Burnley MP Julie Cooper column: Brexit is a national scandal but that is no excuse for targeting my staff or office

Burnley MP Julie Cooper
Burnley MP Julie Cooper
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This week I must begin by congratulating Theresa May for reaching out across Parliament in a last ditch attempt to agree a deal.

Brexit has never been a Party political issue and she ought to have taken this action two years ago; if she had done so, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

Two years ago, Labour offered to help to establish a cross-party task force to deliver Brexit and the other parties would have come to the table had they been asked but they weren’t and our offer was refused.

I suppose, better late than never you might say and the talks are a welcome step however the early indications are that Theresa May is refusing to budge on her red lines.

The talks are continuing but this unwillingness, on her part is causing further delays.

The whole situation is a national scandal and an international embarrassment.

I know that everyone, myself included, is exasperated by the whole sorry episode and feelings are running high.

This is entirely understandable, but does not excuse the thuggish behaviour of those who have attacked my town centre office and subjected my staff to abuse.

There is one person to blame for this Brexit mess and that is Theresa May. I’m not to blame nor are my staff. The police are quite rightly taking action and I will not hesitate to bring charges against anyone attempting to intimidate us as we go our about our work.

On Tuesday in Parliament I was pleased to get the opportunity to speak in support of first aid training for the parents of infants.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has warned that UK infant mortality levels are among the highest in the developed world.

There are many reasons for that, including cuts to local child services, community health projects, community midwives and health visitors.

It is though also clear that a significant proportion of these deaths could be prevented by ensuring that all parents are equipped with important first aid skills. I was shocked to learn that research by the British Red Cross showed that 95% of parents of infants did not have any practicable first aid knowledge.

There are training courses available across the country but they are few and far between and access to these is often difficult, for example the nearest provision for Burnley parents is in Leeds and this is subject to a fee.

I am pressing the Government to ensure that free training is available to all parents as part of their antenatal care.

The knowledge of basic first aid really is the difference between a life saved or a life lost.

There can surely be nothing more important than the safety of our children and I am extremely disappointed that the Government continues to resist the introduction of universal training.

Back in the Constituency after a week of Brexit I met with representatives from the Canal and River Trust to discuss their projects in Burnley.

Built during the golden age of canal construction, the Leeds & Liverpool Canal was central to the coal mining industry and the industrial development of Burnley at the beginning of the 19th Century.

I am delighted that Burnley is one of three locations in the North-West chosen for targeted support that will not only ensure that crucial maintenance work is completed but will put the historic canal at the heart of a variety of community initiatives to support well being in modern Burnley.

The trust has a very enthusiastic team of volunteers who assist with the various projects.

Anyone interested in volunteering should express an interest by contacting volunteer@canalrivertrust.org.uk

On Saturday I held a well attended constituency advice surgery at my office.

My next surgery will be on April 27th from 10am until noon at Tesco in Padiham. No appointments are necessary as people will be seen on a first come first served basis.

Alternatively you can email me on julie.cooper.mp@parliament.uk or phone or drop in to my Constituency Office at 8 Keirby Walk Burnley which is open between 10am - 4pm weekdays (half day on Tuesday).

The number to call with enquiries is 01282 425744 and my staff will always do their very assist you with the issues which you raise.