Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Mar-Apr 2021 number 138
Click on the picture above to read Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Mar-Apr 2021 number 138
Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Mar-Apr 2021 number 138 Click on the picture above to read Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Mar-Apr 2021 number 138 Read more
You can read Sharon's latest Echo column below or on the Sunderland Echo website
Disagreement is at the heart of human experience, just as the right to protest is at the heart of our democracy.
Sometimes disagreement is good; it can force a rethink, a compromise, a better outcome.
But the Government are eroding that right to disagree and protest.
Last week the Conservative Government brought the “Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill” before Parliament.
The best measures in the Bill come from campaigns by Labour MPs, such as my colleague Sarah Champion’s work on sexual abuse by people in positions of trust. But as the Government have made the Bill wide in scope, any opposition to some parts of the Bill – such as harsher penalties for damaging a statue than for attacking a woman – can be portrayed by the Conservatives as opposition to all parts of the Bill. This isn’t the case.
What is the case is the Government rushing through poorly thought-out measures to impose disproportionate controls on free expression and the right to protest.
The Bill hides, in its haystack of legislation, a very sharp needle – the criminalisation of protests that cause ‘serious annoyance’.
‘Serious annoyance’, like when the kettle trips the fuse and you have to turn the electricity back on.
Let’s put it in some perspective.
Did Sam Brown, one of the two hundred who marched from Jarrow to London in 1936 because they had no work, do enough to cause ‘serious annoyance’?
Should Brown’s peaceful request of a better future have found him behind bars?
Picture: Courtesy of South Tyneside Libraries >
The Government want to criminalise those who disagree with them because they cannot stand to be criticised.
But history links our national identity to the right to protest. The right has its roots in medieval Britain, from Magna Carta, and runs through the Peasants Revolt and the women’s suffrage movement.
I strongly condemn the violence against the police that we saw in Bristol over the weekend, but our right to peaceful protest must be preserved.
You can read Sharon's latest Echo column below or on the Sunderland Echo website Disagreement is at the heart of human experience, just as the right to protest is at...
Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Feb-Mar 2021 number 137
Click on the picture above to read Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Feb-Mar 2021 number 137
Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Feb-Mar 2021 number 137 Click on the picture above to read Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Feb-Mar 2021 number 137 Read more
You can view Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below, or on the Sunderland Echo website.
You would think that jobs for the boys would be a thing of the past, but the Conservative Party have gone one step further and used the Coronavirus pandemic as a business opportunity to further line the pockets of their mates.
The Conservative Government have handed out almost £2 billion worth of taxpayers money for Covid contracts to friends and donors.
The most baffling of all being the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock’s former neighbour and pub landlord, supplying the Government with Covid-19 test parts, despite having no previous medical experience. The firm is now being investigated by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.
The High Court ruled last month that the Health Secretary had acted unlawfully on transparency and failed to publish contracts on time.
But Matt Hancock has been quick to shrug this ruling off. Not only has he declared there was no foul play, he’s also tried to re-write history.
It isn’t even a year since we saw frontline workers on the news every day saying they were scared to go to work because they didn’t have the correct PPE. We saw images of our nurses and doctors using bin bags to protect themselves and issuing emotional pleas and warnings to the Government.
In response, the Government paid a pest control firm £59 million for 25 million facemasks, a hedge fund based in Mauritius £252 million for facemasks and paid a jeweller in Florida £70 million for gowns. None of these could be used.
Matt Hancock doesn’t remember that awful and desperate time and is keen that you forget about it too, but out of respect for our keyworkers on the frontline and the hundreds of NHS staff who died, we must ensure that we don’t forget or allow them to re-write history.
The Government must wind down its emergency procurement powers, reintroduce competitive tender and claw back the money on contracts that haven’t delivered.
In Government, Labour is committed to making the UK a world leader in transparency again by introducing an Independent Anti-Corruption Commissioner.
Contracts for cronies will be a thing of the past under a Labour Government.
You can view Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below, or on the Sunderland Echo website. You would think that jobs for the boys would be a thing of the past,...
Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Jan-Feb 2021 no 136 Click on the picture above to read Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Jan-Feb 2021 no 136 Read more
You can read Sharon's latest Echo column below or on the Sunderland Echo website
This year, local elections will take place in a context we’ve never known before.
Last year’s Council elections were delayed by national Government, because of Covid-19, but are due to take place this May.
While many of us will have had our vaccine by then, with Sunderland and the North East making incredible progress vaccinating our communities, there is an important step that we all could take to ensure that we can all vote safely in the local elections – sign up for postal voting.
You can vote early with a postal vote, by sending this off ahead of polling day. Around 40% of the population of Sunderland are already registered for a postal vote.
It’s important you have your say in local democracy, and you can do this easily from your own home. The elections in the USA in November were a fantastic success for early postal voting, with over 100 million voters across the country choosing to vote safely and securely from home.
That’s not to say that voting in person at your nearest polling station won’t be safe. Our excellent council workers will be ensuring that polling stations are kept Covid-secure, and social distancing will be strictly maintained.
But I’m sure most people have been in that position where they’ve forgotten it is election day until the last minute, or are too busy to find time to vote on the day. That doesn’t need to be a concern with a postal vote.
