The Prime Minister has unexpectedly called an early General Election, to be held on June 8th. In doing so she has nakedly put her own interest ahead of the national interest. There is little appetite locally for another election, and most people tell me they just want the Government to buckle down and get on with things following last year’s referendum. She has also needlessly wasted thousands of pounds of taxpayer’s money by not calling it for the same day as the County Council and Mayoral elections on May 4th .
However, this is a poor Government and I welcome the chance to make the case against it. At home it has left the NHS in crisis, schools facing outrageous cuts, and unprecedented numbers of people seeing their family budgets squeezed. It's treatment of people with ill-health and disabilities is shameful. Local councils have seen their budgets all but destroyed. It has recklessly prioritised huge cuts in inheritance tax and corporation tax over measures which could help people in work and running small businesses. Abroad, they have embarrassed the country by cosying up to Trump.
I am also very proud of my local campaigning work as our MP. We have seen real progress made towards sorting out the congestion in Longdendale, with electrification of the trans-pennine rail line, and at Tameside Hospital after we demanded the resignation of the former Chief Executive. I relish using my position in Parliament to raise local matters, from individual pieces of casework to support for manufacturing jobs, the armed forces, and special educational needs, especially autism. I also take very seriously the duty of being an ambassador for our area, be it at important occasions like Remembrance Sunday or when we face difficult moments in the national spotlight, such as the terrible police murders in Mottram.
I am and always have been a Labour man, but I try to speak for all constituents. I am one of the leading advocates within Parliament of a move to a fairer voting system so that all votes count in elections.
Therefore I am proud to be standing to be the Labour and Cooperative Member of Parliament for the Stalybridge and Hyde constituency at the election, and look forward to making the case for a better deal for Stalybridge, Hyde, Mossley, Longdendale and Dukinfield. Despite the Tories’ secret plans for this election, they don't even appear to have actually chosen a candidate for our constituency – though at least their plans to split us up and put Hyde in with Marple will now take a back seat.
One small but important detail: as soon as Parliament is dissolved I will not be an MP (because there will be no MPs) and so any casework and correspondence has to cease until the election is over. This means I won't be able to use my office or hold surgeries etc. More details about these arrangements will be available in the next few days though.
I very much appreciate all of the pledges of support and volunteering I have received so far, and I very much look forward to seeing you on the campaign trail soon.
If you would like to volunteer your time, please click here.