September 8, 2010

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What a hectic week.

As any parent will tell you, it's back to school for the children, so there's been uniforms to get ready, new stationery to organise, school

bags to buy, the list is endless.

 

And it's back to Parliament for me, after a summer of working in the constituency, tackling issues in the community, knocking on doors and speaking to constituents I will again regularly be taking the train back and forth to Westminster.

 

While I've been tackling the local issues during recess from the office, it is the bigger issues, the concerns which people have which can only be tackled in Westminster which I can now take back to Parliament.

 

The summer recess really is a time when MPs can get back to the constituencies and tackle the local issues, and also to listen to the

people who really matter.

 

It is a chance for me to meet the many groups and charities who really make a difference right here at home.

 

Groups like Jospice who this week launch their Golden Jubilee appeal.

 

Jospice does a fantastic job and needs to improve its facilities. Jospice was awarded a sizeable grant towards its building plans by the last Labour government and happily this grant was confirmed by the new government, so did not fall victim to the cuts.

 

Fundraising goes on for Jospice as it needs to raise the funds to run day to day. Staff have to be paid, the buildings and ground need to be looked after and there are many other running costs. That’s why this year’s appeal is so important and I hope that many people in Sefton Central and beyond will continue to support Jospice and the great work done by the staff and volunteers.

 

It is for me to ensure that the interests of groups like Jospice and the views and opinions of the people of Sefton Central are heard in Parliament and their issues addressed.

 

One of the first issues to tackle was the first day vote on whether there should be a referendum next May on 'electoral reform' - the Political and Constitutional Reform Bill.

 

While Mr Cameron may have hoped for an easy first day back, it was far from it for the government as there was cross party opposition to the

plans.

 

Many Conservatives fear the move from our current First Past the Post electoral system will see their party never again winning an overall majority.

 

I, and my Labour colleagues on the other hand, see the electoral changes which includes the number of MPs being slashed from 650 to 600 as blatant gerrymandering.

 

Merseyside is expected to see at least two Labour MPs cut under the reform.

 

And this would likely involve yet more boundary changes for Sefton Central.

 

Yet while the bill passed on Monday evening 328 votes to 269, it will face a much more difficult time when it goes through the committee stages when it faces serious scrutiny.

 

It is a shambolic bill which no-one is happy with.

 

Conservatives don't want reform. Liberal Democrats don't want the Alternative Vote, but Proportional Representation. And the Labour Party oppose what Jack Straw branded as 'political skulduggery' as boundaries are altered to favour one political party over another.

 

And the cost for a referendum which no one wants - £100m. Money that could be more

 

Surely there has to be an alternative to that.