Across the next few months, Sunderland Council Electoral Services will be writing to everyone who is not yet registered for a postal vote, to let you know how you can sign up for one.
You can get ahead of the curve, and sign up to vote by post by checking out this interactive website: https://postalvote.labour.org.uk/
Your local Labour candidates have been working hard throughout the pandemic to support communities across Sunderland. You can find out more about the candidates for Washington and Sunderland West on this link: https://www.waswlabour.org/local-election-candidates-2021/
Get your postal vote, and make sure your vote is counted safely and securely in May and in future elections.
You can read Sharon's latest Echo column below or on the Sunderland Echo website This year, local elections will take place in a context we’ve never known before. Last year’s...
Sharon Hodgson MP has written to Home Secretary seeking urgent clarification on the impact on Washington and Sunderland West following news that 400,000 police records were deleted.
Click the above image to read Sharon's letter in full
The letter sets out a number of key questions for the Conservative Home Secretary, including, how many people have been affected in Washington and Sunderland West, what work is being done with police to identify gaps in the system and what the impact will be on vital safeguarding issues, such as domestic abuse and stalking.
Commenting Sharon Hodgson MP, said:
“This fiasco is incredibly serious and the Conservative Government’s incompetence is putting the safety of people at risk in Washington & Sunderland West.
“Unfortunately, it seems inevitable that as a result of this mess criminals will escape punishment, victims will miss out on justice and our community will be less safe.
“As such, I was very disappointed that the Home Secretary failed to appear in the House of Commons to answer Labour’s questions on Monday
“I’ve raised this as an urgent matter with the Home Secretary demanding information of the full impact on our area and, vitally, how we can fix this serious problem.”
The Conservatives have established a pattern of incompetent failures. On Free School Meals, on exams, on the delay to introducing a lockdown and now on our very safety, the Government have dropped the ball.
Sharon Hodgson MP has written to Home Secretary seeking urgent clarification on the impact on Washington and Sunderland West following news that 400,000 police records were deleted. Click the above...
You can read Sharon's Sunderland Echo column below or on the Sunderland Echo website
Last week’s schools chaos shows that the Government’s priorities do not lie with families.
Parents finding out at 8pm on a Monday night that their children wouldn't be going to school the next day, after being reassured the opposite, indicates a wider problem; the Government’s incompetence is leaving families behind.
Seeing children out of school is disappointing, but is now necessary. Schools are open to vulnerable children and those with essential worker parents, but this limited safe capacity has quickly been filled leaving schools under serious pressure.
Meanwhile, parents who cannot work from home are being told to remain at work, creating a childcare issue and leaving parents with the difficult decision of working and keeping their job or looking after their family.
On Wednesday, after pressure from Labour, the Chancellor updated the guidance to make these parents aware that they would be eligible for furlough. But this is at the discretion of employers. It also means a 20% pay-cut.
That’s just not good enough. Once again, working parents are left to juggle childcare and work. It isn’t fair on parents, school staff or children.
As we face the deepest recession of any major economy, we must protect family incomes.
Labour is calling on the Government to create an immediate right for parents to request paid flexible furlough.
Child poverty levels were striking pre-pandemic, with 35% of children in the North East living in poverty. This has now worsened, regional inequality has intensified, and Councils have been starved of income.
Despite this, Boris and Rishi want to cut Universal Credit, which will mean millions of families lose £1,000 a year and another 200,000 children put into poverty. They also plan a raise in council tax, landing every family an extra £90 on their bill.
This harsh austerity won’t help our region build back its economy. It won’t help parents and children build back our communities. It certainly won’t level us up.
Not only are the Tories proving their incompetence, but they are proving that families are not their priority.
You can read Sharon's Sunderland Echo column below or on the Sunderland Echo website Last week’s schools chaos shows that the Government’s priorities do not lie with families. Parents...
Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Dec 2020-Jan 2021 number 135 Read more
Sharon has today (30th December 2020) raised in Parliament the importance of Nissan to the North East and called on the Government to help build and support a local supply chain, so that tariff-free trade can continue in the coming years.
During her speech, Sharon said:
“Nissan in my constituency is the largest Nissan Plant in Europe, proving the North East’s worth to the world's automotive industry and it must continue to be so in the post-Brexit world.”
Sharon also called on the Government to invest in a local battery supply chain, so that the UK automotive industry can meet the Rules of Origin criteria set by the deal, by 2024, so that tariff-free trade can continue.
After the debate, Sharon said:
“Sunderland voted to leave and I know that my constituents will be pleased that a Deal has been achieved and successfully voted on in the Commons.
“The Deal is by no means a perfect one, but it can be built upon in the future.
“My priority now is championing the North East and ensuring that our area benefits from investment by battery manufacturers in the coming years so that the UK automotive industry can continue to thrive, without trade tariffs or barriers.”
Sharon voted in favour of the trade deal with the EU, saying it was “in the national interest to do so”.
The deal passed in the House of Commons by 521 to 73.
You can watch Sharon’s speech on Facebook here >
Sharon has today (30th December 2020) raised in Parliament the importance of Nissan to the North East and called on the Government to help build and support a local supply...