Burnley MP Julie Cooper column: Cross-party working at its best

I know that in recent times many of you have become frustrated with politics and politicians.

Wednesday, 16th October 2019, 12:18 pm
Burnley MP Julie Cooper
Burnley MP Julie Cooper

You switch on your TV and see hundreds of MPs shouting and arguing with each other.

I want you to know that this is not a true picture of what really happens in Parliament.

Whatever your politics, it is a fact that the vast majority of MPs stand for election because they care passionately about their communities.

Of course, there are differences of opinion, and during the Brexit debates feelings have been running high on all sides, but I would just draw your attention to last week’s debate on Baby Loss Awareness.

If you have time you can watch it on Parliamentary TV or see a transcript by going to www.theyworkforyou.uk.

This demonstrates cross-party working at its best and is much more typical of regular parliamentary business.

In this debate I was really pleased to play my part in raising awareness of this important issue that affects thousands of families across the UK.

Every day in the UK there are 650 miscarriages, 9 stillbirths and for every 1000 babies born in the UK between 2 and 3 will die before they are 28 days old.

In the first instance Baby Loss Awareness is about remembering lives which were short but precious. It is also about providing specialist support for bereaved parents.

Currently whilst there are pockets of good practice, provision is too often inadequate reliant on a postcode lottery and parents in need of help are falling through the gaps.

The debate concluded with cross party agreement that these shortfalls must be addressed and I look forward to working with MPs from across the House of Commons to ensure there is progress over the next 12 months.

On the subject of awareness campaigns this week has been Breast Cancer Awareness week. I want to thank all those in Burnley and Padiham who have taken part in events to support the charity Breast Cancer Now.

This week I visited the new Phase 8 building at Burnley General Hospital this week where nurses told me of the effectiveness of these campaigns as they are preparing for an increase in referrals which will ultimately save lives.

I was also really pleased to join with students, staff and parents from Thomas Whitham Sixth Form in Burnley Town Centre on Friday. Drama students at the school had put together a dramatic funeral procession in full New Orleans style as part of their campaign to save the Sixth Form. Lancashire County Council is currently consulting on the possible closure of the Thomas Whitham Centre.

Thomas Whitham offers a Sixth Form experience that is special. Work there continues in the very best tradition of the former Burnley Sixth Form Centre and indeed many of the same teachers are still in role and as committed as ever.

High academic standards are the order of the day in a close knit caring environment.

The closure of Thomas Whitham would be a real body blow to Burnley. If you haven’t already signed the petition https://tinyurl.com/yysurggf or respond to the consultation at https://tinyurl.com/y46cpxd9.

On Monday the Queen was accompanied by Prince Charles to the House of Lords where she delivered traditional Queen’s speech outlining the Prime Minister’s plan for the next Parliamentary session.

The Queen always performs her role with the dignity that befits her role as monarch. She does not of course have any say in the content of the speech.

It is all Boris Johnson’s own work and you won’t therefore be surprised to hear a speech that sounds like a party political broadcast in the run up to a General Election.

There are lots of promises for improvements in key areas such as law and order, education and the NHS.

Personally I find it hard to take these commitments seriously because in the last five years I have seen the Conservatives in Government, slash all these services and as a result we have fewer police officers in Burnley and Padiham, all our schools have had their budgets cut and there is a crisis raging in our National Health and Social Care Services. Suddenly we are asked to believe that there has been a massive change of heart!

On Saturday I was pleased to hold my advice surgery in Tesco in Padiham. I am grateful to the staff at Tesco for being so accommodating and to all my constituents who attended.

Surgeries are such a vital part of the role of an MP and I always enjoy helping constituents when I can.

My next MP’s surgery is on Saturday, October 26th, at my Office on Keirby Walk. No appointments are necessary as people will be seen on a first come first served basis.

Alternatively you can email me on [email protected] 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.