Join our Climate Action Group

2022 is set to be a big year in our fight for a greener and cleaner planet.

Coming off the back of COP26, it is more important than ever for us to look at our own actions, and the part we can play in building a sustainable and green future. That is why I want to set up my own environment group, so we can look to develop a plan in Blaydon constituency and ensure that we play our part in reducing our emissions and building a net zero future.

I would love for you to join me in this, please fill out your details below and join us in building a plan for the future our area.

 

After a decade of chaos, this Government is running out of steam fast

With the new year under way we have an opportunity to think afresh about our priorities as individuals, as a region and as a nation. After a decade of austerity, five years of Brexit chaos and two years of pandemic failure, this government is running out of steam fast.

The sleaze that swamped Boris Johnson’s Conservatives in the latter part of 2021 will likely continue to mire his government and further degrade integrity in public life. As he comes under increasing pressure from the extremists on his own backbench over public health measures, tax and public spending, it is now unclear as to whether Johnson will last much longer as Prime Minister.

For many families and working people, the coming months will see further challenges. Rising inflation and wholesale energy prices are pushing the cost of living up, with household energy bills soaring while wages stagnate. Tax rises on working people are set to come into effect in April, while our local public services face more cuts.

For many, securing a GP appointment or treatment for longterm health conditions is increasingly difficult and too many residents do not feel safe in their own streets. The decimation of youth services and sure start centres, along with the government’s chaotic approach to schools throughout the pandemic are cutting life chances for our young people.

Our country deserves change and it is clear that the Britain we deserve won’t be delivered by this rotten government. t. hat’s why, earlier this week, Keir Starmer set out Labour’s plans for a new Britain, with a new social contract with the British people.

Labour’s new contract will be based on three principles. The first is security. Everyone has the basic right to feel safe in their own community, to know that the NHS is there for them when needed, to feel secure in their job. That’s why Labour will provide crime prevention teams in every neighbourhood. New police hubs will be visible in every community, with more special constables, a new neighbourhood policing fund and fresh powers for police and councils to shut down the drug dens that blight some communities.

Our second principle is prosperity. Everyone should have the opportunity to thrive, to realise their ambitions and make a good life for themselves, and to have the skills they need to prosper.

We’re developing ambitious, practical plans to buy, make and sell more in Britain and invest £28 billion a year to combat climate change, creating quality jobs across the country. Under Labour, Britain will be the by-word not just for good business but also high skills, providing people with all the tools they need to make the future theirs.

Respect, our third principle, is based on our common belief that everyone should be valued for who we are and what we do. Unlike Boris Johnson’s Conservatives, Labour would treat the Nolan principles of selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness honesty and leadership as a binding agreement. t. hose principles will be at the heart of the competent government that Keir Starmer would lead.

The Labour governments of Clement Atlee, Harold Wilson and Tony Blair brought lasting changes. Atlee’s 1945 government laid the foundations for the end of Empire and the beginning of the modern commonwealth.

Wilson’s creation of the Open University extended higher education. The Race Relations Act of 1965 prohibited racial discrimination and Barbara Castle’s Equal Pay Act was a watershed moment in the fight for gender equality.

And the Blair government introduced a national minimum wage, secured peace to Northern Ireland and repaired the public services that had been neglected under 18 years of the Conservatives.

I agree with Keir Starmer that these three chapters – Attlee, Wilson and Blair – changed Britain for the better. Mr Wilson said that “he who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.” With that in mind, I’ll be working throughout the year ahead, alongside my colleagues, to develop a policy programme for a new Britain that is worthy of the people of our great country.

Business Forum

Businesses across the country have been through so much over the last couple of years.

I want to make sure that the businesses in my constituency have the support they need, from myself and the Government, so that they can thrive. If you are a business in my constituency, make sure to join up to my Business Forum.

I want to hear from you and your views. By joining up, we can make sure to invite you to all of our future meetings and ensure that I raise all of your concerns in Parliament. Fill out the form below!

Save the Derwent Walk

The Derwent Walk Country Park is a great mixture of woodlands and riverside and it is such an important part of our community. People from across the region come here to walk, sight see, fish and enjoy a lovely day out. I’m proud that my constituency contains such a great part of our history and our heritage in the North-East.

