Burnley MP Julie Cooper column: Life will go on after Brexit and important issues need tackling now

Burnley MP Julie Cooper
Burnley MP Julie Cooper

Last week was every bit as hectic as I had anticipated.

It now seems that all legal challenges have failed and the Prime Minister has got his way to suspend Parliament.

It does seem absolutely ridiculous, that he should seek to do so at a time when he has promised to sort an acceptable Brexit deal, in time for the European Council meeting which will be held on the 17th October.

How he intends to do that, when he hasn’t been in Europe and Parliament is closed, is a mystery.

The Prime Minister persists in telling everyone that he wants to get on with Brexit, then does everything possible to waste time to stop it happening. It is all a matter of trust and no one trusts Boris Johnson to keep his word on any of this, not even his own brother.

Now to trump it all, he is frantically calling for an election which would take away more time that could be used to get Brexit done.

Don’t get me wrong, I am keen to have an election and the chance to get a Labour Government, and there will be one very soon but surely at this time of national crisis, it would be highly irresponsible to further disrupt business right now.

I think that the political conference season should be scrapped and Parliament should be sitting seven days a week until this mess is sorted.

Life will go on after Brexit, then there is much more work to do to address the important concerns of people in our town.

On Friday I met with police chiefs in Burnley discuss residents’ concerns and policing priorities for the constituency.

There is no doubt that policing Lancashire with less resources is a challenge, made even more difficult because police officers are regularly needed to plug the gaps created by cuts in other services.

When mental health support is in short supply, when youth services to support vulnerable young people have been decimated, when support for the victims of domestic violence is severely rationed it is the police who are left to respond to help people in need.

The new Prime Minister has promised to provide funds for an extra 20,000 police officers and this is welcome but I have to admit that as Boris Johnson and the new Chancellor have consistently voted to cut police budgets I am a bit sceptical about this sudden change of heart.

On Monday I met with the Police and Crimes Commissioner for Lancashire, Clive Grunshaw, and discussed his efforts to increase the number of police officers to tackle the recent rise in crime.

On Tuesday I met with representatives from Transport for the North to discuss plans to improve road and rail connectivity in the North. I’m sure many of you will agree that there is plenty of scope for improvement and I genuinely welcome investment in both these areas.

I am concerned though that planners seem to think that everyone in the North lives in a city.

The proposals will provide improved routes between our great northern cities but my point was: What about our great towns? What about Burnley? The reopening of the Todmorden Curve was a great achievement and now the challenge is to improve the speed and frequency of this service, to provide a reliable and affordable service. I will continue to press for these improvements.

As a member Labour’ Health Team I was happy to meet with the charity Breast Cancer Now to support their campaign to raise awareness for their major fundraising event.

Last year Burnley and Padiham people threw themselves enthusiastically into the Wear it Pink campaign and raised over £3,000 to support specialist care for those affected.

This year the designated day is 18th October and hopefully we can raise even more this year.

Please let me know the details of any planned events and I will be happy to help promote them.

Please also make sure that you ask your GP about breast cancer screening services here in East Lancashire as early detection makes a massive difference.

We have many great Pubs in Burnley and Padiham and I would like your assistance to help me choose which one I should nominate for the Parliament Pub of the Year Award.

Please email or drop me a line before the end of September and let me know your favourite and I will nominate and promote the one that gets the most support from constituents.

We all know our publicans are under a lot of pressure and they need all the support they can get so get in touch and give your local a plug.

My next MP’s surgeries are on 20th September at the Jinnah Centre at 1-30pm and September 27th at my office on Keirby Walk starting at 10am.

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 my constituency office

on 01282 425744.

The constituency office opens Mon-Fri from 10am - 4pm (half day Tuesday) where my staff will do their best to assist you and keep me informed of the issues you raise.