JILL MORTIMER: Community spirit; a landmark Bill; debating assisted dying and celebrating Hartlepool Heroes - all in a week's work

It was lovely to meet the staff and residents of Sheraton Court last week during their fun day – a real show of community spirit all round, and I’m sure a great day for all.

By Jill Mortimer MP
Thursday, 7th July 2022, 9:00 am
Lissie Harper, who has campaigned tirelessly for the landmark Bill known as Harper’s Law, which comes into force as a result of her husband Pc Andrew Harper being killed in 2019 while fulfilling his duty. Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
Lissie Harper, who has campaigned tirelessly for the landmark Bill known as Harper’s Law, which comes into force as a result of her husband Pc Andrew Harper being killed in 2019 while fulfilling his duty. Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

We were joined by pupils from West View Primary, NUTS ukulele band and even some four-legged friends – Matthew and Maurice, from Blackberry Donkeys!

I was hugely impressed by the facilities at Sheraton Court, and it was clear that while staff provide round-the-clock care, residents are able to enjoy a community and home-like environment.

It was also great to see that there is opportunity for physical, social and creative recreation at Sheraton Court – things which I firmly believe should be within reach of us all. I thoroughly enjoyed celebrating the day with all residents and Hartlepudlians who attended.

Meanwhile in Parliament, last week was highly productive with key pieces of legislation now in force.

Most notably, life sentences will now be mandated for those who unlawfully kill an emergency worker – this landmark Bill known as Harper’s Law comes into force as a result of a tireless campaign by Lissie, whose husband Pc Andrew Harper was killed in 2019 while fulfilling his duty.

The Bill will extend to all emergency workers as well as frontline healthcare workers. It was an honour to meet with Lissie last week, who is an inspiration to us all.

I also contributed to this week’s Westminster Hall debate on assisted dying.

Many of you have written to me recently about the debate, and I know the issue of assisted dying is a highly emotive one.

There is real need for more debate in this area, as well as a free vote – my personal view is that if we have a right to life, we should have the right to a dignified death.

Finally, I would like to congratulate all those who received nominations for an award as part of the Hartlepool Heroes celebration.

I was thrilled to be able to celebrate the best of Hartlepool this week at the awards ceremony, and it was a real pleasure to support the amazing work of the PFC Trust and all those who go above and beyond in our local community to improve the lives of everyone around them.