Sharon has launched a Brexit Listening Exercise ahead of the triggering of Article 50 later this year.
The listening exercise will include two public hearings: one at Harraton Community Centre on the 21st January and one at South Hylton’s Tansy Centre on Saturday 25th February.
The exercise will also include a questionnaire, as to allow those who cannot attend the public meetings to still have their thoughts fed into Sharon Hodgson MP’s work as the local Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West as she continues to scrutinise the Government’s approach to Brexit.
Following the launch of the listening exercise, Sharon said:
“Brexit is the most momentous constitutional, economic and diplomatic issue facing our country at the moment and it is important that we get it right.
“It is now six months since the referendum result, and three months out from when the Prime Minister has proposed to trigger Article 50, yet still we are none the wiser about what Brexit will look like.
“The voices of local people must be heard as these negotiations begin and that is why I am launching this listening exercise so that residents from Washington and Sunderland West can help inform my work as their local Member of Parliament when scrutinising the Government’s approach to Brexit.
Further information about the Brexit Listening Exercise:
- Constituents can contact Sharon's constituency office to RSVP and register for either of the two public meetings, by emailing email@example.com or calling 417 2000, and can also request the Brexit questionnaire be posted out to them.
- Due to capacity of the venues, constituents of Washington and Sunderland West must RSVP and register for one of the two public meetings well in advance and will receive a confirmation letter letting them know further details.
Sharon has launched a Brexit Listening Exercise ahead of the triggering of Article 50 later this year. The listening exercise will include two public hearings: one at Harraton Community Centre...
Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Nov-Dec 2016 number 90
Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Nov-Dec 2016 number 90 Read Sharon Hodgson MP's report - News from Westminster - Nov-Dec 2016 number 90 Read more
Sharon met with ex-service men and women volunteer poppy sellers, who are giving up their time this month once again, to raise money and awareness, for this year’s appeal. 2214 (Usworth) Squadron, Air Training Corps Cadet volunteers were also out in good force to help make sure the appeal is a big success.
(pictured above) Sharon with the volunteer poppy sellers - the Washington Branch of the Royal British Legion and the 2214 (Usworth) ATC Cadets - at ASDA in the Galleries, Washington
Sharon met with ex-service men and women volunteer poppy sellers, who are giving up their time this month once again, to raise money and awareness, for this year’s appeal. 2214... Read more
Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Oct-Nov 2016 number 89
Read Sharon Hodgson MP's report - News from Westminster - Oct-Nov 2016 number 89
Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Oct-Nov 2016 number 89 Read Sharon Hodgson MP's report - News from Westminster - Oct-Nov 2016 number 89 Read more
On Thursday 27th October, Sharon attended the launch of the Sunderland Cultural Partnership at Ryhope’s Engine Museum as part of Sunderland’s City of Culture 2021 Bid.
The Sunderland Cultural Partnership is a collaboration led by the University of Sunderland, Sunderland City Council and Music, Arts and Culture (MAC) Trust, with support from Arts Council England. The aim of the partnership is to coordinate a cultural vision for the City, along with promoting joint planning and facilitating better engagement between partners across Sunderland.
Following the launch, Sharon said:
“It was wonderful to attend the launch of the Sunderland Cultural Partnership at Ryhope’s Engine Museum and see what Sunderland has to offer culturally being showcased, bringing together our industrial heritage and the vibrant culture which flourishes here in Sunderland.
“The Partnership will be an important way for everyone to get involved, from businesses to young people to the wider community, and come together to show exactly what Sunderland has to offer as we bid for UK City of Culture 2021. I look forward to seeing more from the Partnership in the coming weeks and months, ahead of our formal bid next year.
“Sunderland has so much to offer culturally to the country, but also to the world, and winning the City of Culture bid in 2021 will help put Sunderland on the cultural map and will have such a positive impact on our City’s economic, social and cultural future, Wearsiders and the wider North-East. It is a win-win situation.”
You can find out more about the Sunderland Cultural Partnership here.
On Thursday 27th October, Sharon attended the launch of the Sunderland Cultural Partnership at Ryhope’s Engine Museum as part of Sunderland’s City of Culture 2021 Bid. The Sunderland Cultural...
Sharon visits Simpson Print Group as it celebrates a decade on Wearside.
Sharon pictured here with Mark Simpson, Chair of Simpson Group, alongside their new Col-Tec Smart Collator.
Sharon visits Simpson Print Group as it celebrates a decade on Wearside. Sharon pictured here with Mark Simpson, Chair of Simpson Group, alongside their new Col-Tec Smart Collator. Read more
Sharon Hodgson MP's report - July-Oct 2016 number 88
Read Sharon Hodgson MP's report - News from Westminster - July-Oct 2016 number 88
Sharon Hodgson MP's report - July-Oct 2016 number 88 Read Sharon Hodgson MP's report - News from Westminster - July-Oct 2016 number 88 Read more
Ahead of LACA's National School Meals Week, Sharon has invited school chef, Audrey Chappell of Albany Primary School, to come to Parliament to cook for top politicians on Wednesday 2nd November.
