
During her visit to Europe – the first she has made outside Burma since 1988 - she also collected a Nobel Prize in Norway and an honorary civil law doctorate from Oxford University, where she had been a student in the 1960s.
Others to have been granted the honour of making an address to both Houses have been French President Charles de Gaulle, South African President Nelson Mandela, American President Barack Obama and Pope Benedict XVI.
Ms Suu Kyi is the first person to be invited make the address who is not a head of State.
Published 22 June, 2012
THREE students from Greater Manchester were given an insight into life in Parliament, after MP Jonathan Reynolds received a request to show them around.
Mr Reynolds first met with a group of students from Xaverian College, in Rusholme, when he took part in a Parliamentary outreach day at their college, last year.
During the event, organised by the Speaker of the House of Commons as part of a drive to make Parliament more accessible, students fired questions at a panel of politicians, including Mr Reynolds.
Their final question was whether Mr Reynolds would visit them at their college. And Mr Reynolds was so impressed by their proactive approach that he invited them to Westminster to see how parliament works.
On Tuesday a group of three students from the college travelled to London to meet with Mr Reynolds.
As well as a tour of Parliament, the students got the chance to see debates in the House of Commons and the House of Lords. And they also met with a series of politicians – including Sir Gerald Kaufman, Luciana Berger and David Miliband.
Following the visit, Mr Reynolds said: “Finding ways to engage young people in politics is really important – and I was delighted to be able to host a visit to Parliament by this group of students.
“Clearly as politics students they already know a great deal about how our democracy works, but I hope this visit gave them a real insight into the practicalities of Parliament.
“I am committed to visiting as many schools in the constituency as possible to talk directly to students, but it was good to be able to offer this small group of students this additional experience.”
Published 20 June, 2012
GOVERNMENT plans for careers advice in schools to be delivered through a telephone helpline have been slammed by MP Jonathan Reynolds MP.
Currently schools are required by law to offer careers advice to students, to help them determine what to do when they leave school and how to achieve it - but there is no requirement for that guidance to be offered face to face.
Government plans for careers advice to be delivered through an online and telephone support service, have sparked fears that opportunities for face to face careers advice may become more limited.
And in the House of Commons today (Monday 18 June, 2012) Stalybridge and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds said this would be a “mistake”.
“If Government Ministers are serious about social mobility, they have to be serious about careers advice too,” said Mr Reynolds, following the exchange in Education Questions.
“It is no good the Government lamenting the fact that too few young people in constituencies like Stalybridge and Hyde go on to take top jobs in Law, politics and even journalism, if they are not willing to give them the tools they need to get there.
“Quality careers guidance is crucial to social mobility. It offers young people the information and encouragement they need to pursue the professions and careers that would be right for them.
“But to be really effective it must be delivered one-to-one by professionals who have an understanding of the student’s capabilities, personality and expected outcomes, academic or otherwise.
“Careers advice fails if it does not encourage academically-gifted students to consider a wider range of options that looks beyond the experiences of their families and friends.
“And it is equally counter-productive if it advises a young person who will struggle to pass their GCSEs on the best route to become a surgeon.
“Yet without the detailed information about pupils available in a school, without the opportunity to meet face to face, there is a risk that the advice will not be good enough.
“Already there are suggestions that careers guidance needs to be better – but moving advice to an online or telephone support service will do nothing to improve the advice on offer.
“To be effective our careers guidance must be personalised and carefully targeted. These Government proposals – which fail to recognise the importance of face-to-face advice - are a mistake.”
In a recent survey by the CBI, 68 per cent of employers say the general quality of careers advice is still not good enough.
But Mr Reynolds believes this is a reason to improve what is on offer. And with 60 per cent of respondents in the same survey saying they would like to play a greater role in delivering careers advice he believes there is plenty of scope for improvement.
Mr Reynolds raised the issue during Questions to the Secretary of State for Education on Monday 18 June, 2012.
Published 20 June, 2012.
MP Jonathan Reynolds has written a short guide to the economy – entitled ‘jobs, growth and the deficit’ – after being contacted by residents who wanted to know more.
While out in the Stalybridge and Hyde constituency, Mr Reynolds is asked about the economy more than anything else.
So – in response to their residents questions and concerns – Mr Reynolds has drafted his own 12-page guide, entitled ‘Jobs, Growth and the Deficit’, designed to explain his own views and to help residents understand the background issues.
Mr Reynolds said: “Whether residents want to talk about rising unemployment, the price of their weekly shop or Government spending cuts, they know their concerns are rooted in the economy.
“But all too often residents then tell me frankly that politicians and commentators should be clearer about what they mean - and set out the facts so they can judge for themselves.
“That’s why I have drafted this short guide – that not only aims to outline my views but to help residents to understand some of the issues involved.
“Of course this won’t answer everyone’s questions or suddenly make anyone an expert in the economy, but I hope this will be the start of an on-going discussion.”
As well as making the guide available to constituents, Mr Reynolds is also looking at the possibility of an event that would enable constituents to explore issues associated with the economy, growth jobs and the deficit.
THOUSANDS of people celebrated the Diamond Jubilee with a series of street parties and events being held across Tameside.
MP Jonathan Reynolds was among those taking part in the event at Stamford Park, which also celebrated the opening of the park’s new Highfield Centre.
Entertainment at the park included stilt walkers, balloon modellers, story tellers, drama groups, bands and singers. But for many the highlight of the day was the chance to see the changes to the park, completed as part of a £5million refurbishment programme.
Following the event, Stalybridge and Hyde MP Mr Reynolds said: “The Diamond Jubilee weekend really brought communities together, not only in Tameside but across the country.
“There were a significant number of street parties, where – in some cases - neighbours have met each other for the first time. And in many cases the celebrations have recognised the achievements and commitment of those who have dedicated much of their lives to the service of others.
“In Stamford Park the Jubilee celebrations were also the first time many people had seen the full extent of the £5million refurbishment programme – including the opening of the new pavilion.
“The programme of events across Tameside was a wonderful opportunity for families to enjoy and for communities to celebrate together.
“Many hundreds of people will remember how they celebrated the Diamond Jubilee for many years to come – but I hope the true legacy will be communities made stronger by coming together with a common purpose.”
Across Tameside organised events to mark the Diamond Jubilee were held in King George V Playing Fields, Ashton; Lees Park, Droylsden; the Lymefield Centre, Broadbottom; Mossley; Park Bridge Heritage Centre and Victoria Park, Denton.
Highlights across the borough included ‘royal jesters’, craft workshops, face painting, bouncy castle, live music, song and dance, Punch and Judy, a teddy bear treasure hunt – and even a climbing wall and an assault course.
Published 18 June, 2012