1 Featured Office News

Liz questions Foreign Secretary on climate change


This afternoon Liz asked the Foreign Secretary what progress has been made through international cooperation on tackling climate change, as this issue becomes increasingly important.

His answer was not reassuring. It is clear that climate change is not a priority for this government. It was recently revealed that the government is set to woefully miss its climate targets by almost 50 years. If progress continues at its current rate, the government target of reaching “net zero” carbon emissions by 2050 will not be met until 2099. The government need to do more to tackle climate change, and they need to do it soon.

1 Featured Office News

Liz speaks on Animal Rights


I recently spoke in a debate on the nationwide ban of the use of wild animals in travelling circuses.

It’s about time we moved on from this archaic practice and realise that our entertainment comes at a price. I’m therefore glad that this ban will be introduced – but it is long overdue.

It is frustrating that we are way behind the times in this country, as many countries across the globe have already implemented similar bans. It is simply unacceptable that the UK is left lagging behind other countries with regards to animal welfare standards. And while this legislation is welcome, it does not go far enough to protect animal rights. We want to see more animals protected under legislation.

This is an issue I know is of great concern to my constituents, so I was pleased to have the opportunity to put these points to the Government.

1 Featured Office News

Traidcraft debate

This morning I led a debate in Westminster Hall on Traidcraft and the future of Fairtrade.

I have been raising the difficulties Traidcraft has been having in Parliament over the past few months. I was therefore pleased to be able to debate these issues in Parliament – with a good number of colleagues contributing.

It’s so important that we keep Fairtrade organisations like Traidcraft running. They do such important work to help those who need it most around the world; and do so by creating good quality products at the same time.

You can watch the debate here:


1 Featured Office News

Liz discusses the World Transplant Games in Parliament


The World Transplant Games is due to take place in Newcastle and Gateshead in 2019. The highly emotive games are a celebration of a second chance of living life to the full. The Games demonstrate the success of transplant surgery and promote the need to raise public awareness of discussing our wishes with our families and increase organ donation.

With this in mind, I asked the Culture Secretary what support he is giving the games, and urged him to give the best possible support he can. Whilst the Culture Secretary told me he was happy to support the Games, I will be following up with him to ensure that we get all the support we can from government.

You can find out more abut the Games here:

1 Featured Office News

APPG on Acquired Brain Injury report launch

Liz twist talks (1) - Copy


I was delighted to be involved with the launch of a report on Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) and Neurorehabilitation yesterday. I have recently been working to raise awareness of the invisible epidemic that is ABI, and to raise further awareness of the Neurorehabilitation services available to those affected. I was therefore very pleased to see the release of this report.

ABI is a leading cause of death and disability in the UK. It is a chronic condition with hidden disabilities and life-long consequences.

The excellent advances in emergency and acute medicine mean that many more children, young people and adults now survive with an ABI. However, many of these individuals require early and continued access to Neurorehabilitation to optimise their recovery and maximise their long-term potential.

Neurorehabilitation improves functional independence and reduces the burden on carers, as well as improving the rates of return to work and productivity for those who are able.

Unfortunately, the number of available Neurorehabilitation beds across the UK is inadequate, service provision is variable and, consequently, long-term outcomes for ABI survivors are compromised.

It is therefore clear that the Government should bring together a taskforce to address all the issues discussed in the report, and create real change for brain injury survivors.


The report can be found here:

1 Featured Office News

Macmillan Coffee Morning

We had a great turnout for the Macmillan Coffee morning in Whickham Library last Friday. I was pleased to see so many friends there for such an important cause.

We had array of homemade cakes for sale, made by myself and my staff, as well as a raffle at the end – with all proceeds going towards Macmillan Cancer Support.


1 Featured Office News

Liz speaks on Samaritans’ #TheBigListen campaign


I spoke in the House today about NICE’s draft guidlines for preventing suicide, and also about the excellent work Samaritans volunteers are doing in their UK-wide awareness campaign – #TheBigListenT.

Three times more people die by suicide than in road accidents. NICE’s new guidelines help to highlight this devastating loss of life and increase understanding of what councils, education, businesses, prisons and others can do together to prevent it, because suicide is everybody’s business.


For NICE’s guidelines to have any impact, there is a need for increased government funding and resources – in particular in areas where individuals and communities are facing deprivation. As was highlighted in a recent report, suicide is an inequality issue and we need money and political will to address that, not guidelines alone

It is so important to get the message out that suicide is preventable, not inevitable.

1 Featured Office News

EqualiTeas event at The Thought Foundation in Birtley


Yesterday I hosted #EqualiTeas at The Thought Foundation in Birtley.

It was really useful to listen to our young people share their views about democracy and equality today and tomorrow.

I was deeply impressed by the thoughtful responses of sixth form students from Whickham School and Lord Lawson.

They filled me with hope that our hard-fought rights, such as the right to vote, employment and disability rights and gender equalities will be defended and extended further by their generation.

And thanks to the Thought Foundation for the delicious coffee and cake and an inspirational space for our discussion.

1 Featured APPG on PKU Office News

Westminster Hall debate on PKU

On Tuesday 26th June, Liz led a debate in Westminster Hall on improving access to innovative treatments for PKU patients. We had a great turnout at the debate from both MPs and visitors. I was particularly pleased to welcome families and children affected by PKU to Westminster to hear today’s debate – especially my constituent Archie.

