Jim’s Monthly Column

Across the country we’ve enjoyed a heatwave in June, with lots of sun to soak up. We’ve also had the pleasure of watching the World Cup, and watching England exceed our expectations! I hope you’ve been able to find time to enjoy both.

I certainly have, but as always I have had my head down both here and in Parliament, working hard to stand up for Oldham.

The ongoing fire that is blazing across parts of Saddleworth Moor has been a great concern. It has made the national news, and a regiment of the Army have even been sent in to assist firefighters. Everyone helping is doing a great job, and I thank them for it. But my thoughts go out to those affected – stay safe.

At the start of June we received some positive news that Transport for Greater Manchester will take further streps to tackle anti-social behaviour at Freehold Metrolink station. The issues of anti-social behaviour on and around the Freehold Metrolink has been a problem since the line’s opening in 2012. Since being elected to Parliament in 2015 have been speaking with TFGM and local residents to reach a solution to this issue. So it’s a big thumbs up to residents and local councillors for working together to raise this issue.

Transport for Greater Manchester also recently announced that they are looking at Metrolink line at Middleton, to connect with the Bury line. It is an issue that I have been raising for years, including most recently in Parliament a few months back. It’s early days in the discussions, but we know the plan must be bold. Good transport is key to jobs and thriving local communities – let’s make it happen!

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In Parliament, a defining item of business this month has been the Brexit negotiations. As a country we’ve voted to Leave the EU, that is clear. But we must now make sure we leave in a way that best serves the people of Britain. It is vital that the terms of that deal the Government are working on are scrutinised properly and that Parliament as the sovereign body should agree it. I sincerely hope the government embrace our Parliament to allows debate and for us to ensure the deal is right for our communities.

People often ask me what I enjoy about being an MP, and what makes me tick. Back in the constituency I’ve spent a good deal of time getting out and about across our towns, visiting schools, businesses and projects of various kinds. So as I always say, being out in the constituency and meeting new people – hearing their stories, the great work they’ve been doing, or the challenges they face – that is what keeps me ticking as an MP. I draw inspiration from it, and it fills me with energy when I head down to Parliament to represent us at the start of each working week.

This month my visits have ranged from having tea and debating the voting age with students at Hathershaw College, to OL1 who are a community hub offering classes, luncheons and many other activities. And there have been many other visits and events in between, such as our regular street stall in Oldham. You can read all about these visits on my Facebook page and website – so don’t forget to follow me.

And talking of inspiring, it was great to see the Oldham Youth Council given the Queens Award for Voluntary Service. It is a fitting recognition of their hard work and dedication to the votes at 16 campaign, amongst many other things!

Finally, at the end of June we took time to celebrate Armed Forces day. So it’s a big thank you to all of our regular and reserve armed forces, based at home and abroad, and of course to our veterans. They do a fantastic job representing our country, and we must never forget their hard work and sacrifice.

That’s all for this month. I look forward to writing again next month! Enjoy the rest of the World cup and the sunshine!

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