Audrey has made great contributions to school meals over the years, going the extra mile to make lunchtime a healthy and fun experience and encouraging food to be a part of the school curriculum. The trip to Westminster in November will be a just reward for her years of service and dedication to the job.
National School Meals Week is a year-round initiative that promotes pupils taking up school meals and showcasing the improvements seen in school food provision over the last decade.
The initiative culminates in a week of celebrations and activities across the country and will be taking place this year from the 31st October to 4th November, which will include celebrations in Parliament, such as the two school chefs rolling up their sleeves in the kitchens of Parliament to cook and serve food to top politicians, along with MPs getting the chance to try a sample menu of school food and see first-hand how much school food has improved since they were at school.
Following meeting Audrey and formally inviting her to come cook in Parliament, Sharon said:
“School cooks and the catering staff in our schools make up a total which is greater than that of the British Navy, and it is only right that we celebrate the hard work school chefs do to feed our children throughout the school term.
“The standard of food in our schools, along with the skills and knowledge from school cooks, has never been higher, that is why it is important that we recognise all of their contributions to the health and education of our children.
“This is why I am supporting National School Meals Week again this year, and I am delighted to see one of the local school chefs from my constituency given the opportunity to come to Parliament and cook for some of the most senior politicians in the country.”
You can find out more about LACA’s National School Meals Week by following this link: http://thegreatschoollunch.co.uk/
Ahead of LACA's National School Meals Week, Sharon has invited school chef, Audrey Chappell of Albany Primary School, to come to Parliament to cook for top politicians on Wednesday 2nd November. ...
Public Information - Sharon Hodgson MP would like to highlight the following consultation to constituents.
"Your force, your priorities" - Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird QC launches public consultation on policing and crime
Public Information - Sharon Hodgson MP would like to highlight the following consultation to constituents."Your force, your priorities" - Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird QC launches public consultation... Read more
Earlier this month (1st July 2016), Sharon spoke at a meeting of members of the local Washington and Sunderland West Labour Party, as she does every month, and discussed in detail her difficult decision to resign from the Shadow frontbench where she was Labour’s Shadow Minister for Children.
In the spirit of being open and transparent, and as only around a fifth of members were able to attend the meeting, Sharon has now written to all local Labour Party members explaining her decision and also why she is supporting Owen Smith MP during the Labour Leadership contest – which is currently underway - and she has decided to post it on her website for her constituents to read also.
Find the text of the email pasted below:
Last month, I resigned from my role as Shadow Minister for Children. At our last CLP meeting, I set out my reasons for doing so, but, since many of you were unable to attend, I have decided to explain my difficult decision in writing.
Throughout my eleven years as your MP, I have worked first and foremost to be the voice of this constituency in Parliament. I have stood up for the people, and worked to make their lives better, to create a fairer society, and to see social justice, equality and opportunity for all.
I have loyally served every Leader; whether on the backbenches or frontbench. I never once engaged in the civil war between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, and when asked, I dutifully served as a whip under Gordon Brown, then as a shadow minister under both Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn. In these roles I worked tirelessly to hold the Government to account and helped develop Labour Party policy on children, families, women, race and equalities.
As you know, I did not vote for Jeremy to be Leader last year, but I chose to support him by accepting the position of Shadow Minister for Children, an area that is close to my heart. Here I had two key aims: to support the Labour Party and its Leader and to oppose this damaging Tory Government as effectively possible. I didn’t need to take a position on Jeremy’s frontbench, and could, like others chose to last September, have politely declined in order to work to represent constituents and our Party from the backbenches. Instead, I chose to step up and support Jeremy.
Unfortunately, I could not continue supporting Jeremy after the events that followed Hilary Benn’s sacking.
I was not part of any “Blairite coup” or orchestrated plan to damage Jeremy’s leadership. My decision was my own. On the Monday after the Shadow Cabinet resignations, I got on the train to London, as I do every week, and had no plan to resign. Yet, as Monday progressed, it became clear that Jeremy’s leadership could not go on.
As MPs such as Owen Smith, Kate Green, and Lisa Nandy left a meeting with Jeremy and resigned, it was clear that the situation had taken a turn for the worse. These MPs are not “Blairites”, and they resigned due to Jeremy’s inability to engage with his cabinet. Jeremy had lost the confidence of most of his Shadow Cabinet, and in turn lost my confidence in him as Leader. Instead of carrying on as if nothing was wrong, I stood up for what I believed and made the difficult decision to resign.
Labour is bigger than any one person, and is indeed bigger than all of us. When our party is teetering on the edge of political irrelevance, we all have a duty to act quickly to show that we are a government in waiting. We all pride ourselves in our beliefs of equality, social justice, and opportunity for all. These beliefs are not the monopoly of one person or one faction of our Party, and the only way we can make them a reality is to win elections.
