Our four MPs look back on 2015, and set out their plans and hopes for the next 12 months.
Jon Trickett, Hemsworth.
2015 has been an incredibly busy year; the general election campaign was long and hectic and then, soon afterwards, the Labour Party’s leadership election commenced, which lasted long over the summer months.
Now we get ready for another busy year in 2016. There are many challenges that await but I look forward with optimism to the New Year and the challenges it has in store.
I believe the Labour Party has undergone a refreshing transformation over the past twelve months and, although there will be tough trials ahead, our determination and conviction will be defined by how we tackle those tests.
I will continue to work throughout my constituency on issues affecting local people. My constituency office at Moorthorpe Railway Station runs an open door policy so if you have any concerns or problems you wish to raise then please do not hesitate to contact me.
Furthermore, in my role as shadow secretary of state for communities and local government, and shadow minister for the constitutional convention, I have been looking at how the UK must address the problem of regional inequality. As we all know, London is the financial, administrative and culture centre of the UK but I believe there needs to be a fundamental redistribution of power and authority away from London to the different regions of the UK.
It is deeply disturbing how the government continues to delegate funding cuts to local councils, absolving the government of any blame or accountability. Theirs is a top-down approach which will
not fix the structural or economic problems that Britain faces. Throughout 2016 I will be campaigning for a bottom-up approach to governance and economic authority.
The Labour Party wants a constitutional convention with other parties to think again about the constitutional structure of the UK, because only through this can we create a legacy of real devolution.
Mary Creagh, Wakefield.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve you in Parliament for the last ten years. I couldn’t be more proud of the great people in our community. I always do my best to stand up for you in Westminster.
Wakefield is on the up in 2015.
Wakefield Kirkgate Railway Station has reopened after its £6 million refit and we have secured a commitment that it will be staffed from 6am to 10pm. We have welcomed the announcement of the University Centre for Wakefield, which will raise attainment locally and boost our economy. Thanks to the flood defences I secured in 2008, our area has withstood the recent heavy rain which has caused such terrible flooding elsewhere.
2015 was also a busy year for me nationally. I held a landmark conference on carbon monoxide poisoning, following our drive for justice for Bobby and Christi Shepherd, which saw the launch of a £1 million Thomas Cook charity in their memory.
I visited Lebanon and spoke first hand to many refugees from Syria and I continue to campaign for a better response to the humanitarian crisis. I also attended the ground-breaking international climate change conference in Paris and pushed UK leadership on this issue.
In 2016, I will keep up the pressure to improve local hospital services; work with local people and businesses to campaign for the UK to stay in the EU to protect our jobs, security and rights at work; and make sure we attract more high-skilled, high-wage jobs to our area. Good luck to all for 2016.
Yvette Cooper, Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford.
I want to wish everyone in the Five Towns a very happy new year and I hope you had a good Christmas.
It’s a wonderful time for family and friends. If you were anything like me, rushing to finish Christmas shopping at the last minute, this time of year is always a great chance to finally relax and catch up on TV. The Dr Who Christmas special is always our favourite.
Of course, this time of year is also a time to reflect. The closure of Kellingley is still very much in our minds. With Ferrybridge set to go too, our thoughts go to all those worrying about their jobs or how best to support their families in the New Year.
But we should also never forget, especially at Christmas and the end of the year, the sense of solidarity that our coalfield history has given our local communities - family and friends looking out for one another through thick and thin. As we look forward to 2016 remember that community strength and solidarity is something still to be proud of and to enjoy at this time of year.
Andrea Jenkyns, Outwood and Morley.
As we reach the end of 2015, it’s still not quite sunk in just what has happened over the past year.
Every day I feel incredibly honoured to have been chosen to represent the people of Morley and Outwood in Parliament and I’d like to take this opportunity to update you on my work and look to the year ahead.
As you may be aware, health is a big focus for me. I was thrilled when my colleagues elected me onto the Health Select Committee and I’ve worked hard to push for common sense measures to help public health, such as opposing the proposed sugar tax, and I have cross-examined senior figures from across the health service. I also launched my hand hygiene campaign Handz - with the support of 40 colleagues - which I’m hoping to take to Europe in the New Year.
November saw the relaunch of the Morley and Outwood Business Association, when I held an event jointly with the China-Britain Business Council and UK Trade and Investment for businesses to find out more about trading with China. The event was a huge success and I raised it with the business secretary in business questions in December. The association will be doing a lot more in future to support local businesses, so do keep an eye on my website for more information.
Finally, my team in the constituency has been working hard helping residents with their queries and problems. We’ve had some fantastic outcomes, especially around inappropriate development, and I’m incredibly grateful for all their hard work.
While Christmas and New Year provides a good break, I have no doubt 2016 will just get even busier.