STALYBRIDGE and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds has used his first speech in Parliament to praise the heroism and courage of those serving in the armed forces.
Mr Reynolds made his maiden speech (Wednesday 26 May, 2010), on the eve of the funeral of Cpl Harvey Holmes, from Hyde, who served in the Mercian Regiment.
He paid tribute to Cpl Holmes who was killed while serving in Afghanistan "fighting to bring some of the freedoms we enjoy in this country to a troubled part of the world".
And he told the House: I wish to use this opportunity to record my admiration, and gratitude, to men and women like Corporal Holmes for their outstanding devotion and service to their country.
"It seems to me that, in a world where a person can be described as a hero for a performance on a sports pitch, or appearance on a television talent show, we so often forget the true meaning of words like heroism and courage.
"In my time in this House, I will never forget their true meaning, and hope always be known as a friend of this country’s armed forces."
In his maiden speech Mr Reynolds also paid tribute to the commitment of former MP the Rt Hon James Purnell to the regeneration of the constituency and the people living in it.
He said: "Most of all James has my admiration for always being a politician prepared to deal in the business of ideas.
"At times British politics can appear to run on orthodoxies, and those people, like James, who can see beyond that, should be cherished. I believe this House will miss him."
Mr Reynolds spoke of the need for the government to tackle poverty and inequality in constituencies, ensuring that they were able to compete in a changing world. And he ended by speaking about the need to reform government itself.
"I first came to this House as a student on a trip from my college, and it impressed in me a sense of wonder that has stayed with me ever since," he said.
"It is my sincere regret that its reputation, and that of politics generally, has been so diminished by the events of the last few years.
"We as members of this new parliament have a great deal of work to do repair some of the damage. This will not only involve how we conduct ourselves as individuals, but how we go about reforming our entire political system.
"And I believe this House needs to make sure that, in a world dominated by coverage of the Executive branch of government, we do not forget the supremacy of Parliament and how it can be used to enable a national dialogue on matters of national contention.
"I believe this House needs to remember that on many issues, cross-party co-operation will yield results much faster than exaggerated dividing lines.
"And I also believe this House needs to make real progress towards reforming the House of Lords, and to take seriously the opportunity to amend the voting system that sends us all here to the Commons;
"But most of all, I believe what this great House needs is great parliamentarians. Mr. Deputy Speaker, in my time in parliament, it will be my humble aspiration to attempt to be one."
You can read the full text of Jonathan's first parliamentary speech by clicking here.
Published Thursday 27 May, 2010