I strongly condemn the idea that we should tear through this country park to unearth a railway. With so many visitors and with it being such a popular cycle route (both for days out and as a main path on the coast-to-coast route) it would be devastating to lose this at the heart of my constituency, and I know this will be a concern for all of the surrounding communities

That is why we need as many people as possible to sign the petition below. Please click the link to download the petition, fill out your details and send it across to sam.grist@parliament.uk to help us stand up and help us save our Derwent Walk.

Derwent Walk Petition

p.s. if you know someone else who is passionate about the Derwent Walk, ask them to sign too

A difficult week, An uncertain time and no Tory to be seen

This has been an incredibly difficult week for some in our region, as they deal with the devastation left by Storm Arwen.

In my own constituency, hundreds of homes in places like Marley Hill, Winlaton, Blaydon, Sunniside, Whickham, Chopwell, Greenside and Coalburns were left without electricity and hot water for days. At the time of writing, some of my constituents are in their sixth day without life’s essentials.

For families the disruption has been enormous. Children have once again had their learning disrupted, with schools left without power and water and therefore unable to open to pupils. I have been particularly concerned about those who are medically dependent on electricity and our older and vulnerable folk.

My office has fielded dozens of enquiries and continues to keep constituents updated on progress by Gateshead Council, Northern Powergrid, Northumbria Water and other partner organisations, who have responded well to difficult circumstances, prioritising the most vulnerable. I also demanded the Government give us more information on support available in the House of Commons yesterday, and I’ll continue to ensure everyone gets the help they need.

In the face of adversity there have been glimmers of hope. I would like to put on record my thanks to our council and emergency services, and all those volunteers who have played a part in helping others over the last week.

It is no surprise that volunteers, business and local groups were once again out on the frontline on Saturday morning, opening emergency hubs in places like the Winlaton Centre, the Riverview Bakery in Blackhall Mill, Sunniside Club and Ye Olde Cross pub in Ryton, as well as Chopwell Community Centre, Barmoor Hub and AJ Cook’s lounge.

They provided space for people to come and charge their devices, sit down for a bite to eat and a drink or simply to warm up. We have once again seen our community at its very best, while dealing with the worst of events.

Over the last two years we have seen the effect of the pandemic on our transport systems, with services cut and routes being cancelled due to driver shortages. Last week I led a debate in Parliament about the urgent need for more funding for public transport in the North East.

Nexus fears the Government will cut all support which could result in a further reduction in bus services of up to 20%. This simply cannot happen. I will be meeting government ministers next week to pursue the matter.

The lack of engagement from Tories in the North East in this debate was astounding and another sign that their priorities are all wrong. Of course they did turn up to vote to protect one of their own MPs mired in Tory sleaze.

We’re all tired of sleaze dominating the headlines. I was pleased to see Angela Rayner announce Labour’s plan to overhaul and strengthen the rules that govern the conduct of government ministers and protect taxpayers’ money by establishing a new independent watchdog.

The next Labour government will bring forward a fully Independent Integrity and Ethics Commission to replace the current the regime, which is controlled by the Prime Minister. The system as it stands has failed to prevent Boris Johnson and his government’s corruption.

Weak rules and a lack of proper enforcement have allowed this government to break the Ministerial Code and rules repeatedly, without sanctions or consequences. We’ve seen former Ministers such as David Cameron and Philip Hammond take up paid lobbying jobs and £3.5bn of taxpayers’ money was handed to Conservative Party donors and friends of the Conservatives in Covid contracts.

We will deliver tougher rules and enforcement by a truly independent body, to clean up politics and protect taxpayer’s money. We’ll ban all second jobs for MPs, with limited exemptions and stop the revolving door between government and the companies that ministers are supposed to regulate with a ban for five years after leaving office.

It is only right that we stop murky foreign money interfering in British politics and create stricter rules about political donations. Our new Office for Value for Money and reform of the public procurement system will stop more dodgy contracts going to ministers’ mates.

Business Breakfast

Throughout the last couple of years, our local businesses in the constituency of Blaydon have been through so much. From unexpected lockdowns to leaving the European Union, our businesses have had to adapt to keep going. What is important going forward is that we can find a way for all of our local businesses to thrive.

That is why I am holding a Business Breakfast.

I want to open up the avenue for every local business in my constituency to come and tell me what we need to do so that you can thrive. By beginning this conversation, I want to make sure I am giving a voice to your business and a direct route to change through parliament.

When is it?

Monday 29th November

8:30-9:30am

If you would like to come, please make sure to fill in the form below and we can let you know the details.

I hope to see you there!