We need to stand up for our Democracy

The government’s refusal to table bills in Parliament when there’s so much to be done is frustrating, but in British politics the government control Parliament’s timetable and votes, so it’s almost impossible for MPs to take control of the agenda.

Less Parliamentary activity has given me more time to travel round High Peak, spending shifts with our police and ambulance services, visiting our schools, community groups and businesses.

That has helped to give me a greater insight into the challenges faced by our public services and businesses.

After almost a decade of cuts to public services, the people who work in them and volunteers who support them are doing a brilliant job of holding things together.

But we need more than just holding things together.  We need investment in more staff in our schools, police and health services.  Both training and proper career progression.

Legislation to account for the changes in needs that have arisen over the last ten years – the rise in organised crime, fraud and county lines that mean our police forces need to work much closer together.

Support for children with special needs who could achieve so much more, and for their teachers who struggle with large classes as well.

There are many problems that need to be tackled, and I’ve been spending as much time as I can locally to make sure I am able to best represent the needs of High Peak in Parliament.

We have to take our chances to amend legislation when we can, so it was good this week for MPs to be able to table amendments to the Northern Ireland Bill on equal marriage and on abortion law.

It was an opportunity to seek to right two wrongs, and if the legislation goes ahead, it will make a big difference to many people in Northern Ireland.

But there are many other things we need Parliament to vote on.

The need to have a functioning Parliament has never been clearer than in the televised debate on the Conservative leadership, when the unclear state of both contenders’ plans for Brexit and for the other pressing issues facing our country was demonstrated.

The debate has made me clearer than ever that we need a vote of all the people on the final plans for Brexit – whether it’s a deal or leaving without a deal.

When the most likely candidate to be our next Prime Minister states that they are prepared to prorogue Parliament to take us on a course that is against our country’s interests, and refuse to test whether it’s the will of the people or not, we need to stand up for democracy.