August 12, 2010


In this job, I'm lucky enough to work with some of the real statesmen of British politics.

One of these people is Jack Straw who has worked tirelessly for this country in various roles with the Labour party and his numerous roles in government including Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary.
Jack announced last week that he is to return to the backbenches after more than 30 years in frontbench politics.
But that doesn't mean that will be the last we see of Jack Straw.  He is already planning to write up his memoirs and I know he will be a more than active backbencher holding this Conservative-Lib Dem coalition to account and fighting for the interests of the British people.
Like me, Jack Straw is an MP for a North West constituency, in his case Blackburn,  and like me, Jack attended Leeds University, although some years before I did. Jack is currently Shadow Justice secretary, a role he is due to stepdown from in October when the new Labour leader selects his or her new Shadow Cabinet.
The campaign for the leadership is heating up as all the candidates start the final stretch of electioneering ahead of the ballots which start next month.
All five candidates have had a gruelling schedule attending dozens of hustings throughout the country.  The last official hustings which was held in Manchester and I know there was a lot of Labour members from Sefton Central who attended.
All say it was an excellent event which has highlighted one thing - all five candidates are very worthy leaders in their own right.  The party is spoilt for choice and I look forward to seeing who is chosen when the announcement is made on September 25.
I will work with whoever is lucky enough to lead this party to ensure the interests of my constituents in Crosby, Maghull, Formby, Thornton, Lydiate and Aintree Village are served.
One of the main items on the new leader's agenda will be to seriously scrutinise the policies of the coalition government and oppose anything which is not in the interests of the country.
A very recent example of this was yesterday's revelation that the government planned to scrap free milk for the under-fives.  As well as bringing to mind Margaret Thatcher's 'milk snatcher' label after she withdrew free milk in schools for seven-11 year olds when she was education secretary in the 1970s, this policy would again affect the poorest in our society whose children most gain from the health benefits this free milk provides.
But I am pleased that the Tory/Lib Dem government swiftly reversed the decision once they saw the strength of feeling . Free milk will still be provided to the under-fives.
Protecting free milk is one example of the coalition government's ill-thought-out policies and it would seem the new Labour leader will be kept busy.

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