My decision to stand again as High Peak’s MP

Dear Labour Party member

It’s been just over 2 years since, with your help and support, we won the General Election in High Peak, overturning a large Tory majority, and I was elected as High Peak’s first woman MP.

It has been an absolute privilege to do all I can to fight for High Peak – my home for 28 years – and for the Labour values of justice, fairness and equality that I’ve held since I first joined our party, over 30 years ago.

I’ve declared that I would like to stand again as your Labour candidate in the next election.

In High Peak I have fought against the cuts and lobbied for better services wherever I can, including:

  • Helping to obtain an extra £20m funding for East Midlands Ambulances that has seen waiting times cut substantially in the last year.
  • A full package of support for Young People’s Mental Health in Glossop.
  • Substantially more police allocated to High Peak, currently in training.
  • Supported vulnerable residents taken to court by High Peak Council over late payment of Council Tax – and helped to force a Council policy to support vulnerable people.
  • Fought for more places at Glossopdale School so local children can go there.
  • Got a commitment from Derbyshire County Council not to close any library – although Hadfield, Gamesley, Hayfield and Whaley Bridge are still facing cuts.
  • Opposed DCC’s cuts to Telecare for the elderly – 600 current recipients in High Peak will now be protected.
  • Better rail services – a half-hourly off-peak service on the Buxton line and minimum four coaches.  Now fighting for more and longer trains on Hope Valley and Glossop lines.

I also lobbied Mayor Andy Burnham for the station at Gamesley which is now part of the Greater Manchester Strategic Transport Plan, and worked with Chris Boardman MBE to promote off-road cycle routes between Manchester and High Peak.

In Parliament I focus on key issues, both local and national to use my time and skills to best effect.  I used my expertise on benefits to lobby against the huge cuts imposed on people who are poor and disabled, setting up and chairing the All-Party Group on Universal Credit.  There have been improvements to UC but many more changes are needed.

I’ve also opposed fracking from day one; tabled an amendment to the Agriculture Bill to support local abattoirs which in turn support our farmers, and I’ve introduced a bill to ban sky lanterns, to prevent any more such events being planned over dry moors.

I’ve led a debate in Parliament on the cuts faced by nurseries and chair the Early Years Group which produced a major report to make the case for funding as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review.

On Brexit, I’ve sought to pursue a common-sense policy, consulted as many people as possible in High Peak, and voted in Parliament to prevent us leaving on a bad deal or without a deal, and I voted for another referendum on any deal before us.  I’m committed to continuing to do this and to make the arguments locally and nationally to make sure we don’t damage our economy and see local jobs lost by a reckless Brexit policy.

These are just a small part of the work I do and campaigns I run.  I hold weekly surgeries to support constituents in need, as well as organising coffee mornings and street stalls on Saturday mornings and go door knocking on Sunday mornings with our great Labour councillors and activists.

In my office, with the support of local staff and volunteers, we have dealt with around 26,000 queries from constituents including thousands of cases of support.  I also believe in supporting our young people and have hosted around 40 young people from High Peak to do work experience in the constituency and Parliament.

I seek to meet with Labour Party members as much as possible to report to you and hear your feedback.  I’ve attended every Constituency Labour Party meeting to give a report and take questions, and I meet with branches as regularly as I can, (though those that meet on Tuesdays and Wednesdays when I’m required in Parliament are difficult).

In short, I work as hard as I can to make the most of the opportunity that the Labour Party members and people of High Peak gave me.

The satisfaction of the job comes from helping people who need support, and making our area better.  Those are things I’ve always tried to do in my work and in my campaigning over many years.

As High Peak’s MP, I’ve tried to show that politicians don’t have to be out of touch, don’t have to be different, can be absolutely ordinary, they can be caring and totally hard-working.

I’m still very much the local school-run mum that I was two years ago, and I’m very grateful to my family and friends for putting up with my work, for supporting me and keeping my feet well and truly on the ground!

I’m proud of what our Labour team has achieved in these last two years – making a real difference to all our communities across High Peak and winning control of High Peak Borough Council in May.

With Tory austerity continuing and an even more extreme Prime Minister in the offing, we are going to have to continue to fight for the people who most need our support, and for our communities in High Peak.

There’s a lot we’ve achieved, but so much more we need to do – to make our country and our economy fairer, to tackle poverty, invest properly in our public services and in our infrastructure.

There are many local campaigns I’ve started that I want to see through to fruition – better bus, rail, road and cycle links, youth facilities, keeping our libraries going, more integrated health services, and better support for mental health.  And on a national level, to transform our welfare system into one that offers real support and prevents poverty.

I will continue to fight for all these things and more, but we will need a Labour government to see the wholesale changes that we all want.

It’s been an honour to do this job and I’d like to continue to work with you and our Labour Party members and supporters across High Peak to win this seat again for Labour, as part of a Labour government.

I hope that you’ll continue to support me and together show what a difference Labour can make.

Do get in touch if there’s anything you like to ask me, or see me at a coffee morning or meeting.

My details are on my website and I look forward to seeing you.

With best wishes

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