Sharon Hodgson MP

Working hard for Washington and Sunderland West

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The Garden of remembrance Washington Village, UK

Washington Memorial

Following a service at Holy Trinity, Washington Village, Sharon was honoured to join the Washington Branch of the Royal British Legion, Local Elected Representatives, Churches and the people of Washington to remember our service men and women who have died in the service of their country.

The Deputy Lord-Lieutenant of Northumberland, was on Duty to greet the Parade of Serving and Ex-Service Personnel, Cadets, and Emergency Services, Volunteer and Youth Brigades and Charities.  Many wreathes were laid by relatives and loved-ones of those who have died in recent campaigns.

During the service, children placed over 300 crosses in the newly-opened garden of remembrance next to the war memorial, which was consecreated in August 2014 by the Bishop of Jarrow, The Rt Revd Mark Bryant, to mark the Centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

The Miners' Banners of Washington Glebe, Usworth and F-pit, were also paraded alongside those of the Services and the British Legion on behalf of the Bevan Boys, who served in the coal mining and heavy industries in service of their country during the war.

For more information on the work of the Royal British Legion visit their website: Royal British Legion >>

Holy Trinity Church, Washington Village, UK

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Sharon attends the Remembrance Service at Washington Village 2014

2014_11_01_Poppy_Launch_P1014893.JPG

Washington Poppy Appeal Launch, ASDA in the Galleries

Year on year the people of Washington and Sunderland have recognised the sacrifices made by our Armed Forces in protecting us from danger in their generous donations to the Poppy Appeal, even though times are tough. I hope that during this auspicious year – the centenary of the outbreak of World War I - that people will be able to dig deep once again and support the British Legion to support our service personnel and their families.

To find out more visit their website here: Royal British Legion

Sharon helps Washington Royal British Legion launch Poppy Appeal 2014

Sharon has joined colleagues in reigniting a campaign for an apology from Ministers for the Government’s actions during the 1984 Miners’ Strike.

Sharon with fellow MPs and miners

In January this year, the Government released Cabinet papers from 1984, under the thirty year rule, which revealed the true scale of the divide and rule politics at the heart of Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government.

It was confirmed, despite denials at the time, that:

  • there was a secret plan to close 75 pits at the cost of some 65,000 jobs;
  • the Conservative government sought to influence police tactics to escalate the dispute;
  • and Mrs Thatcher even actively considered declaring a state of emergency and deploying the Army to defeat the miners, their families and the unions.

Launching the Justice for the Coalfields campaign earlier in the year, Sharon and colleagues wrote to Cabinet Secretary Francis Maude demanding a formal apology from Ministers for the actions of the Government during the time of the strike, and for the release of all information on collusion between the Government and the police at the time, particularly around the Battle of Orgreave, the pitched battle between miners and police in South Yorkshire in 1984.

A Labour motion debated in the Commons today went further, and called on the Government to also acknowledge the economic damage done to the coalfields in the 1980s, and pledge to continue investing in regeneration projects as part of a comprehensive regional development programmes.

Despite criticising Labour for laying the motion, the Government failed to oppose it, meaning it was effectively agreed by the House of Commons.

Speaking after the debate, Sharon said: “We now have proof of what we always knew in our hearts: that the miners’ strike was not simply an industrial dispute, but the consequence of deliberate government policy decisions, motivated by an economic ideology which sought the destruction of a way of life. Countless communities and individuals across the North are still suffering 30 years on because of those decisions.

“Justice for coalfield communities therefore means full disclosure of all government papers relating to the tactics of Ministers and the police at the time, as well as a renewed commitment to bringing proper jobs back to the towns and cities which had their hearts ripped out when the pits closed.”

The text of the motion read:

That this House acknowledges the economic legacy of the pit closure programme in coalfield communities across the United Kingdom;

notes that the recent release of the 1984 Cabinet papers showed that the government at the time misled the public about the extent of its pit closure plans and sought to influence police tactics;

and whilst noting the regeneration of former coalfield areas over the last 15 years, the good work of organisations such as the Coalfield Regeneration Trust, and the largest industrial injury settlement in legal history secured by the previous government for former miners suffering from bronchitis and emphysemas;

recognises the ongoing problems highlighted recently by the report produced by Sheffield Hallam University, ‘The State of the Coalfields’, which revealed that there are still significant problems for the majority of Britain’s coalfield communities, such as fewer jobs, lower business formation rates, higher unemployment rates, more people with serious health issues, higher numbers in receipt of welfare benefits and a struggling voluntary and community sector;

and therefore calls for the continued regeneration and much needed support for coalfield communities as part of a wider One Nation programme to boost growth in Britain’s regions.

Sharon steps up quest for coalfields justice 28.10.14

Sharon has joined colleagues in reigniting a campaign for an apology from Ministers for the Government’s actions during the 1984 Miners’ Strike.


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