Image may contain: 18 people, people smiling, people standingLiz has been working hard with APPG on PKU and the National Society for Phenylketonuria (NSPKU) to pressure the Government into making the drug Kuvan available in the UK. Kuvan is currently in the appraisal process, but with no end date in sight, many of those affected in the UK are disappointed with the handling of the drug’s appraisal process.

Liz will next be taking part in the MPs PKU Diet for a Day challenge, on Thursday 28th June, to raise awareness of PKU. MPs will be required to eat a diet that gives you no more than 10g of protein in one day. They will not be able to eat anything on the “Red list” – such as meat, fish, eggs or cheese. They will only be able to eat a very small amount of foods of the “Amber list” – potatoes, beans, cereals and dairy. Most of their diet will comprise of foods from the “Green list” – fruits and vegetables.Image may contain: 7 people, people smiling, people standing

MPs have taken on the challenge to raise awareness of the dietary struggles of people with PKU. Much of the food they can eat is only available on prescription, so enjoying an ordinary diet is not possible. Many PKU patients would benefit from Kuvan, which is available throughout Europe.

Liz Twist, MP for Blaydon and Chair of the APPG on PKU, said, “This condition causes real misery for those people, including many children, who live with the protein deficiency. Their whole lives are dominated by it, with very little access to the treatments, such as the drug Kuvan they need.

“We’re taking part in Diet for a Day to raise awareness so that PKU is properly recognised.”

“I’m working closely with my constituents living with PKU and MPs from all sides, in calling on the Government to improve access to the much-needed treatment.”

Kate Learoyd, Campaign Manager for the NSPKU, said, “We are very proud of the work we do at the NSPKU, and are delighted that MPs on the APPG are now working with us to improve access to this important drug.”


1 Featured Community Liz's Column Office News

Liz’s column, March 2018

Challenging events often reveal the very best in people. I would like to pay tribute to all those local heroes who have been clearing roads and digging out stranded cars, visiting older neighbours and delivering groceries to the housebound. Volunteers, good neighbours and public servants in our local councils, NHS and police have kept out communities going this week in the heavy snow. The Beast from the East is no match for the community spirit of the North East.

We’re known around the country as the friendly region of England and the Geordie welcome and sense of humour are unparalleled. But our region is also internationally recognised for our innovation, imagination and creativity. We have a long history of leading technological change. The North East makes claim to such inventions as Joseph Swan’s lightbulb, Stephenson’s Rocket locomotive, Walker’s friction matches and in more recent times Sir Jonathan Ive, the visionary behind the iPod, who trained as a designer at Northumbria University. We’re also home to so many award-winning artists, writers and musicians.

So, I’m delighted that this week, as we look ahead to warmer days, more has been revealed about the Great Exhibition of the North. For the first time ever, a great exhibition will bring the world to the North East and it is set to be the biggest event in England this year. The three-month celebration of the North of England’s pioneering spirit – our inventors, artists and designers – will demonstrate how our region has shaped the world and is building the economy of the future.

Over 80 days Gateshead and Newcastle will become the national showcase for dozens of amazing exhibits, live musical performances, displays of innovation, new artworks and magical experiences – and it will be free. Tourists can follow three walking trails around Tyneside towards The Baltic, Sage Gateshead and the Great North Museum. The BBC have also partnered up, so expect to see plenty of coverage of our beautiful region on the telly. This year will truly be one to remember as people “#GETNorth” for the celebrations.

On to another big beast from the North East – Red Ellen Wilkinson. Last week I was delighted to attend a talk about the pioneering Jarrow MP at the Brewery Tap in Dunston, the home of “Red Ellen” ale. In this centenary year, when we celebrate womens’ suffrage, there is much we can learn from Ellen Wilkinson.

As a Jarrow marcher, trade union organiser and later the Education Minister in the post-war Atlee government, she was instrumental in the fight for jobs, reducing working hours for hard-pressed industrial workers, increasing the school leavers age, introducing school milk and she was scorned by the Nazis for her opposition to their brutality. My good friend from North West Durham, Laura Pidcock MP joined me as we both shared our own experiences as women in Parliament and lessons we can learn from the fierce Labour MP known as “The Fiery Particle”.

We are celebrating another anniversary this year. Our angel has turned twenty. I am so proud that the Angel of the North keeps watch over my constituency. Many of you will have seen the interview with Sid Henderson, the former Gateshead Councillor who led the way, against much criticism, to build the angel in 1998. Sid reminded us of the challenge that Gateshead’s Labour councillors faced in convincing the public that the angel would bring tourism and prosperity and put the region on the world map.

Just along the road in Birtley is another great home of art. I visited the Thought Foundation earlier this month and was deeply impressed by this hidden gem. The arts centre and cafe is based on the values of human kindness and thoughtfulness. Their exhibitions exploring issues around Brexit and the environment are quite spectacular. With so much media attention on the plastic waste contaminating our oceans, I would thoroughly recommend a visit to see their installation highlighting the issue using thousands of disused plastic cups. There’s plenty to see, do and think about in this family friendly space.