From Tracy Brabin MP <[email protected]>
Subject Tracy Brabin MP's Newsletter - January
Date January 12, 2020 8:59 AM
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A Happy New Year to you all!

The latest news from your local Member of Parliament
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News from Batley & Spen MP Tracy Brabin

Welcome to the January edition of my e-newsletter, the first of this decade!

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year, spending time with those closest to you and making precious memories.

With the New Year brings new challenges; holding this Conservative Government to account, a new role for me in the Shadow Cabinet, and fighting for and standing up for the people of Batley and Spen.

I can't wait to get stuck in in 2020, and will keep you up to date with how I am fighting for our community in the Commons to get Batley and Spen the funding and investment it deserves.
Election aftermath
Well, what a devastating night it was after Election Day, watching dyed in the wool Labour seats turn blue.

In its election forecast, the BBC was predicting Batley and Spen would go blue, but thankfully it stayed in Labour hands.

I am honoured that you have put your belief in me to stand up for Batley and Spen in Parliament.

The Conservatives air-dropped a man from Kent into the contest, a man with no knowledge of the area whose entire campaign was built on the 'Get Brexit Done' slogan, and the local independent candidate also caused a bit of stir with his #TimeForUs campaign.

But you, the people of Batley and Spen, had faith in me and elected me for the third time in four years to be the voice for our area. A local lass, born and raised in Howden Clough, who understands the issues and challenges our area faces and where it needs help and support.

Over the next five years I will work tirelessly to improve outcomes for people in Batley and Spen and to rebuild public trust in Labour, holding the Government to account and making sure we get a fair slice of the pie.

It was great to get out and about across the constituency throughout the election campaign, knocking on doors and campaigning, speaking to thousands of people. Difficult conversations were had with people who care about getting the best for our community and have faith in me to get it for them. It was also great to get out to so many different schools across the district in Batley, Birstall, Cleckheaton, Heckmondwike, Gomersal, Liversedge, Hartshead and everywhere in between. My team and I received a warm reception, listening to the genuine concerns of parents about how much funding their schools had lost under Conservative governments. Meeting my constituents is the part of this job I love the most, and will be getting out across Batley and Spen as much as I can in the future.

My new role on the Labour frontbench
On Tuesday it was announced that I have taken over the role of Shadow Secretary of State for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

I'm truly honoured to have secured this role, culture and the arts has been my life ever since I was a teenager and now I'm in a position to make a real difference.

Tom Watson did great work in this department before he stepped down and I've got big shoes to fill, but I can't wait to get stuck in.

Improving accessibility to culture - whether that be performing or watching, having properly funded museums and libraries, and giving people opportunities to get involved - is crucial to improving people's wellbeing and happiness.

Sport also plays a huge role in people's wellbeing and I can't wait to meet stakeholders and discuss how we can affect change.

This appointment means I'm sadly no longer Shadow Minister for Early Years. I loved this role and learned so much.
Planning for the future
The election result was a hammer blow for Labour. The Tories secured a large majority meaning that Boris Johnson will be able to force pretty much anything through the House of Commons for the foreseeable future.

But that doesn't mean we on the Opposition benches should just take our bats and balls home and give up. We've still got a crucial role to play in Parliament, holding the Government to account for everything it does, working to affect changes in the law and raising awareness of important issues.

Every mistake they make, every law they pass which will be damaging for Batley and Spen and other areas like it, we will expose them.

In Batley and Spen, we've got plans to boost community engagement so I can get out and meet more people and listen to people's concerns. Neighbourhood meetings, door knocking, more surgeries and continuing to visit schools and businesses, the wheels are in motion. I need to know the problems my constituents face so I can be their voice in Parliament and call on the Government to take real action.

I'll continue to fight to protect Dewsbury Hospital, to demand more resources for our police, to fight for investment in our town and village centres, and to bring more jobs and opportunities to the people of Batley and Spen.

If you've got a problem you want me to stand up for, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Friends of West End Park in Cleckheaton has been chosen as my first charity of the month of the decade. All money raised by my staff and I from completing surveys will be donated to the group, which does such marvellous work maintaining the park. I spoke to Martin Webster from the group at a recent coffee morning in Cleck, where he told me about the Bags of Kindness the group makes for rough sleepers. The bags contain essentials such as a hat, gloves, socks, a blanket and toiletries and are distributed to people sleeping rough. This is such a brilliant initiative and I'm delighted to be able to support Friends of West End Park throughout January in the great work they do. Rainbow Baby Bank in Heckmondwike was my last charity of the month for 2019, and it was my pleasure to present them with the cheque, pictured above.

Alf Dubs
During the election campaign, we were lucky enough to welcome Lord Alf Dubs to Batley and Spen for an inter-generational afternoon tea.

Alf shared his remarkable story of how he escaped the Nazis and came to the UK on the Kindertransport as a child refugee, before eventually being reunited with his family.

Alf's story touched us all, and throughout his political career he has fought for the most vulnerable people in society, most recently through the Dubs Amendment which offered unaccompanied refugee children safe passage to Britain in 2016.

He has been a vocal supporter of offering sanctuary to unaccompanied child refugees, but sadly in a vote last week on an amendment to the Withdrawal Agreement which would protect the right for unaccompanied child refugees to be reunited with their family after Brexit, the Tories showed their lack of humanity by voting against it.

The leadership race to replace Jeremy Corbyn is now well underway. I have nominated Sir Keir Starmer to be our next leader because I've seen first-hand how he will be able to unite and rebuild the party after the devastating election result which saw us lose so many brilliant colleagues. He has a wealth of experience as Director of Public of Prosecutions and then as Shadow Brexit Secretary. Boris Johnson can only be challenged by fact and detail and over the past five years Keir has proven how meticulous he is, with a wicked eye for detail. Keir will be visiting Batley and Spen on Friday, 17th January, and more details of this visit will follow in due course.
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Tracy Brabin MP
House of Commons

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01924 900036

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