Another month, another controversial story surrounding the Home Secretary in a month to forget for Suella Braverman, who has been accused of asking Government officials for preferential treatment over a driving ticket.
She still somehow clings onto her position despite this being yet another scandal to her name within the first year of being in post.
It is yet another reason to refer back to the words the Prime Minister spoke in his first speech as PM – “integrity and accountability”.
Those words are also questioned with the cabinet office’s insistence to not hand over Boris Johnson’s unredacted diaries and WhatsApp messages to the official Covid inquiry.
This is incredibly controversial as this has been specifically requested by Lady Hallett, who is chairing the inquiry. It seems surreal that the Government, who called an inquiry into how the Government acted, are now being selective in which Government documents they choose to hand over.
More so this is an insult to everyone who lost someone close during these tough times and victims who deserve transparency above all else.
Other than the above, truthfully the Tories have been quiet since their shattering local election results, meaning that this has been a month for prioritising what really matters, the feelings of constituents, and that is what I’ve been doing.
First and foremost, I’ve been pushing the Government on the need to secure long-term funding for local bus networks.
Anyone who relies on buses will know how desperate the state of our local transport is becoming.
The government have put sticking plasters on a breaking system and it has left bus operators in the dark about what they can offer its customers.
This was the biggest focus in pushing for a debate in Parliament, to hold the Government to account for the precarious state of our buses. Thankfully they have announced some further funding and a fixed fare of £2.50 as a maximum until November 2024, but I have large doubts about the amount and whilst capping fares is all well and good, no one can get on a bus that is no longer in service.
I’ve also been working hard to shine a light on one of the biggest issues plaguing our healthcare system, mental health.
In my maiden speech in Parliament I vowed to doing what I could to end the mental health crisis that runs through every part of our country.
The North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board recently announced that as many as 31,000 children and 70,000 adults are on waiting lists for mental health treatment and, with Mental Health Awareness Week happening within the last month, I felt the need to remind the Government of this and push for more work to be done to tackle this appalling backlog. It is pleasing to see that Labour, nationally, also carries this message.
Keir Starmer recently announced plans to tackle the mental health crisis by recruiting more staff, paid for by closing tax loopholes, by committing to putting a mental hub in every community and taken the pressure of GPs and A&E as a result.
We have also seen 61% of people across the region show their support for a North East Mayor, with it being likely that an election will take place in May 2024.
The new mayoral role will have £4.2million to spend on local transport, bringing in new jobs and initiatives that benefit the whole region and tackling the huge levels of child poverty seen in the region.
These are all things that have been mentioned in detail by Kim McGuinness, and it fills me with great confidence that we have such an incredible politician readying themselves for this challenge.
Despite this being a quiet month in the House of Commons, it has been full of Labour promise, which will go far to solving the issues felt by many across the country.
Yes, far from the pillars of Westminster, where all that seems to be on display is Tory scandal, where seeing real ideas, focused on the needs of people and it is becoming ever clearer that Labour is winning on the war of ideas that transform our nation for the better.