We need leadership that ensures our electability, and respectfully, Jeremy is not offering that leadership. For example, during the European Union Referendum, Jeremy’s campaigning was lacklustre and he was, at best, ambivalent towards one of the most important decisions our country has made in a generation. Instead of playing a central role in our official Labour IN campaign, Jeremy and his team failed to attend any steering committee meetings. When challenged directly, Jeremy has not once denied this lack of involvement. During the campaign, Jeremy undermined us and, when members and activists were bending over backwards campaigning, Jeremy decided to go on holiday to Portugal.
Leaders must lead from the front and make our case to the country, but Jeremy failed to do so. In the morning after the vote, when the people needed reassurances and the markets needed confidence, Jeremy, as a national leader, should have been doing the media rounds, speaking to the many people who had stayed up all night watching the results. But Jeremy was nowhere to be seen.
Jeremy should have used the EU campaign to show his potential to become our next Labour Prime Minister. With the most important, high-level negotiations our country will ever see, Labour needs to have a credible voice at the table, working to get the best Brexit deal for the people we represent and stand up for as Labour Party members. Sadly, Jeremy has shown he isn't up to the job.
However, it was not only during the campaign that his leadership has been brought into question. It has been clear from his lack of engagement with his Shadow Ministers and the wider Parliamentary Labour Party where our democratic policy development processes have been over-run by the leadership or ignored.
This is something I have experienced personally in my capacity as a Shadow Minister for Children. My office and I spent months preparing for a Labour Party review into special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to feed into Labour’s manifesto for the 2020 General Election. I identified the issues we needed to address; I raised questions in the chamber; I met stakeholders to discuss the review, and my staff put together a briefing for the wider PLP and the Leadership Office, and worked to get media coverage. Three days after the launch, I found out that my review had been completely undermined by our Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell.
Without consulting me, John had announced his support for a Shadow Neurodiversity Minister and an autism manifesto. My office picked up John’s announcement on Twitter, and subsequently raised the issue with him, requesting an opportunity to meet to discuss the matter further. After receiving no response, my team made several more attempts to reach out to John’s office, which were all met with no answer.
The combination of silence from John’s office and the large number of inquiries from external bodies and the media, left me with no option but to contact Jeremy’s office directly. Instead of support and an offer to resolve the problem, we were simply acknowledged with the sentence, “I appreciate the point”, and then told to expect an apology and clarification later, which never arrived. Indeed, nobody ever reached out to discuss the matter with me.
In all my time in Parliament, I have never experienced such lack of communication or respect for a shadow minister’s work from a Leader. To form a credible and effective opposition, a Leader must work with the PLP and respect the opinions of their shadow ministers. Jeremy needs to lead his MPs as well as the membership. Sadly, Jeremy has failed to fulfil the parliamentary aspect of his role from day one.
Last summer, we were promised a revitalised and successful Labour Party, improving on the disappointing performance in the 2015 General Election. However, we have seen the opposite. The local election results in May were stagnant at best. For the first time in history, we fell to third place in Scotland behind the Tories, who now form the Official Opposition, and we only just held on to control of the Welsh Assembly. To win a General Election, we need to appeal to not only core Labour voters, but the wider electorate. Sadly, my experience on the doorsteps across the country is that crucial swing voters will never vote for a Labour Government led by Jeremy, and I have experienced this on the doorstep in Washington and Sunderland West also.
We are a Party of Government, not just a social movement, and we must never lose sight of that. We cannot forget that moment in 1997 when, after 18 years of Tory rule, we finally achieved power and the ability to improve people’s lives again. Neither can we forget the devastating defeats of 2010 or 2015, which have forced us to look on over the past six years as the Tories have tried to dismantle everything we achieved in Government. There is no moral high ground in being a permanent opposition, sitting on the opposition benches every day, knowing that you will never be able to make the real changes people need.
There is too much at stake. In order to sort ourselves out, and to work towards forming the next Labour Government, we need a new Leader.
As many of you will know, I publically supported Angela Eagle once the leadership contest was announced. This was because of Angela’s clear dedication to our Party as a member for over forty years, a minister in the last Labour Government, a shadow minister under both Ed Miliband and Jeremy, and as Labour Party Chair.
Sadly, before the nominations closed, Angela announced she would be withdrawing from the leadership race to ensure that we had one unity candidate and pledged her support for Owen Smith MP. I have now also given my full support to Owen to become the next Leader of the Labour Party. Since Owen launched his campaign, he has set out a radical policy platform that not only harnesses our stance as an anti-austerity party, but also pro-prosperity.
Labour is in dire straits right now, and we must heal our party, uniting both the membership and the Parliamentary Party. I hope you can understand why I made the difficult decision to resign and can show your support for Owen Smith to be the next Leader of the Labour Party.
As always, I am happy to hear your thoughts and comments in a respectful and measured debate as fellow Labour colleagues, so please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Sharon Hodgson MP
Earlier this month (1st July 2016), Sharon spoke at a meeting of members of the local Washington and Sunderland West Labour Party, as she does every month, and discussed in... Read more